Hemorrhoids are a painful and embarrassing issue that can sideline you from your normal activities. Most people are aware of the common symptoms—itching, burning, pain, and sometimes even bleeding—but what can you do to avoid getting them in the first place? Your best bet is to take some proactive steps before hemorrhoidal symptoms arise.
There are a few lifestyle changes that can do a lot to reduce your risk. Exercise is important for avoiding hemorrhoids, as it helps to maintain a healthy weight and improve overall circulation. Make sure to include a variety of cardiovascular and strength-training exercises in your routine. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. Additionally, make sure to pay attention to your posture when you sit for extended periods of time. Make sure to keep your back straight and your feet flat on the ground. This helps to ensure proper circulation and can help to avoid putting pressure on the rectal walls.
You’ll also want to keep hydrated and aim for 25 to 35 milliliters of fluid per kilogram of body weight. Chronic dehydration can lead to constipation, another risk factor for hemorrhoids. Additionally, make sure you’re getting enough fiber in your diet. Sources of soluble fiber, such as nuts and seeds, can help to provide bulk to bowel movements and make it easier to pass them. It’s also important to avoid straining when you’re having a bowel movement. If you find yourself regularly constipated, talk to your doctor about any medications you may be taking that could be contributing to the issue. Some medications can reduce your body’s ability to absorb water, and therefore make healing each bowel movement more difficult and more irritating.
There are also some simple self-care techniques that can help to reduce your risk of hemorrhoids, as well as their severity if you do get them. After each bowel action, make sure to use a gentle cleanser to ensure proper hygiene. Make sure not to rub or scrub too harshly, as this could irritate the rectal area even further. Additionally, you can use an over-the-counter cream or ointment to soothe any existing hemorrhoidal pain. Another option is to use an icepack or cold compress to reduce the swelling; however, make sure not to waste more than 20 minutes of this at a time. The cold temperature may further prevent circulation, leading to more discomfort.
Finally, make sure to get regular checkups from your doctor. If you’re having especially frequent problems with your bowels, make sure to ask about it. More serious forms of hemorrhoids can require surgical attention in some cases, and the sooner you’re able to act on it, the better.
Hemorrhoids can be a nuisance, but taking a few simple steps to prevent them can go a long way towards avoiding the discomfort. Exercise, maintaining a healthy fiber intake, decreasing your straining at the toilet, and staying on top of your doctor’s appointments can do a lot to reduce your risk. When in doubt, reach out to a medical professional to ensure that you’re taking the best possible actions for your health.