While hemorrhoids aren’t life-threatening, they can be very painful.2 In order to prevent these swollen veins around your anus or lower rectum3 from affecting you, you must work on keeping your stools soft, since excessive straining during bowel movement and other complications caused by constipation are major factors that affect your risk of hemorrhoids.4
Here are some tips that you should consider:5
• Drink plenty of fluids: ideally, drink six to eight glasses of pure and unfluoridated water per day in order to soften your stool.
Refrain from consuming alcohol, soda, energy drinks and caffeine-6 and fructose-loaded items, since these contain artificial ingredients and sugars that can do you more harm than good.
• Avoid straining during bowel movement: straining and holding your breath while trying to pass stool creates greater pressure in the veins found in the lower rectum. If you consistently do this, it could lead to the development of hemorrhoids.
• Relieve yourself as soon as you feel the urge to: by prolonging your urge to relieve yourself, this increases the possibility that your stool could become dry and harder to pass, straining the passageway and possibly triggering the development of hemorrhoids.
• Switch from using toilet paper to a bidet: using toilet paper to wipe your backside can actually cause irritation. A bidet is not only a gentle option, but it saves you more money and lessens hand contamination.
However, if you do not have access to a bidet, clean yourself up using fragrance-free wipes or damp toilet paper.
• Exercise: long periods of standing or sitting can increase pressure on your veins and slow down your body, including bowel movement. When you exercise, you essentially prevent constipation by allowing the waste to move through your intestinal tract, thereby decreasing the pressure on your veins.
As a result, you lower your risk for hemorrhoids.7 Working out also allows you to get rid of excess weight, another factor that could make it more likely for you to develop hemorrhoids.
• Avoid long periods of sitting: sitting down for a long period of time, particularly on the toilet, increases the pressure on the veins in your anus, which could result in the formation of hemorrhoids.
• When on the toilet, squat not sit: when you sit, you actually prevent elimination by pinching off your anal canal. Opt to squat instead, since this position puts your knees closer to your torso, changes the spatial relationships of your organs and muscles and relaxes and straightens your rectum — all resulting in efficient elimination.
• Eat high-fiber food and consider fiber supplements: fiber is known to be effective at softening your stools, increasing your bulk and preventing straining that can lead to hemorrhoids or worsen complications from existing hemorrhoids.
If you’re adding fiber-rich food to your diet, just make sure to do so slowly to avoid gas problems. If you want to use dietary supplements, choose organic psyllium husk (considered to be a simple and cost-effective way to add fiber into your system) and drink eight glasses of water a day. If you’re dehydrated because there isn’t enough fluid in your system, fiber supplements can lead to or further aggravate constipation.