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HEMORRHOIDS- WHAT DO I PILE IN MY MEDICINE CABINET?

Facts Versus Myths?

Hemorrhoids (also called pile) is an embarrassing, almost impossible topic to handle for many people, especially among certain African cultures, even though it is a common ailment.

There are many myths revolving around this subject. Let us have a look at 4 of them.

  1. Hemorrhoids are always painful. This is not necessarily the case. Internal hemorrhoids, that is above the anus, are typically not painful but can cause bleeding. Bulging ones (external) can, however, be very painful.
  2. Everyone is equally at risk of getting hemorrhoids. Some people are at a greater risk of getting hemorrhoids. The persons at risk are those with increased abdominal pressure due to states such as chronic constipation, obesity, or pregnancy, among others. Straining during bowel movements and sitting on the toilet for long periods of time can weaken supporting tissues in your anus and rectum and exacerbate risk of developing piles. 
  3. You have to undergo surgery. First line of treatment of piles is often just a steroidal cream among other home remedies. Rarely do people require surgery for hemorrhoids. People suffering from internal hemorrhoids may also benefit from suppositories.
  4. Spicy foods cause hemorrhoids. While this may not be true, it is advisable to avoid certain foods while suffering from hemorrhoids. These include foods with very little fiber content as they can cause constipation which leads to straining during bowel movements. Such foods include fast foods, cheese, ice cream as well as processed foods.

So, what are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are a collection of tissues and veins that become inflamed and swollen in the anal canal. They often disappear on their own, but may require medical attention in some cases. The size of the piles may vary, and can either be found inside or outside of the anus (internal or external hemorrhoids). Hemorrhoids may be diagnosed on examination by a doctor. They are normally graded on a scale, from I to IV. Surgery may be necessary at grades III and IV, but most grade I and II are left on their own.

Treatment

Home remedies

  • Eating high-fiber foods – These include vegetables as well as whole grains. Fiber softens the stool and increases its bulk hence one can avoid straining while passing stool. Adding fiber to your diet should be done in small portions to avoid gas. A diet high in fiber and proper hydration can prevent hemorrhoids in the first place.
  • Topical creams – Over the counter creams such as witch hazel or those that contain lidocaine or hydrocortisone, have proved effective as numbing agents. Consult your pharmacist on the best topical agent to apply. These can either be creams or even suppositories for internal hemorrhoids. Use the topicals as prescribed. Do not use them more than the stipulated amount of time.
  • Soaking in warm bath or sitz – It is advisable to soak your anal area in plain warm water for fifteen minutes, two or three times a day. Widely available bowls for sitz bath fit over the toilet so one can sit comfortably in them.
  • Oral analgesics – Acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen can be used to temporarily relieve the pain and discomfort.

Home remedies can get rid of piles in a matter of a week. However, if the pain does not subside, or if there is bleeding, it is advisable to visit your doctor soonest possible. Remember, bleeding can be a sign of something sinister such as colon cancer.

Surgery

This is a minimally invasive procedure recommended for persistent bleeding and painful piles. There are several procedures that may be recommended depending on the state of the hemorrhoids. They include:

  • Hemorrhoidectomy
  • Hemorrhoid stapling
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Coagulation
  • Rubber band ligation

This is however in severe cases. So, be careful about mythical information on piles. Pile just what is necessary in your medicine cabinet, but most of all, take care of your eating habits.