Three Easy Tips to Avoid Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are rarely the topic of conversation unless you have them. More than 40% of all adults, and 90% of adults over 50 will experience hemorrhoids at least once in their life. This may range from a mild irritation due to constipation, to a lifestyle altering conditions that include bleeding, pain, extreme itching and embarrassment that prevents the sufferer from enjoying many parts of public life.
There are any number of treatments for hemorrhoids ranging from creams to surgery but they only treat the symptoms and not the cause. Curing hemorrhoids requires a healthy lifestyle, particularly a healthy diet, and is a lifetime commitment not a quick fix.
What are hemorrhoids? Basically hemorrhoids occur when the veins surrounding the anus become weak and expand. They can then become inflamed by pressure or friction. These pressures can come from any source such as sitting, the increased pressure on the area caused by pregnancy, straining during a bowel movement or hard stools. The weaker the veins the less pressure is required to inflame them.
Most treatments address the inflammation issue. The ultimate goal is to “shrink” the tissue thereby relieving the symptoms associated with the pressure. Regardless if you are using a medicinal cream or a natural poultice, both will act as an astringent “drying up” the tissue and reducing it in size.
So that’s what they are and that’s how most treatments attack the problem. But what can you do to avoid hemorrhoids in the first place. Here are three tips that will not only help with hemorrhoids but any number of other circulatory issues as well.
Get Off Your Butt!
Part of the reason that the veins affected get weak in the first place is inadequate circulation of blood. Sitting on your rear puts pressure on the area and not unlike a tourniquet, restricts the flow of blood. People who spend a great amount of time sitting are far more likely to develop hemorrhoids than those who don’t. What’s really important is the duration of sitting.
Would you be surprised to learn that hemorrhoids is an occupational hazard for Navy fighter pilots operating off of aircraft carriers? Those lean mean and muscular Blue Angels spend hours strapped to a hard seat, pull high G maneuvers, and then slam their butts onto the deck in the controlled crash that is known as a carrier landing. They are certainly fit, but they go way too long on their rear. Over the road truck drivers are another example of being in a career that is likely to produce hemorrhoids.
So if you are like many of us and you sit behind a desk, stand up. When you take a phone call try standing up and pacing a little. Whatever you do, make sure you stand for a few minutes of each hour at the desk. Oh, and walk to lunch if you can. Being pregnant is tough enough. Unfortunately pregnant women tend to get hemorrhoids in the last trimester simply because there is more pressure on the bottom due to the baby. Don’t stand for prolonged periods and when you sit, try to elevate your legs and sit more on your tailbone rather than dead center. This relieves the pressure.
Stay away from processed foods. Yeah right! Obesity can already be attributed as the cause of 40% of all dollars spent on health care. Our American diet has changed dramatically over the past 50 years and we have become reliant on others to prepare our food. Canned food, frozen food, microwave food, fast food all have supplements that make digesting the food and extracting the nutrients (what little there is) more difficult.
Digestive disorders have become big business thanks to the sodium and sugars that we consume in massive amounts. Eat fresh whenever you can. Eating “real” food will allow your body to metabolize naturally resulting in healthier tissue and less constipation. There are any number of websites that specialize in fresh recipes and while this may mean making more trips to the grocery store like your grandma did, your body will thank you.
Avoid Fad Medicines and Foods
Eat fiber! What is fiber? Basically it is filler. It is a form of carbohydrate that has a chemical composition that can not be digested by humans. It provides stability in the intestinal tract, encourages the absorption of nutrients and helps control blood glucose.
Everybody is selling it. Powdered mixes, cereals, pills, you just can’t go a day without seeing several fiber ads on TV. Thanks to the FDA these products have to actually tell you what they are made of. Take the time to read the label and avoid those with high sugars and fructose syrups.
What are the sources of natural fiber? Duh! It’s fresh produce. Beans, citrus fruits, nuts, corn and rice are great sources of fiber.
So to recap, the three things you need to do to prevent hemorrhoids are avoid sitting for longer than an hour, eat fresh foods more often and get a daily dose of natural fiber. Your whole body will thank you for taking care of it.