Hemorrhoid FAQs

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Hemorrhoids are very common.  Reports suggest that up to 50 percent of the U.S. population have hemorrhoids by the age of 50.  Hemorrhoids refer to enlarged or inflamed veins located at the anal opening.  These veins can become irritated and bleed.  The most common symptoms of hemorrhoids include rectal bleeding, anal itchiness and pain particularly with bowel movements.

Q: Why do hemorrhoids develop?

A. The development of symptomatic hemorrhoids has been associated with a change in bowel habits, including both constipation and diarrhea.  Other associated factors include straining with bowel movements, pregnancy, obesity, prolonged sitting, pelvic tumors and advancing age.

Q: Can lifestyle changes heal hemorrhoids naturally?

A. Hemorrhoids can often successfully heal on their own through lifestyle changes and the avoidance of constipation and diarrhea.  A high fiber diet including lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is recommended. Fiber supplements are available over the counter if needed.  It is also very important to drink plenty of water. Most hemorrhoids disappear on their own after a few days, however, some may require more invasive treatment such as surgery.

Q: With hemorrhoids, what foods/drinks should be avoided? 

A. Dietary irritants including strong spices, caffeine and alcohol should be avoided.  Caffeine may exacerbate the pain and discomfort associated with hemorrhoids because this stimulant can be constipating and can also cause diarrhea.

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