Hemorrhoids are a common and uncomfortable problem. It is estimated that only between 30-40% of Canadians will not develop hemorrhoids in their lifetime.
Hemorrhoids are usually caused by straining during bowel movements, pregnancy, or childbirth.
Other causes include obesity, chronic constipation or diarrhea, anal intercourse, and prolonged sitting on the toilet.
Hemorrhoids may be internal (inside the anus) or external (under the skin around the anus).
Internal hemorrhoids are often painless unless they bulge out through the anus (a condition called prolapse). They then may hurt because the anal muscles squeeze them.
External hemorrhoids often are painful. A thrombosed (clotted) hemorrhoid may cause severe pain and swelling.
Treatment and how to avoid
The mainstay of hemorrhoid treatment is a high-fibre diet, adequate fluid intake, and stool softeners. Over-the-counter topical creams, ointments (Anusol), suppositories, or pads containing hydrocortisone or witch hazel are available. They can be used to relieve pain and itching.
Medications that contain vasoconstrictors (a medicine causing veins to contract) may decrease bleeding and itching by constricting blood vessels. Also, compounded medications (creams) could be prepared by mixing a mixture of prescribed medicines.
Ogden Pharmacy can provide hemorrhoid patients with the above compound based on a doctor’s prescription.
The last resort to treat hemorrhoids is surgery.
Surgery is reserved for those with severe hemorrhoids, either because of large size or prolapse. The two types of surgery are hemorrhoidectomy, which removes hemorrhoids, and hemorrhoid ligation, a procedure to tie off the blood supply to hemorrhoids.
Is there any way or exercise to totally avoid hemorrhoids?
No. There is no guaranteed way to prevent hemorrhoids, but certain lifestyle changes may help reduce your risk.
As we previously mentioned, these include eating a high-fibre diet, drinking plenty of fluids, and avoiding constipation.
Our fellow neighbours from Ogden, Riverbend, and other Calgary communities can drop by and chat with one of our pharmacists regarding over-the-counter hemorrhoids medications or to get your cream or suppository prescriptions (compounded or regularly dispensed) for hemorrhoid treatment.