Everything You Didn’t Want to Know About Hemorrhoids

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While not the sexiest topic, hemorrhoids are something many women experience during their lifetime. It is uncomfortable and can even be painful, but if it helps, it is very common. You can bet you know women who have had hemorrhoids but were too embarrassed to talk about them. 

If you’re not quite ready to ask your doctor about it, here are some things to know about hemorrhoids, and what you can do about them.

What are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are extremely common for women, and it is possible you have had them more than once without even realizing it. So, what are they exactly? Hemorrhoids are the result of the veins located at your rectum and anus becoming swollen and inflamed. They typically get irritated, become swollen, they can cause symptoms like pain and itching. 

You can get either internal or external hemorrhoids. With external hemorrhoids, you would be able to feel them and can be more painful than internal hemorrhoids. With internal hemorrhoids, it might cause pain when having a bowel movement but isn’t as noticeable as the external variety.

Signs You Have Hemorrhoids

If you think you might have hemorrhoids but aren’t quite sure, here are some common signs and symptoms:

  • You have a lot of itching around your anus, with no other cause.
  • You have pain around your anus.
  • You notice a swelling or lump that is irritated and itchy.
  • Your bowel movements become very painful.
  • You notice bleeding after a bowel movement.

What Can Cause Them?

While they are not a serious condition, hemorrhoids can be really uncomfortable and sometimes painful. They are caused by a number of different things, from constipation to weight or pregnancy.

The most common cause of hemorrhoids is constipation. Not occasional constipation, which most people have, but chronic constipation that occurs frequently. The longer you sit on the toilet straining to have a bowel movement, the more likely it is that blood flow to those veins will become abnormal, and cause swelling of the veins.

For this reason, women who are pregnant often get them, and they are more common in obese adults.

What You Can Do About it

The good news is that in many cases, you don’t need to see your doctor for treatment for hemorrhoids. Some home treatments include:

Using over-the-counter ointments – There are a few topical ointments that can be applied to the area to help relieve pain and numb the skin, such as hydrocortisone.

Wiping with wet wipes – Instead of irritating the skin with dry toilet paper, try using a wet wipe or towelette. 

Over-the-counter pain relievers – For persistent hemorrhoid pain, you can take a pain relief medication like ibuprofen or aspirin.

If the hemorrhoids become a more serious problem, ask your doctor for advice. In some cases, they can be surgically removed.

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