10 facts about hemorrhoids everyone should know

Let’s talk hemorrhoids, girlfriends! Why, you ask? Because most of us will experience these bad boys during our lifetimes, yet no one wants to talk about them. The more you know about hemorrhoids, sometimes called piles, the better you can help yourself avoid the pain, bleeding or embarrassment they may bring.
  1. Hemorrhoids are similar to varicose veins. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins around your anus or lower rectum, while varicose veins are inflamed veins in your legs.
  2. There are two types of hemorrhoids: internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids form in the lining of the rectum. You can’t see or feel them, but they may leave a small amount of blood on your toilet paper. External hemorrhoids form under the skin around your anus. In addition to bleeding, they may cause itching, pain and swelling. We think you’ll agree, both are best avoided.
  3. Hemorrhoids are very common. More than 75 percent of people will experience hemorrhoids at least once in their lifetime.
  4. Hemorrhoids and pregnancy go hand in hand. A growing belly, increasing blood volume and extra weight can all increase the pressure on down-there veins, increasing the likelihood of developing hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are most common in women who suffer from constipation during pregnancy, a plight that affects nearly 4 in 10 women.
  5. Fiber may reduce your likelihood of developing hemorrhoids. Finally, some good news: A fiber-rich diet can reduce the possibility of developing hemorrhoids by making stools regular, softer and easier to pass. Chronic constipation as well as chronic diarrhea are both known causes of hemorrhoids. Regular Girl makes boosting your fiber intake – and balancing your insides – easy. Each serving provides five grams of good-for-your gut fiber. The Institute of Medicine recommends adults consume 25 to 38 grams of fiber each day.
  6. What and when you drink matters. Staying well hydrated can help reduce the likelihood of having hard to pass stools. Drinking a lot of alcohol or caffeine can increase your risk because they are both diuretics. Drinking eight glasses of water a day is a good goal for most people.
  7. Healthy pooping habits may help. As soon as you feel the urge to go, head to the throne. If you wait, your poo may become dry and hard to pass. Don’t strain or hold your breath when pooping. This puts pressure on the veins in your rectum and anus which may lead to hemorrhoids. See our poop chart for more healthy pooping tips and a reminder of what healthy poo should look like.
  8. Staying active is good for your bum. Sitting for long periods, especially on the toilet, can increase the pressure on your lower veins. Physical activity can also help you maintain a healthy weight, good news because obesity may increase your risk of developing hemorrhoids. This is just more reason why we suggest getting your steps in each and every day.
  9. A warm bath and pain relievers can help soothe symptoms. Soaking in a warm bath two or three times a day can help ease pain and swelling caused by hemorrhoids. Pain relievers and topical creams may also help you find relief.
  10. Hemorrhoids shouldn’t be ignored. Left untreated, hemorrhoids can worsen over time, getting increasingly painful and growing in both size and number. As they progress, internal hemorrhoids may prolapse, or protrude from the anus. Visit your doctor if home treatments aren’t helping.
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