Hemorrhoids are a common condition in Los Angeles patients, affecting more than 3 million people each year. Dr. Murrell specializes in hemorrhoid treatment of all kinds for every level of severity of the condition. But it is important for you to learn how to prevent hemorrhoids in the first place.
What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins and tissue located in the anal canal. They are caused by a build-up of pressure in the pelvic and rectal area. This pressure forces blood into the veins located in the anal canal where it pools and results in swelling. This causes pain, itching, discomfort and more unpleasant sensations.
Causes of Hemorrhoids
- Straining to complete a bowel movement. This can cause excess tension and increase the pressure in the rectal veins.
- Chronic diarrhea. The overuse of the anal muscles and pressure created by sitting on the toilet for an extended period of time can cause the development of hemorrhoids.
- Improper bathroom habits. In this day and age of smart phones with games and access to the Internet, people tend to spend more than the necessary time on the toilet, which increases pressure in the pelvic area and leads to hemorrhoids. It may sound silly but is a very real situation.
- Constipation. This is the most common cause of hemorrhoids. The pressure used to pass a constipated stool fills the anal veins to the point of creating a hemorrhoid.
- Obesity. The added pressure to the rectum and pelvic area from excess weight can form hemorrhoids.
- Pregnancy. Pressure and weight on the pelvic area from the enlarged uterus can force the swelling on anal canal tissues.
- Labor. The extreme pressure and force can cause hemorrhoids.
Dr. Zuri Murrell on the Hallmark Channel
Cedars-Sinai Colorectal Cancer Center Director Dr. Zuri Murrell was recently featured on the Hallmark Channel to discuss what hemorrhoids are, what symptoms to look out for, and important information on treatment and prevention. Learn how to prevent hemorrhoids from the expert himself.
How to Prevent Hemorrhoids
Learning how to prevent hemorrhoids is very important. Prevention of any non-optimum condition makes life easier and contributes to general health and an improved quality of life. These simple actions can help you prevent this common situation.
1. Eat enough fiber
You are more likely to get hemorrhoids if you have infrequent bowel movements. Fiber contributes to a healthy digestive system and regular unstrained bowel movements. Dr. Murrell recommends 20-25g of fiber a day. There are natural fiber supplements such as psyllium husks but traditionally green vegetables, legumes and fruits are a healthy source of fiber.
2. Drink plenty of water
This is very simple yet most people don’t do it. Water can help prevent the most common cause of hemorrhoids, which is constipation. Proper hydration is key to healthy bowel movements and contributes to overall health as well. Fiber and water work together to help move waste out of the body in a healthy and efficient manner.
Light exercise such as walking, swimming and yoga contributes to keeping your bowel movements more regular. After all, the more time you spend on your feet, the less time you spend sitting and putting pressure on your pelvic area.
4. Be picky when it comes to laxatives
In most cases constipation can be handled by taking fiber and drinking water but sometimes a laxative is necessary. Steer away from taking laxatives that stimulate the intestine as these can actually increase the pressure in the area and cause symptomatic hemorrhoids. Try osmotic laxatives instead.
5. Work with your body
When you feel the urge to use the bathroom, do so. Fighting this natural urge increases strain in the pelvic area and builds up the pressure that causes hemorrhoids.
6. Avoid straining
Strain in the pelvic area is the basic cause of hemorrhoids. If you push too hard while trying to have a bowel movement, you can cause hemorrhoids. Other activities such as lifting heavy objects and chronic coughing can contribute to this straining as well. Be aware of what pelvic strain can do and take steps to avoid it.
If you feel like you are experiencing symptoms of hemorrhoids, you should contact Dr. Murrell today. There is nothing embarrassing about symptomatic hemorrhoids and the sooner you see a colorectal surgeon in Los Angeles, the better you will feel.