Lifestyle Changes to Reduce the Risk of Hemorrhoids
Getting hemorrhoids sounds like a pain that you’d rather not deal with. You’d prefer to do whatever it takes to avoid getting hemorrhoids.
While there’s no foolproof method for hemorrhoid prevention, you may find that the following strategies are effective at keeping your rear end in top shape.
Healthy Eating Habits
One of the best things that you can do to prevent hemorrhoids is to get more fiber in your diet. Fiber helps with maintaining bowel regularity.
That’s important because being constipated can cause you to develop hemorrhoids. When you’re not using the bathroom regularly, your stool may be hard to pass.
As you sit down on the toilet and push, you’ll put a lot of pressure on the veins in your rectum. They can become inflamed — that’s what we call hemorrhoids.
Some research indicates that getting probiotics in your diet could help as well. Adding healthy bacteria to your gut environment can increase stool softness and help move fecal matter through your system more quickly.
Fermented foods and drinks often contain these beneficial bacteria. Kombucha, pickles, yogurt and kefir are good sources of dietary probiotics.
Plenty of Hydration
In addition to enjoying probiotic drinks, it’s a good idea to increase your hydration in general. When your system is running low on water, your stool won’t have as much moisture in it. Dry stools can be difficult and painful to void, and that increases your risk of hemorrhoids.
Water is a great source of hydration, of course, but other nonalcoholic drinks count too. You can also get some hydration from water-rich foods, such as melons.
On average, women need over 11 cups of water each day, and men require over 15. That includes water from all sources, though, including glasses of plain water, other drinks, and the food on your plate.
In this video, a doctor addresses the importance of fiber and water for hemorrhoid prevention:
Supplementation as Needed
Although having healthy foods and drinks in your diet can help with your constipation issues — and, in turn, your hemorrhoid prevention efforts — you may need additional support. Supplementation may help.
Both probiotic and fiber supplements are available. Each type is available in a range of options. Talk to your doctor about the supplements that would be best for you.
Careful Bathroom Practices
If you don’t want to get hemorrhoids, it’s smart to be cautious about how you use the bathroom.
First of all, when you feel the need for a bowel movement, don’t delay. Responding to your body’s natural signals can reduce constipation and straining.
If you’re ever having trouble on the toilet, get up and come back later. Most experts suggest limiting your bathroom sessions to 10 minutes or less. Sitting longer than that can lead to excess pushing that may cause hemorrhoids.
Attention to Hygiene
Keeping your anal area clean can help protect against hemorrhoids, especially if you go about it in a gentle manner. Some people suggest using a bidet to wash up after a bowel movement instead of wiping with toilet paper.
One study showed that a before-bed shower just once a week made a significant difference in reducing hemorrhoid occurrences. When you shower, pay close attention to cleaning the genital and rectal areas.
Regular Exercise and Movement
Spending too much time sitting down each day can place pressure on your rectum. It’s smart to get up and move regularly.
Plus, exercise is a great tool for preventing constipation. When you keep moving, so do your bowels. You don’t have to become a marathon runner or a power weightlifter to achieve such results. A short, brisk walk each day can be enough to do the trick.
Some people believe that being overweight may put you at a higher risk of developing hemorrhoids. The jury’s still out on this as scientific studies have cast some doubt on the idea. Even still, you may appreciate the weight-loss benefits that regular exercise can provide.
Although daily exercise makes a difference, it’s also important to schedule regular relaxation sessions into your day. Some research indicates that taking it easy can lower your hemorrhoid risk. When you’re resting, you’re less likely to overexert yourself in an activity that places pressure on your rear end.
That doesn’t mean that you should forgo activity, of course. Instead, strive for balance in your daily activities.
Be careful about how you engage in higher-intensity workouts, especially those that involve lifting. Wear loose-fitting clothing and make sure you're drinking plenty of water.
Also, pay attention to your breathing. It’s natural to take a big breath and then push the air down toward your bottom as you lift. But instead, focus on directing the air out against your chest and upward toward your throat.
Whether you’re lifting to exercise or because you need to move some heavy boxes, it’s smart to implement these lifting techniques.
Although lifestyle changes for hemorrhoids can help, there’s no way to guarantee that you won’t develop this condition. For one thing, some risk factors, such as pregnancy and getting older, are simply a part of life. Also, sometimes hemorrhoids just happen, despite your best efforts.
For the best advice on how to avoid hemorrhoids, talk to your doctor. Your healthcare provider is also the person you should turn to if hemorrhoids do develop. You may want to see a colorectal specialist who can provide effective treatment with the Adler Ligator (AL 9000), an instrument for minimally invasive hemorrhoid removal.
As with all medical issues, your physician is the ultimate source as to what procedure best fits your needs. Discuss all options and get a second opinion if you have any doubts. These articles are intended to be a source of general information only.