Hemorrhoid Treatment Level One: Diet and Lifestyle Modifications

January 24th, 2013 by Eduardo Krajewski, MD, FACS, FASCRS

The severity of the hemorrhoid symptoms determines what type of treatment you require. In the more mild cases, hemorrhoids can cause the following symptoms:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Bulging sensation
  • Hemorrhoids protruding out of the anus only when you strain
  • Itching, burning or pain
  • Soiling of the undergarments

Hemorrhoids that are limited to these symptoms can be treated with Treatment Level One. In fact, all persons with any level of hemorrhoid discomfort can benefit from these recommendations, because many of them are preventative.

Fiber

Constipation is one of the leading causes of symptomatic hemorrhoids, and increasing fiber in the diet helps to reduce constipation. Fiber adds bulk and liquid to the stool making it softer and easier to pass. You should have 25-35 grams of fiber in your diet every day. In general fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lentils are good fiber sources.

Here are some great fiber rich foods:

  • Lentils, black beans, navy beans, baked beans
  • Raspberries, pears, apples
  • Artichokes, peas, spinach, broccoli
  • Oat bran, rice, whole wheat bread

There are many over the counter fiber supplements that can help you get enough fiber each day. You can try psyllium (Metamucil), methylcellulose (Citrucel), calcium polycarbophil (FiberCon), wheat dextrin (Benefiber) or Inulin (FiberChoice).

Water

Good hydration also helps prevent constipation, and therefore prevents hemorrhoid symptoms. It is best to drink 64 ounces of water every day.

Exercise

Regular physical activity is a great way to relieve or prevent constipation. Even just taking a 15 minute walk every day can make a big difference. So get out there and move your body.

Stool Softeners and Laxatives

For persistent constipation problems, your doctor might recommend stool softeners, laxatives or mineral oil. Laxatives can be used for more severe constipation. Try plyethylene glycol, magnesium citrate, senna or bisacodyl. Once the constipation has resolved, you can switch to a stool softener like docusate. It is important to consult with a physician for any case of persistent constipation.

Toileting Hygiene

There are other changes you can make to your lifestyle to prevent hemorrhoid problems. For example, make sure your sleep pattern is regular. This helps your body establish a natural daily rhythm which includes regular bowel movement times.

You should also avoid sitting on the commode for prolonged periods of time. Some people get total relief from their symptoms just by quitting the practice of reading in the bathroom. When you go to have a bowel movement, do not sit for more than 5 minutes. It is better to try again later than to sit and strain for a long time.

Finally, don’t over-wipe after bowel movements. This can lead to skin irritation and increased inflammation. Use moistened or medicated wipes if you have cleaning problems.

Sitz Baths

Sitz baths are almost always recommended in the treatment of hemorrhoids. It is really quite simple: you just soak your bottom in 2-3 inches of warm water for about 10-15 minutes. This can be done after bowel movements or up to 3 times a day. Do not use hot water, and do not add soap. Make sure you gently pat yourself dry, and do not scrub.

Summary

Treatment Level One is good advice for any person that has hemorrhoid problems. These recommendations not only treat symptomatic hemorrhoids, but they also prevent hemorrhoid symptoms from becoming more severe.

Check out The H Doctor website. You will find many articles and videos that give excellent information about hemorrhoid treatment and other important digestive health topics.

Take charge of your health today.

 

 

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