Itchy Bum? How To Know If It’s Hemorrhoids
By Cassie Shortsleeve
Itchy bum? Here’s how to know if it’s hemorrhoids. Preparation H may become your new BFF…
Talk about a pain in the butt: a huge percentage of us will suffer from hemorrhoids – swollen veins around the anus, categorised by itchiness and pain – at one point or another. Oh, what fun.
Here, everything you need to know about the pesky little suckers.
What Causes Hemorrhoids
Blame constipation, which can lead you to force things on the toilet seat, straining the surrounding vessels and veins and inflaming them, says gastrointestinal specialist Dr Gina Sam. People who sit all day can also be plagued by hemorrhoids for the same reason: being on your bum (even in a seat) can also stress the veins down there. Pregnant women tend to be particularly affected by the problem, notes Sam. This could stem from the congestion, blood flow and increased pressure from that baby bump, she says.
Signs You’ve Got ‘Em
While booty issues aren’t exactly easy to see, if you have external hemorrhoids – lumps that are in or around your anus – you might be able to spot them. Otherwise, you might be able to feel the enlarged bumps when you wipe, says Sam. And oftentimes, if you have them, you’ll notice droplets of blood in the toilet or on your TP, says Sam.
How to Deal
Your best bet is to get to the root of the problem and treat not just the symptoms but the primary cause, says Sam. If you’re constipated, for example, that means it’s time to take a hard look at your diet. “You want to be eating at least 25 to 30g of fibre a day and drinking eight to 10 glasses of water,” says Sam. So stock up on foods like raspberries, apples, kale, whole wheat bread, lentils, beans and nuts. Then, when you’re on the toilet, limit your time (read: no cellphones allowed!) to curb any potential straining. (You might not even realise you’re doing it.)
Chained to a desk? Make sure to take breaks every 15 minutes or so, even if it’s just to grab a drink of water and walk around. Not only can constant sitting cause the hemorrhoids themselves, it can also irritate the problem further, says Sam. You could also try a standing desk.
Relief also comes in the form of OTC treatments, like Preparation H. But remember, while these can help soothe your symptoms and decrease inflammation, they aren’t cure-alls. If the problem is interfering with your day-to-day or things are getting worse down there, see your doc, says Sam. A pro can decrease the circulation of the hemorrhoid surgically to shrink its size or perform injection therapy if you’re seeing a lot of bleeding or discomfort, she says.