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3 Tips for Preventing Hemorrhoids

What are hemorrhoids, and what can be done about them?

By
Rob Lamberts, MD
Episode #041

Are Hemorrhoids Ever Painful?

As I said earlier, hemorrhoids are usually not painful. There is an exception to that rule, known as a thrombosed hemorrhoid. Thrombosis is the fancy doctor word for “blood clot,” and so a thrombosed hemorrhoid is one that has gotten large and formed a clot. These are really painful, making it hard to sit at all or have a bowel movement. 

How Are Hemorrhoids Treated?

Most hemorrhoids will go away with time, with medications being given to treat the symptoms. There are several instances, however, in which more aggressive treatments should be considered.

Thrombosed Hemorrhoids - It sounds really brutal, but the treatment for thrombosed hemorrhoids is to cut them open and remove the blood clot. I have done this a number of times for patients, and it relieves their pain almost immediately. It’s odd to be thanked for doing something like that to a person.

Large hemorrhoids that won’t go away - Large hemorrhoids either cause persistent bleeding, or they just hurt the person’s social life enough that they want to get rid of them. There are several procedures done to get rid of these, the most common of which involves putting tiny rubber bands around the veins so that no more blood flows into them. This procedure has fewer complications than surgically fixing the hemorrhoids, but it is also less effective. I guess you have to pick your poison.

This highlights the problem with embarrassing problems like hemorrhoids. It’s really awkward to explain to your boss or coworkers why you went to the emergency room or what kind of surgery you had. I personally recommend to my patients with this problem to bend the truth a bit to avoid those awkward moments. If you call it “back pain,” technically, you are telling the truth.

How to Prevent Hemorrhoids

Of course, the best thing is to prevent hemorrhoids from happening in the first place. So here’s where I will give you my Quick and Dirty Tips about preventing hemorrhoids.

Tip 1: Don’t get old

All sorts of humiliating things happen when you get older, so I recommend staying young if at all possible.

Tip 2: Eat lots of fiber

Increased fiber in your diet makes your bowels more regulated, decreasing both constipation and diarrhea. Don’t add too much fiber at once, though, as a sudden increase in fiber intake can greatly increase gas and significantly harm your social life.

Tip 3: Don’t hold it

When you have to have a bowel movement, don’t hold it in. That is, in my opinion, the main thing that gets people into trouble, giving them hemorrhoids. 

OK, that’s all I’ve got about hemorrhoids. That wasn’t too bad, was it? I don’t think there’s any way I can make hemorrhoids, or any of the other embarrassing topics to stop being embarrassing. But don’t ignore them. Your doctor can help you with these problems and I promise you that he or she won’t be shocked and won’t snicker behind your back. We hear a lot worse things than about people’s hemorrhoids.

This month, I'll cover other potentially embarrassing topics like bowel problems, urinary incontinence, and 'male' problems (you know what I mean). It may also interest you to read my previous articles on body odor and bad breath.

If you have topics, embarrassing or not, that you want me to cover, send them to housecalldoctor@quickanddirtytips.com, or you can submit them to me on twitter or my Facebook page.

Let me once again remind you that this podcast is for informational purposes only. My goal is to add to your medical knowledge and translate some of the weird medical stuff you hear, so when you do go to your doctor, your visits will be more fruitful. I don’t intend to replace your doctor; he or she is the one you should always consult about your own medical condition.

Catch you next time! Stay Healthy!

Hemerrhoids image courtesy of Shutterstock

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About the Author

Rob Lamberts, MD
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