What are haemorrhoids?

Haemorrhoids are swollen veins located in the lower rectum or around the anus. Haemorrhoids are very common; about 50 percent of adults experienced the symptoms of haemorrhoids by the age of 50.


What are the symptoms of haemorrhoids?

Symptoms of haemorrhoids may vary, but they often include:

  • Swelling around your anus
  • Itching, pain, or irritation in your anal region
  • Pain during bowel movements
  • Bleeding during bowel movements

Haemorrhoids often disappear without treatment, but the condition is often long-term, as they often reappear due to pushing and straining during bowel movements.


What causes haemorrhoids?

The cause of haemorrhoids is still unclear, but experts suspect straining during bowel movements, complications from chronic constipation, sitting for long periods of time, especially on the toilet, and family history to be contributing factors. In addition, pregnancy can cause haemorrhoids as well, as the enlarged uterus might press on the vein of the colon, causing it to bulge.


How are haemorrhoids treated?

The treatment for haemorrhoids varies depending on severity. Haemorrhoids can be treated at home or at a doctor’s office. Mild pain relief involves soaking the area in warm water or sitting on a warm water bottle. Intense pain can be treated using ointments, creams, or suppositories.

In addition, treatment with an ointment applied around the anus and 2 centimetres into the rectum can make the blood vessels contract and relieve pain and discomfort. The ointment should be applied 2-3 times daily for 1-2 weeks.

A diet rich in dietary fibre and plenty of fluids can minimise the risk of future haemorrhoids, as this will soften your stool, making it easier to pass. Foods rich in fibre include carrots, whole grains, oats, brown rice and pears.

Large blood-filled haemorrhoid near the anus can be removed surgically. One possibility is to place a rubber band around the haemorrhoid, so the blood circulation to it is cut off, forcing it to shrink. For some haemorrhoids, an operation is needed, but as this often involves a lot of discomfort and doesn’t prevent future haemorrhoids, it is often avoided.

Fruit contains plenty of vitamins and minerals, including rutin, which is a bioflavonoid found in for instance buckwheat, lemons, oranges, grapes and plums. Rutin is used to treat haemorrhoids; it does this by strengthening and improving the permeability of the blood vessels and capillaries. Rutin is not only beneficial against haemorrhoids however: It has proven effective for poor circulation, high blood pressure, varicose veins, and capillary fragility. Rutin is found in a variety of foods, but in most foods the content of rutin is so low that a rutin supplement, in the form of tablets from the pharmacy, is necessary. The supplement should be taken daily, and when combined with vitamin C supplements, the effect is even better.

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