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Haemorrhoids

 

Haemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lower rectum or anus. The usual cause of haemorrhoids includes prolonged straining on the toilet due to constipation. Haemorrhoids can develop inside the rectum or externally on the skin of the anus. Haemorrhoids are quite common and are experienced by 50% of people aged 50 years and over, although they can affect people of any age.

 

Causes

An increase in pressure in the lower rectum can cause the veins to stretch and become swollen. These swollen veins (varicose veins) are known as haemorrhoids. Common causes of haemorrhoids include:  

  • straining during bowel movements,  
  • constipation,  
  • pregnancy,  
  • a family history of haemorrhoids,  
  • child-birth,  
  • heavy-lifting, and/or  
  • sitting on a hard surface for an extended period of time.  

 

Symptoms                                               

Some common symptoms of haemorrhoids include:  

  • blood in the faeces or on toilet paper when wiping yourself after a bowel movement,
  • irritation of the anal area,  
  • pain and discomfort, and  
  • lumps near the opening of the anus.  

 

Management  

Haemorrhoids can easily be managed through lifestyle changes and further medical treatment is usually not needed.  

 

Increase the amount of fibre in your diet to at least 25 grams each day by eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruit and whole-grains.  Ensure that you consume adequate fluids to help soften your stools and lessen the strain on haemorrhoids. Participating in exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week is also recommended to improve bowel movements. If symptoms persist, speak to your health care provider about additional treatment options.  

 

Disclaimer  

The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.   Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.  

 

Sources  

Better Health Channel http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Haemorrhoids  

Harvard Health http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Hemorrhoids_and_what_to_do_about_them.htm