Hemorrhoids in Women
Hemorrhoids are internal or external growths that develop due to pressure put on the blood vessels in the anal canal. There are clusters of veins in the anal canal that help move fecal matter out of the body. Increased pressure placed on these veins, usually due to straining, causes them to swell similarly to varicose veins. Unfortunately, gravity can make it difficult for blood to drain from hemorrhoids and it can take awhile for them to go away.
Hemorrhoids are common, and men and women are affected in equal numbers by them. Women are more likely to first develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy. As the baby grows, the excess weight puts pressure on the pelvic area leading to hemorrhoids. If that’s not bad enough, vaginal delivery can make hemorrhoids worse and even cause internal ones to prolapse.
There are other things besides pregnancy that can cause hemorrhoids in women. Obesity is another factor and for the same reason as pregnancy; the excess weight puts pressure on the pelvic area. However, diet may also be an aggravating factor. Many people struggling with obesity typically consume a lot of processed foods and very little fiber. This can contribute to the onset of constipation with the associated straining leading to hemorrhoids.
Age also contributes to the development of hemorrhoids with most people (men and women) getting them during middle age, 45 to 65 years of age. Sitting and standing for long periods of time, sleeping on your right side, chronic diarrhea, and not eating enough fiber are all risk factors for developing hemorrhoids.
Signs and Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
Many women that have hemorrhoids are asymptomatic, meaning they don’t exhibit symptoms. For these women, the growths come and go and they are none the wiser. For others, the hemorrhoids become bothersome enough to cause symptoms. The most common symptom is the appearance of blood on the stool, toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement. Women, however, must take care not to confuse blood from hemorrhoids with menstrual blood, particularly if you are prone to spotting between periods.
External hemorrhoids may cause bumps around the anus. Internal hemorrhoids may prolapse and protrude through the anus. Both types may cause itching but only external and prolapsed hemorrhoids are painful.
Hemorrhoid Treatments at Home
Hemorrhoids are not life threatening but they can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Many times the growths disappear without treatment, especially if the cause for them goes away. For example, hemorrhoids that develop during pregnancy typically go away after delivery. Other times, you may need to employ one of the many treatment options available.
The first thing to do is to stop straining. Go to the bathroom as soon as you feel a bowel movement coming on and take as long as you need for it to pass. Change your diet to prevent constipation. Eat at least 25g of fiber per day, which is the recommended daily amount. Cut back on caffeine and alcohol. These substances are diuretics. Drink plenty of water and other hydrating fluids instead. If you suffer from hard stools, use a stool softener.
Do daily Kegel exercises. In addition to tightening the vaginal area and urethra, Kegel exercises stimulates circulation in the rectum and strengthens the muscles. This makes passing bowel movements easier, reducing the chances of hemorrhoids developing.
Other things you can do to alleviate hemorrhoids include:
- Applying an ice pack to the area to reduce inflammation and swelling
- Sit in a warm bath for 15 to 20 minutes several times per day; especially after bowel movements
- Reduce irritation by using pre-moistened wipes instead of toilet paper to clean the area after bowel movements
- Dab the area with a cotton ball moistened with witch hazel
- Use topical hemorrhoid relief products
There are tons of hemorrhoid treatment products on the market, but not all of them will provide you with the relief you desperately need. Read our reviews to find the best hemorrhoid remedies that will eliminate the growths and their associated symptoms so you can get back to your life.