How to prevent Piles (Hemorrhoids)?

Piles or Hemorrhoids is a common complaint that we hear at our clinic. The patients either present with perianal itching, discharge or they complain of blood in stool and a skin tag or tags hanging outside the anus. The question they often ask is “Doc, can we prevent Piles from occurring?

There are certain basic steps that we can follow to avoid the formation of piles which are explained below:

Go when you need to go

Haemorrhoids is one of the major risks of ignoring or delaying Nature’s call. One of the simplest ways to prevent haemorrhoids is not to fight the Urge. When there is a need to pass motions, it’s the best to do so. Risk factors can be cut down by obeying body’s demand to defecate. Waiting till a convenient time to move the bowels may make the attempt elusive and strenuous. Delaying bowel movements may make stools hard and dry in the bowel, making it more difficult to pass and cause constipation. Risk of developing haemorrhoids increases with strain to pass stools and with constipation.

Avoid straining

Forcing a bowel movement when there is no urge to pass stools is also equally bad. Straining and putting more pressure on the veins in the rectum is one of the most common causes of painful or bleeding haemorrhoids. With force, there is increased pressure over the venous cushions in the anal area making the soft tissues enlarged and distended. The added stress on the anal blood vessels due to prolonged seating further increases the risk factors that lead to haemorrhoids. This strain may also worsen an internal haemorrhoid in to an external one. Other situations that can cause straining are such as lifting heavy objects, a chronic cough or in pregnancy. In case of existing piles, being aware of the strain exerted on the bowels and avoiding it as much as possible would be the best way to prevent aggravating it.

These alert measures to avoid developing haemorrhoids are often ignored or practice in everyday life is overlooked. The best way to overcome such negligence is to consciously consider time spent on the toilet as a necessity than as an extended break. . More the time spent on the toilet, more the strain for bowel movements. The use of the toilet has to be strictly to relieve oneself on demand and not to pass time over reading, mobile chats, playing games on the phone or social media networking. The toilet cannot be treated as an extended escape.

Reassess your diet

A lack of fibre in the diet is the most common culprit. Haemorrhoids are more likely to occur in people who have infrequent bowel movements. To start with, try to get fibre through daily diet.  Try getting more fibre from green vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Fibre can help avoid constipation which may otherwise be a risk factor for haemorrhoids. Food fibre supplements such as psyllium husk for adding fibre intake can be tried with a doctor’s guidance.

Aim to get 25 to 30 grams of fibre per day. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, adult men under age 50 should aim for at least 38 grams of fibre a day and adult women under age 50 should aim for 25 grams. For those older than 50, the recommendation is slightly lower, 30 grams for men and 21 grams for women. But be cautious to add fibre to the diet slowly to avoid excessive gas or bloating. About a third of the recommended fibre intake has to be soluble fibre.

Soluble fibre dissolves in water like what happens to oats when it is mixed with water. It makes the stool soft, well-formed, and easy to pass with no constipation and little irritation. Insoluble fibre is called "roughage." It doesn't dissolve, much like plant fibre. It helps to keep things moving through and out of the system and also to balance the chemistry in the intestines.

To prevent haemorrhoids, stool has to be soft and easy to pass. The right consistency may be attained by making smart diet choices. Great food sources of fibre include:

  • Legumes, such as split peas, lentils, black beans and kidney beans
  • Whole grains, such as barley, bran flakes, oatmeal, and brown rice
  • Vegetables, such as leafy greens, green peas, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts
  • Fruits, such as raspberries, pears, apples, and bananas

For some, excess fibre may make bowels move slower than normal and tends to stay in the gut and cause slow transit constipation. Diet and nutritional information on foods to include and foods to avoid have to be individualised based on food choices, allergies or other medical conditions. Avoid foods that can cause bowel irritation. Lactose in dairy products is an irritant for some people and for others, it’s gluten or refined foods. To identify such irritant foods and keeping away from them would minimise chances of constipation and occurrence of haemorrhoids.

Drink enough water

Drink plenty of water with the fibre. Fibre without water makes stools hard. Along with eating a healthy diet full of fibre, adequate hydration from water is the key to having healthy bowel movements.

Water is absolutely essential in digestion, absorption of nutrients and bodily waste elimination through urination and bowel movements. Health experts recommend as a general rule of thumb to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day. On exercising or losing bodily fluids more rapidly there is need to drink more, but the "8 x 8" (eight servings of eight ounces of water) rule is a good gauge to follow. Caffeinated beverages and alcohol can be dehydrating and should not be counted in reaching this intake goal.

Drinking water helps prevent chronic constipation, which can play a big role in developing piles. When a person's body is not properly hydrated from drinking enough water constipation can happen that causes painful piles to develop internally or externally.

Dehydration is significant contributor to haemorrhoids. Drinking plenty of water can greatly reduce the risk of getting this condition that effects millions of people yearly. It can be caused by digestive problems due to poor body hydration. Lot many cases of piles can be prevented by following the "8 x 8" rule.

Increasing water intake is an easy non-invasive treatment that is cheap and anyone can accomplish. Increasing water intake will help the body flush containments from the intestinal system and will help in getting the bowels moving. Purified water may be the best option for increasing water intake while avoiding chemicals that may increase haemorrhoid problems.

Get plenty of exercise

Exercise, especially 20 to 30 minutes of moderate activity a day, can help keep the colon and bowel movements regular. Regular exercise may help lose weight, which may be contributing to the formation of haemorrhoids. Staying active reduces the time spent sitting and putting pressure on the veins of the lower rectum. In people with a history of haemorrhoids, moderate exercise routines such as yoga, swimming or walking may prevent haemorrhoids from flaring.

  • Aerobics can help a lot in addressing the symptoms of haemorrhoids. Aerobics strengthens the muscles of the lower body and gets the blood flowing normally. Aerobics is also considered as a mild cardiovascular exercise. Performing it regularly will get the heart pumping blood all over the body, including the rectal area.
  • Kegels exercises are also referred to as pelvic exercises. They strengthen the muscles in the pelvic area, while also relieving a person of stress and haemorrhoids. The basic Kegel exercise can be done easily, simply to contract pelvic muscles. It can be done by duplicating the action that’s needed to hold urination. Squeeze and hold for three seconds then relax for another 3 seconds. Repeat the exercise 10 times each session, until can be done as many as 15 repetitions. This exercise should be performed 3 times every day.
  • Brisk walking or regular walking for about 20 to 30 minutes every day can help cure haemorrhoids. This is one of the easiest and safest methods. Warming up and then increasing the pace after a few minutes would be ideal. Walking is a good exercise to keep the blood flowing throughout the body and is also a good weight loss regime.

However, engaging in activities that increase abdominal pressure and/or straining (such as weightlifting) can lead to the formation of haemorrhoids. It is better to steer clear of strenuous activities.

Smoking can be cut down if not stopped completely. Weight gain should be avoided.When there is a complaint it is important to get it sorted out immediately. All bleeding from the anus may not a pile.

Thus getting a proper medical exam to rule out other causes of bleeding apart from piles.

Nevertheless, if you invariably suffer from a piles problem and if any of the above-mentioned treatment strategies did not work for you, I would suggest you visit chennailasergastro - the best piles hospital in chennai.

Till then, stay well and stay healthy.

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  1. 6 steps to prevent piles

Dr. Karthik Gunasekaran

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