Dr Ashfaq Ahmad, who will be dispensing medical advice in the Leinster Express' new column.
Hemorrhoids, or piles, are due to abnormal swelling of the veins around the anus. They are common in people who are constipated and strain during bowel movements. They may be inside or outside the anus. Most hemorrhoids are painless, but may cause bleeding during bowel movements.
Use a soft pillow or foam rubber “donut” to sit on until the pain, bleeding and swelling disappear.
- Do not sit or stand in one position for a long time.
- Do not sit on the toilet for a long time.
- Do not strain or push hard during a bowel movement.
- Sit in warm water 3 times a day for 15 minutes (Sitz Baths).
- Use stool softeners for a week. Do not use laxatives. Eat foods that are high in natural fiber such as bran, fruit, whole grains, nuts and vegetables.
- If the doctor prescribed a rectal suppository or cream, use it as directed after you have soaked for 15 minutes in a warm bath.
- Use ice packs to help reduce swelling.
- Apply petroleum jelly, cortisone creams, hemorrhoidal cream (such as Preparation-H) or suppositories to the affected area.
- Wear cotton underwear and loose clothing.
- Clean the anus after each bowel movement by patting gently with moist toilet paper or moistened pads.
- Take acetaminophen or aspirin.
Return to your own doctor right away if any of the following occur:
- Bleeding or pain gets worse or is not getting better.
- Vomiting, abdominal pain or dizziness.
- Hemorrhoids come out and won’t go back in.
- Maroon or black stools.·
Anything else that worries you, contact your doctor within 24 hours.