What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins inside the lower part of the rectum or outside the anus. Symptoms include anal itching, pain and blood in stools or on toilet paper because hemorrhoids sometimes break open and bleed. (17)
What causes hemorrhoids?
Diarrhea, constipation, straining during bowel movements, sitting on the toilet too long and not having enough dietary fiber can cause hemorrhoids. Pregnant women can also experience hemorrhoids because of extra weight on the pelvis. (17)
What can I do to relieve hemorrhoids?
Many OTC medications help treat internal and external hemorrhoids, including creams, ointments, wipes or pads and suppositories as well as oral pain relievers. They relieve pain and itching, reduce swelling and clean the area, and some offer multiple symptom relief. You can also do things that can help provide relief, such as sleeping on your side if you are pregnant; going to the bathroom when you have the need; not sitting on the toilet too long; and gently cleaning and patting the area dry. Taking several 15-minute sitz baths, which are baths with just enough water to cover the hips, can help. (17-18)