Caregiver's Home Companion
 SEARCH Go
Read Fred's Previous Articles

April 6, 2012
Question for Aging Men: Will Testosterone Spark Virility?


March 30, 2012
Is Dad Still Road-Worthy – Or Is It Time to Take the Keys?


March 23, 2012
Coping and Recovering from Knee Replacement


March 16, 2012
Lactose Intolerance May Not Spell Osteoporosis


Take Our PollThe Caregiver's Marketplace

Shop Now in the
Caregiver's e-Mall

Our Caregiver's e-Mall is filling up with great stores and a growing number of items just in time for the holidays. Whether you browse and find a book or tape to help you with caregiving, or come across a wonderful gift for a friend or family member, the e-Mall can be your source for easy shopping and gift-giving.

So, click on the dark blue Caregiver's e-Mall buttons throughout our site and enter a comfortable, secure shopping experience with major merchants while avoiding the hassle of having to find a parking place or matching your shopping hours with someone else's. Our mall is just a click away and is open 24 hours every day.

Watch for additional stores opening in the e-Mall soon!

Posted: March 26, 2010

Keeping Seniors Healthy

Hemorrhoids: Not a Problem to Sit On

Q.  Dad suffers from hemorrhoids, as I suspect a lot of other people do, too, because I see a lot of remedies in drug stores. But this is not a topic you bring up in public. How many people have hemorrhoids, anyway?

A. By the age of 50, about half of the population -- both men and women -- have hemorrhoids. However, not everyone suffers from the nasty symptoms hemorrhoids can inflict.

Hemorrhoids are inflamed and swollen veins around the anus (external) or in the lower rectum (internal). Sometimes referred to as “piles,” hemorrhoids are caused by straining when defecating, aging, pregnancy, sitting or standing for a long time, obesity and heavy lifting. And hemorrhoids can run in families, so beware, if your Dad has them.

Blood may pool in an external hemorrhoid and form a clot that causes pain. Internal hemorrhoids don’t usually hurt because surrounding membranes don’t contain pain-sensitive nerve fibers. However, internal hemorrhoids tend to bleed. Sometimes, an internal hemorrhoid will protrude out of the anal opening causing discomfort.

Hemorrhoids usually are not a serious problem. Hemorrhoid symptoms, which can also include burning and itching, will go away within a few days. However, if you are bleeding from the anus, you must go to a doctor to have to it checked. This can be a symptom of cancer.

You can treat the symptoms of hemorrhoids yourself with over-the-counter medications that come in ointments and suppositories. Pads soaked with witch hazel help. And there are topical anti-inflammatory agents containing hydrocortisone. Warm water from a bath, bidet or removable shower head works, too. In addition, avoid dry toilet paper. Instead, use moist towelettes after a bowel movement.

A doctor can remove or shrink hemorrhoids. These techniques include: rubber-banding that cuts off circulation and makes the hemorrhoid atrophy, an injection of a chemical that shrinks the hemorrhoid, burning hemorrhoidal tissue with an infrared device, and hemorrhoidectomy -- surgical removal.

Avoiding constipation is critical to preventing hemorrhoids. Doctors recommend increasing fiber and fluids in your diet to develop softer stools that don’t lead to straining. So, it’s important to eat whole grains, vegetables and fruit. Taking a fiber supplement each day helps, too. Drink liquids. Exercise.

A few other pointers:

  • If you have to sit or stand for a long time, take breaks often.
     
  • Don't sit on doughnut cushions, as some elderly like to do, because they can increase the pressure on the veins in the anus.
     
  • Don't hold your breath when trying to defecate; this creates greater pressure in the veins in the lower rectum.
     
  • Go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the need. Waiting can make your stool dry and harder to void.
     
  • Avoid laxatives that can lead to diarrhea.
     
  • Keep the anal area clean.
     
  • Apply ice packs or cold compresses on the anus to relieve swelling.
     
  • Over-the-counter pain-relievers such as acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen can relieve discomfort.


Fred Cicetti is a freelance writer who specializes in health. He has been writing professionally since 1963. Before he began freelancing, he was a reporter and columnist for three daily newspapers in New Jersey. He has written two published novels: Saltwater Taffy, and Local Angles. You can send your health-related questions to Fred at fred@healthygeezer.com.

© 2010 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.
Search CaregiversHome
Find with keyword(s):

Enter a keyword or phrase to search CaregiversHome's archives for related news topics, the latest news stories, timely times, and reference articles.

Email or share this story Bookmark and Share

Back to Top


Prescription Card

Free Survival Guide

Privacy Statement Contact Us Site Map Products & Services Our Partners Advertise
© Copyright 2003-2019. Pederson Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.