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How to Lower Your Risk for Hemorrhoid Flare-Ups

Hemorrhoids are inflamed, bulging veins — similar to varicose veins — that are in or around your anal canal. Hemorrhoids can be internal, which means that they’re underneath the skin inside your anus and your lower rectum. They can also be external, developing under the skin outside your anus. 

The expert team at Colon and Rectal Surgeons of Greater Hartford eases hemorrhoid pain with effective, innovative treatments at their offices in Bloomfield, South Windsor, and Plainville, Connecticut. Here they offer a few tips on how to keep your hemorrhoids from getting irritated and causing a painful flare. 

Don’t be impatient …

When your rectum is filled with excrement and you’re safely on the toilet, your body signals your anal sphincter muscles to relax. The stool passes from your rectum and out your anus without any further assistance from you.

If you’re impatient and try to push, or if you strain while urging the stool outward, you may irritate your hemorrhoids. Instead, trust your body to do its work and give it time to do so.

… Or take too much time

However, lingering on the toilet by reading the paper — or your phone — puts excess pressure on your hemorrhoids. Give yourself enough time to relax and allow your bowels to fully evacuate, but no more than that. Sitting down, whether on the toilet or in a chair, can irritate the veins in your anus. 

Give yourself a leg up

You may find that it’s easier to fully empty your bowels if you straighten your rectum and anal canal by squatting or elevating your feet. Sitting on the toilet creates an angle that the excrement has to navigate before exiting your body, which can impede its progress.

If your balance is good, and your doctor okays the practice, try putting a stool or a stack of books in front of the toilet. After you’re seated, rest one or both feet on the stool or stack. 

Elevating your legs slightly tilts your pelvis downward, straightening the angle of your anus and rectum. Gravity then aids the complete evacuation of your rectum. 

And sit up straight

Good posture increases the health of all of your organs, including your bowels. When you’re on the toilet, don’t slouch down or collapse in your middle. A straight back helps you keep your rectum and anal canal angled straight, for easy defecation.

Be a little Goldilocks

When it comes to your stool, you don’t want to be too hard or too soft. Like Goldilocks, you’re looking for a consistency that’s “just right.”

Eat plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, and fibrous starches to give your body the fiber it needs to create a soft stool that still holds its shape. Your doctor might also recommend a fiber supplement.

Be sure to drink plenty of water and other healthy liquids (i.e., 8-12 cups per day). Fluids help create soft, well-shaped stools that can pass easily.

Hard stools can cause constipation — and the straining that irritates hemorrhoids. However, stools that are too loose (i.e. diarrhea) is a sign of inflammation in your intestines that can irritate your hemorrhoids, too. 

Tone up your pelvic floor

Don’t neglect your pelvic floor muscles just because you’re focusing on your biceps or abs. The pelvic floor muscles form a sling that keeps your bladder and rectum elevated. When those muscles weaken, they can’t fully support your urogenital organs.

Kegel exercises aren’t just for women who’ve lost control of their bladders. They help both women and men tone up their anal canals and rectums to minimize pressure on their hemorrhoids. Ask us about getting a referral to a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor strength.

Tone up everything

Getting regular exercise improves your health in a variety of ways, one of which is reducing your risk for hemorrhoid flare-ups. When you’re active and fit, you could shed excess pounds that otherwise put pressure on your rectum and anus.

Exercise also gets you out of your chair and off your buttocks. Sitting for long periods of time without frequent exercise breaks raises your risk for a hemorrhoid flare. Try working standing up or use an exercise ball or chair.

Despite your best efforts, you may still feel the pain of hemorrhoids from time to time. Whether you need short-term pain relief or a long-term solution, the experts at Colon and Rectal Surgeons of Greater Hartford can help. Call the friendly team at the office nearest you or use the online form for a hemorrhoids consultation today. 

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