Okay, So You Don’t Want to Tell Your Friends You Have Hemorrhoids

First of all, what the heck are hemorrhoids?

Well, lucky you. If you haven’t heard of them you may not have them. Hemorrhoids are enlarged veins in your low rectum (think: bum hole) that can feel like tiny protrusions from your rectum or anus. They can be internal (inside and not visible) or external which means you may be able to see or feel them. Generally, they are harmless.

How do you know if you have hemorrhoids?

You may have been informed by your care provider after a pelvic exam that you have hemorrhoids. You also may have noticed them after childbirth. Causes of hemorrhoids include constipation, prolonged sitting on the toilet, and genetics. Symptoms of hemorrhoids include itching, painful bowel movements, painful anal sex, pain in general, and small amounts of bright blood on toilet tissue after having a bowel movement.

What is something really important to know about these symptoms? Hemorrhoid symptoms can mask other issues such a colorectal cancer, crohns, ulcerative colitis, or anal fissures. If you notice any changes with your anorectal health, please do not self-diagnose, seek medical attention.

So… ok, how am I treating these?

The good news is many flare ups will resolve on their own. Treatment modalities include increasing fiber and water intake (together, please don’t just increase fiber if you don’t drink much water… the term brick referring to stool came from this very scenario), exercise, sitz baths, and suppositories or cream prescribed by your care provider. Rarely hemorrhoids can become hard when the blood inside the haemorrhoid clots. These need to be treated by a medical professional!

The DM take: this is extremely unpleasant. But the more we are hush hush about all the things that go bump in the night, the less we empower ourselves to understand and have control over our health.

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