What Causes Hemorrhoids and How Can I Get Rid of Them?

Hemorrhoids, Gabriel Akopian, Pasadena, California

Itching and irritation, pain, and bleeding during bowel movements can be signs of an unwanted, but common condition — hemorrhoids. These swollen veins in your anus and lower rectum rarely cause serious medical complications, but they can sure be uncomfortable and sensitive.

Understand what causes hemorrhoids so you can avoid developing them in the future. And if you should have them, Dr. Gabriel Akopian offers some tips on how to get rid of them.

Hemorrhoid causes

The veins around your anus almost mimic varicose veins when they become swollen, puffy, and bulged with hemorrhoids. Usually pressure on the lower rectum causes hemorrhoids. You may experience pressure due to:

Pregnancy also puts pressure on the lower rectum and can result in hemorrhoids. You may be more susceptible to hemorrhoids when you’re older because of weakened and stretched tissue in the rectum and anus.

Avoiding hemorrhoids

Keep your stools soft so you can pass them relatively easily without straining. A high-fiber diet helps. Eat lots of whole grains, leafy greens, blueberries, and apples with the skin to boost your intake of fiber. Stay hydrated, as water or other liquids help keep your stools soft and pliable.

If you have trouble getting the 25 grams of fiber per day recommended for women or 38 grams per day for men, take a fiber supplement.

Other ways to avoid hemorrhoids are to avoid straining while defecating and going as soon as you feel an urge. Holding your stool back can make it dry up and be harder to pass.

Exercise keeps your digestive tract regular, too, and can help reduce the extra weight contributing to your hemorrhoids. Exercise goes hand-in-hand with avoiding long periods of sitting, which also increases pressure on your anal veins. If you have a desk job, get up often to walk around.

Making hemorrhoids go away

If you have hemorrhoids, you want them to heal as soon as possible to relieve the discomfort, itching, and pain. Over-the-counter creams or pads with witch hazel help keep the area clean and can alleviate some of the symptoms. Ultimately, your goal is to keep the anal area super clean — take a daily bath if you can or softly wash the area while in the shower. Avoid using dry toilet paper; opt for moist toilettes instead.

If you can, use a sitz bath that fits right over the toilet. Fill it with plain, warm water and soak for 10-15 minutes several times per day. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, and cold compresses against your anus can help with swelling and pain.

All of these strategies help relieve your discomfort and pain, while making you heal a little faster. The best way to resolve hemorrhoids is to follow the tips for prevention, such as following a high-fiber diet, avoiding straining while passing stools, and adding a fiber supplement.

Don’t always assume hemorrhoids are to blame for rectal bleeding. If you have changes in bowel habits or tarry stools, come to our office for a thorough workup. And if you have hemorrhoids that are chronic or don’t resolve with home remedies, you’d benefit from a meeting with Dr. Akopian. He can recommend non-surgical therapies, as well as surgery when necessary.


For more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Akopian, call our Pasadena, California, office or request an appointment using our online form.

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