This is another very common question regarding haemorrhoids – it is, however, also one of the most difficult to answer.
The severity and duration of haemorrhoids is largely dependent on the individual in question, especially in terms of their health, age, gender and lifestyle. For some, haemorrhoids can largely be dealt with within a matter of days or weeks; others continue to suffer for much longer and often require surgery before the problem is fully rectified.
The type of haemorrhoid that the individual is suffering from must also be considered. Internal haemorrhoids often go away of their own accord and sometime require no treatment at all, whereas external haemorrhoids cause much greater discomfort and need more attention as a result. Whether or not the haemorrhoids are prolapsed or thrombosed is also something that should be factored in when thinking about duration.
- So, how long do haemorrhoids last?
The simple answer is, it all depends on the individual. Unlike many other conditions, there is no clear timeline in terms of haemorrhoid recovery. Small haemorrhoids can clear up in no time at all, while larger haemorrhoids may take much longer. If haemorrhoids continue to endure, the sufferer should always seek medical advice.
Of course, you can increase your chances of both getting and keeping haemorrhoids for longer if you’re overweight, pregnant, spend too long on the toilet or sitting down in general, don’t eat enough fibre or drink enough water, don’t get enough exercise, engage in anal intercourse, have chronic bowel movement issues, or use too many laxatives or supplements. Older people are also more at risk from haemorrhoids, though anyone can realistically get them.
A poor diet or a sedentary lifestyle in particular can make recovery from haemorrhoids even more difficult.
- Ditch the unhealthy diet
What you eat and drink (and in what quantity) is a major contributing factor to your likelihood of getting haemorrhoids and your ability to recover from them. If you eat a lot of food containing fat or food that’s heavily processed, you won’t help your cause; consuming low amounts of fibre, such as fruit and vegetables, and drinking too much caffeine can increase the risk of haemorrhoids occurring as they will make your stool harder and therefore more difficult to pass.
Simply eating foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help soften your stool and make bowel movements easier, putting less strain on your rectal veins, helping avoid more inflammation or irritation. The antioxidants contained within high-fibre foods can also strengthen your blood vessels and help prevent haemorrhoids from forming again.
You should always aim to stay hydrated as much as possible, as this will again help soften your stool and make bowel movements easier. Try bringing a water bottle with you to work or have one nearby when you’re at home – the more you drink, the easier your time on the toilet will be. On the flip side, smoking too many cigarettes and drinking too much alcohol can make the appearance of haemorrhoids more likely, so cut back on these if you can.
If constipation continues to plague you and stands in the way of your recovery from haemorrhoids, you can also ask your doctor for stool softeners to make things more straightforward, though these should just be a temporary measure.
If you have haemorrhoids, they’re likely to stick around longer if you spend excessive amounts of time sitting and if you don’t get enough exercise on a daily basis. Regular exercise can help regulate your bowel movements – you can also try keeping to a bowel movement schedule to help avoid holding it in or trying to force it.
Being overweight is also a contributing factor to delayed recovery from haemorrhoids. Try to keep your weight down to avoid getting haemorrhoids in the first place, and stay away from foods that will only exacerbate the problem further if you do begin to suffer from them. The less weight you carry, the less pressure there will be on your rectal and anal veins.
- What to do while suffering from haemorrhoids
Haemorrhoids are very treatable, and can be tackled through home remedies and by using products purchased from the local pharmacy. Home remedies include warm and cold compresses, while you can purchase pharmacy products such as sitz baths, herbal remedies, wipes and ointments. Most haemorrhoid treatments contain anti-sceptics and anti-inflammatories to help with your recovery, though you should always avoid anything that’d scented as these products can cause further irritation or pain.
Your doctor can also prescribe treatments to help your recovery go faster, and may recommend more aggressive approaches such as surgery if your haemorrhoids fail to go away after a while, or if you experience increased pain or bleeding.
If you do have haemorrhoids, try to avoid sitting for too long, especially on very hard or rough surfaces. Use the toilet as soon as you feel the need to, and don’t sit on it any longer than is necessary. Leave your smartphone elsewhere when visiting the bathroom to avoid distracting yourself from the task at hand, and take care when cleaning your anus (gently wipe; pat dry rather than rub).
If treated correctly and consistently, haemorrhoids often vanish within a fortnight. If you work hard to improve your diet, continue exercising and avoid sitting too much, you can regulate your bowel movements and soften your stool, decreasing strain on your rectal veins and allowing the region to heal up quickly.
For some people, haemorrhoids take longer to heal, irrespective of whether or not they make changes to their diet or lifestyle. Be prepared to be patient while your body works to recover from this itchy, painful condition.
- Can haemorrhoids come back again?
Unfortunately, yes. There is little research out there on the recurrence rate of haemorrhoids, but they can certainly return under the right circumstances. Studies do suggest that those who have their haemorrhoids removed through surgery are much less likely to see them return than those who opt for home remedies and treatments.