Haemorrhoids are a common problem that many people suffer from each year – they are, however, not usually a serious issue and can be treated at home or by a doctor. Unfortunately, many people frequently make their condition worse by doing things that only aggravate their haemorrhoids further, sometimes resulting in more extensive treatment being required.
Here are a few examples of what NOT to do when you have haemorrhoids.
- Try to ‘hold it in’
One of the worst things you can do when you have haemorrhoids is not going to the toilet the moment nature calls. In fairness, passing stool during a period of haemorrhoid suffering can be painful, and you may try putting off visiting the lavatory as long as possible. However, the more you resist your body’s desire to make a bowel movement, the more your rectal and anal veins will come under pressure, further aggravating your haemorrhoids. Whatever you do, don’t ‘hold it’ any longer than you absolutely have to.
- Have high stress levels
Stress can lead to more serious mental health problems, such as depression, which will only make your haemorrhoid problem worse and deter you from actively attempting to treat them. No matter what’s causing your stress or anxiety, whether it’s your job, home life or financial situation, you should do your best to de-stress as much and as often as possible. Take a break, get some exercise, do something that you enjoy. Whatever you need to do to bring your stress or anxiety levels down, do it – it will make a difference in your recovery from haemorrhoids, and will have a positive impact on your outlook on life.
- Sit for long periods of time
This is a common reason for haemorrhoids appearing in the first place. If you work in an office where you spend large amounts of time sitting at a desk, or if you stay seated a lot during your free time (whether you’re reading, watching TV, etc), you can develop haemorrhoids. And if you continue to do so when you have haemorrhoids, you’ll most likely make them worse. As with trying to delay a bowel movement, sitting for excessive amounts of time will put added pressure on your anal veins and exacerbate your haemorrhoids. Get up from your chair and take a quick walk every so often. Keep the pressure off those haemorrhoids when you can.
- Drink too much caffeine
If you’re a heavy coffee drinker, you may have to seriously cut back if you develop haemorrhoids. Caffeine causes dehydration and can lead to stomach problems – it’s also highly likely to cause constipation if you drink too much of it, which will have a massively detrimental effect on your recovery from haemorrhoids. Cut down on the coffee and stayed as hydrated as you can.
- Have poor hygiene
Maintaining good hygiene is something everyone should do regardless of whether or not they have haemorrhoids, but extra care should be taken to ensure your anal region is clean and dry when you’re suffering from piles. Keep your anal area clean and pat it dry rather than rub, as the abrasion can irritate external haemorrhoids further. A good level of hygiene is a must in your recovery from haemorrhoids.
- Lift heavy objects
You should continue exercising if you develop haemorrhoids, but be careful with how you go about burning those calories. Lifting weights or other heavy objects in your day-to-day routine can increase pressure on your rectum and anus, worsening your haemorrhoids. If you have external or thrombosed haemorrhoids, lifting heavy items can cause them to burst or become prolapsed. Be sensible in regard to what you lift, and stick with light exercise when you can.
- Use scented products
Many products, such as creams or ointments, contain chemicals which can cause irritation to sensitive skin – in some cases, they can even cause a great deal of pain. If you want to use creams or wipes to keep your anal region clean while you have haemorrhoids, be sure to check whether or not the products in question are scented or unscented before making a purchase – you could save yourself a great deal of irritation or pain by doing so.
- Turn a blind eye to your bowel movements and stool
While what you do on the toilet isn’t usually an enjoyable topic of conversation of self-reflection, don’t ignore what’s happening when you use the loo. If you have haemorrhoids and begin to experience constipation or diarrhoea, your problems could seriously worsen as your rectum and anus are put under added strain. Constipation is particularly detrimental to your recovery from piles as it can cause internal haemorrhoids to become external, or thrombosed haemorrhoids to rupture and bleed. Take the time to check exactly what you’re eating during the course of each day, and try to increase your intake of high-fibre foods and water. If your bowel movements continue to fluctuate even after dietary changes have been made, consult your doctor, who can prescribe something to help ease your discomfort.
- Sit on hard surfaces for extended periods of time
While the temperature of your sitting surface has no real bearing on your haemorrhoids, the pliability of it does. If your work chair is quite hard, use a cushion to relieve the pressure on your anus; similarly, try to avoid sitting on hard floors or ground when you have haemorrhoids, and if you must sit, take a quick break when you can.
- Use your phone when on the toilet
This sounds a bit obvious, but many people get sucked into doing it every day. When you go to the toilet, avoid sitting on it for extended periods of time scrolling through your social media news feeds or watching YouTube videos – you’ll only increase the strain on your anus, which will in turn worsen your haemorrhoids. Leave your phone behind when you visit the loo, or use a timer to remind you when to finish.