Hemorrhoids have multiple causes, chief among them pregnancy, anal sex and hard, dry tools. And while Pregnancy hemorrhoids can be averted with a maternity support and anal sex hemorrhoids can be averted with proper training or abstinence, hard, dry stools require greater effort to prevent. However, the most important aspect of how hard, dry stools cause hemorrhoids – being forced out – is rarely, if ever, addressed; yet, this one act can lead to weeks of pain and frustration.
What to do when a stool is hard?
Resist the urge to strain and force out the hardened stool. Instead, relax, get off the toilette, drink a large glass of water and try again later. Until that stool is successfully passed, one will likely feel ill at ease, however, continuing to strain to push out a hard, bone-dry stool will lead to far worse discomfort and hemorrhoids. It’s a difficult choice for some – a few hours of discomfort versus weeks of hemorrhoid agony, until they finally heal – especially since many don’t seem to realize that the choice exists.
As simplistic as this may sound, resisting the urge to force a hardened stool will help prevent hemorrhoids. I have done this my entire life, not realizing that this was the reason I had never suffered from hemorrhoids. My one encounter with the dreaded ‘piles’ occurred when I became impatient at work one day. I had a lot to finish before clocking out that day, and I didn’t want to waste precious time on the porcelain throne. However, when I felt that unfamiliar pain, the anal pain that accompanies a hardened stool, my instincts overrode my desire to return to my workload and I stopped – which is what I had always done. I returned to my desk with a small cup of water (they only had small cups in that office) and I refilled it at least five times before I was able to successfully pass a softened stool.
I should also mention that, although I failed to to force the stool, even partially, out the first time around, my anus was still sore for nearly two days, as a result of my attempt. I don’t even want to imagine the pain I would have experienced had I continued pushing on that brick. In any case, that one unpleasant brush with hemorrhoids has been reminder enough to prevent me from ignoring my instincts ever again. It has also helped that I no longer experience hard, dry stools, due to dietary changes I have made over the past few years. But, as I mentioned earlier, even just drinking more water can help prevent hard, dry stools and the hemorrhoids they can lead to.
An Ounce of Prevention
Based on experience, research and my conversations with hemorrhoid sufferers, the three best ways to prevent constipation and the hemorrhoids they lead to are to…
Eat a diet rich in whole foods, and
Foods that keep things moving
Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables and decreasing one’s consumption of processed foods (or eliminating them altogether) will definitely improve bowel health and prevent hard, dry, hemorrhoid causing stools from forming. In particular,
I could go on, because there are many, many more, but without increasing water intake, eating all the high-fiber foods in the world will do one little good.
How exercise helps prevent hemorrhoids
Research has shown that exercising regularly may help prevent hemorrhoids by improving blood flow and preventing constipation. Aerobic exercise, specifically, has been known to help ease constipation. Though it may be more truthful to say that the lack of exercise causes constipation. Most research scientists are not willing to offer a definitive reason why this should be, they simply conduct studies with ever mounting evidence that deems it to be so. For example, in otherwise fit and healthy people, a bout of constipation usually occurs following an injury or illness that renders them immobile for a period of time. Researchers have also hypothesized that lack of physical activity is why constipation is so prevalent in older adults. Only researchers for the cancer research and awareness charity Cancer Researcher UK have been bold enough to propose the bowel muscle theory to explain why constipation happens, and it makes perfect sense. “The muscles in your bowel help to push the stools into your rectum. When it gets to your rectum the stools are solid. But if too much water is drawn back into the body from the bowel, [because you’re dehydrated!] or if the muscles in your bowel are weak and slow, your stools become hard and dry, causing constipation.”
Exercises that target the gluteal (buttock) muscles, such as lunges and squats, also strengthen rectal muscles. And normal functioning of the nerves and muscles in the “back passage” – the rectum and anus – are required for normal bowel movements, even when one’s stool is not hard and dry. So, such lower-body exercises are ideal for those wishing to prevent constipation and hemorrhoids.
While moderate exercise will help insure that you avoid the heartbreak of hemorrhoids, strenuous exercises, such as cross-fit and weight lifting, can make hemorrhoids worse. Body builders can attest to this fact, as many of them have developed life-long hemorrhoid issues as a result of straining to lift super heavy weights. Also, if one is new to exercise, they should start slow and build their endurance, especially if they have hemorrhoids.
Even if the boat has sailed, and one is suffering the agony of hemorrhoids presently, they will at least know what to do to prevent a recurrence, and the following articles offer information on how to help hemorrhoids heal faster: How To Relieve Hemorrhoids, Riboflavin: The Hemorrhoid Healer, Ginger Helps Cure Hemorrhoids, The Benefits of Vervain.
Based on everything I have learned and experienced, the key to living a hemorrhoid-free life is to never force out hard, dry stools, consume a diet rich in high-fiber whole foods, drink plenty of water and exercise moderately and regularly. I’ve noticed over the years, that the more I move the better my body feels and functions, which leads me to believe that fitness may be just as important as nutrition and hydration when it comes to preventing dis-ease of any kind.