Piles, also known as Hemorrhoids, are swollen veins in the lowest part of the rectum and anus. They can result in itchiness, irritation, bleeding, and severe pain while passing stools. We talk about the simple ways to prevent piles.
Swollen veins can develop from increased pressure in the lower rectum usually due to: Chronic diarrhea or constipation, straining during bowel movements, obesity, pregnancy and aging process.
There are several lifestyle changes that may be adopted to reduce the risk of piles returning or even developing in the first place. These include:
Add more fiber to your diet
Piles are more likely to occur in people who have irregular bowel movements. One of the easiest, most natural ways to have regular bowel movements is by adding fiber to your diet (read more). Eating more fiber softens the stool and increases its bulk, making it easier to pass, and helps you avoid constipation and straining, which can cause piles. Great food sources of fiber include fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
Drink enough water
Healthy stools are primarily made up of water. Drinking enough water helps your stool stay soft, prevents constipation and therefore decreases straining. Alcohol and caffeine containing drinks should be avoided as these may cause constipation.
Don’t delay going to the toilet
It’s important to go when you’ve got the urge. This is one of the simplest ways to prevent piles. If you delay using the bathroom, your stool may become hard and dry in your bowel. This is because your intestines extract water from stool, and if it sits there long enough, it dries and is harder to push out. If you strain to pass stool, your risk for piles increases.
Don’t force a bowel movement when you don’t need to go. Relax and give yourself time to let things happen naturally. Straining and pushing too hard when trying to pass a stool creates extra pressure on the veins in the lower rectum, and is one of the most common causes of painful or bleeding piles. Other situations can cause straining too, such as lifting heavy objects, pregnancy or a chronic cough.
Don’t take too long in the bathroom
Avoid reading while sitting on the toilet. Get off the toilet as soon as you have finished. The more time you spend on the toilet, the more likely you will strain for bowel movements. Also, the seated position puts more pressure on the veins in your anus. Both of these factors increase your risk of piles.
Staying active helps prevent constipation and reduces pressure on the rectal veins, which can occur with long periods of standing or sitting, especially in the workplace. When you are sedentary, everything slows down, including your bowels. Exercise helps keep bowel movements more regular and avoids constipation. Moreover, exercise can help you lose excess weight that can increase your risk of developing piles. If you have a history of piles, you need to be careful of lifting heavy weights or other strenuous activities, that increase abdominal pressure or straining, and opt for more moderate exercises such as yoga, swimming, or walking.