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13 common mistakes that can aggravate your piles or hemorrhoids

These are the 13 most common mistakes that piles or haemorrhoids patients make that result in bleeding, pain, anal itching and skin tags.

Living with piles or haemorrhoids can significantly impact your day-to-day life. Every day, routine activities like going to the toilet, travelling to work and surviving an entire day in office can seem like a challenge because of the constant pain, discomfort and not to mention, anal itching. Only a person who has lived with piles or haemorrhoids will understand the struggle of dealing with what gastroenterologists call a fairly common disease. These are the causes of piles you should know about.

I was first diagnosed with haemorrhoids and anal fissures at the age of 20 and over the last four years, I realised that paying attention to small details in your day-to-day life can go a long way in reducing the symptoms and preventing the condition from aggravating. While everyone is aware that having a high fiber diet and cutting down on junk food helps, these are the 13 other mistakes that you should avoid at all costs if you re a haemorrhoids patient:

1. Sitting for long periods of time and leading a sedentary lifestyle

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Being overweight can worsen your condition. If you have a desk job and spend most of your free time watching TV or surfing the internet, it will only lead to chronic constipation and more straining on the toilet. Being physically inactive can put more pressure on the veins of the blood vessels around your anal area, so avoid sitting at one place for too long. Make an effort to walk more and take up cardio exercises for your own well-being. Go for a brisk walk or a jog for at least 30 minutes every day to get some form of relief.

2. Lifting very heavy objects on a daily basis

If you have started working out in the gym, it is definitely a positive step. However, don t overdo it with the weight lifting and completely avoid heavy weight lifting. You will only end up putting more pressure on your clot(s) or external haemorrhoids. Moderate exercising is the way to go until your symptoms start to subside.

3. Ignoring symptoms of constipation or diarrhea

It s a known fact that suffering from constipation will result in the formation of more external haemorrhoids or what is more commonly called skin tags. The other extreme, which is diarrhea, can also aggravate your piles and worsen the symptoms. If you have been suffering from loose motions or difficulty in passing bowel movements, make a food diary. Evaluate your diet carefully and try to figure out what is causing the constipation or diarrhea and consciously eliminate those food items from your diet. If the diarrhea still persists, consult your physician. These are the medicines that can cause chronic constipation.

4. Maintaining poor hygiene

In India, the heat and high humidity levels can be a piles patient s worst enemy. If you don t take a shower every day and keep your anal area clean and dry, the irritation and itching will go from bad to worse. Remember to keep toilet paper handy with you when you go to the toilet. Thoroughly wash your genital area with warm water and after that, gently pat the area dry. Don t rub toilet paper or any cloth against your anal area to avoid any burning sensation. During your menstrual cycle, switch to sanitary napkins specifically made for sensitive skin to avoid any rashes.

5. High stress and anxiety levels

If you have a demanding job or if you re going through a stressful phase, take some time out to de-stress if you have to. Leading a stressful life will lead to anxiety and depression which will in turn make your haemorrhoids flare up. Find an activity that calms you down and if need be, take two to three days off from work until you stress levels go down. This really helped me while I was suffering from chronic anal fissures and piles.

6. Overusing laxatives

Your gastroenterologist is going to prescribe stool softeners and laxatives to get some relief from the symptoms of piles. Usually, these tablets or syrups are meant to be taken for not more than one week. Don t abuse these laxatives and make a habit of popping these tablets regularly. If you re still feeling constipated, go natural and switch to Isapgol for immediate relief. You could also try these home remedies for constipation.

7. Reading or using your smartphone while sitting on the toilet

Remember not to spend more than 10-15 minutes maximum on the toilet. Straining on the pot will lead to more anal skin tags and bleeding. When you re reading your morning newspaper or scrolling through various social media apps, you lose track of time and end up putting a lot of pressure on the blood vessels. Set a timer for 10 minutes on your phone and once that time is up, get off your commode! If possible, use Indian toilets to facilitate your bowel movements.

8. Using scented wet wipes

Be careful while buying wet wipes. As far as possible, avoid them because most wet wipes are scented and contain irritants like alcohol which will cause excruciating pain on the affected areas. If you want to keep your anal area clean and devoid of any faecal matter, opt for a sitz bath.

9. Using your nails or scratching

Anal itching is a persistent problem for those suffering from piles or haemorrhoids. As far as possible, avoid scratching your anal area because it will only result in more pain. The last thing you want is a burning sensation down there throughout the day. Ask your doctor to prescribe topical ointments or gels to get rid of the itching.

10. Drinking too much coffee

Just like alcohol, coffee can also cause dehydration and irritate your stomach lining. Caffeine is also known to be the leading cause of constipation, so cut down drastically on your caffeine consumption. Here's how to deal with caffeine withdrawal symptoms.

11. Sitting on hard or rough surfaces for too long

As far as possible, you need to avoid putting any form of pressure on your anal area. Avoid sitting on the floor for prolonged periods of time and if your chair at work isn t comfortable enough, keep a small pillow handy to sit on.

12. Not answering nature s call on time

When your body is signalling that you have to go no.2, drop whatever it is that you are doing and evacuate your bowels. Controlling the urge to defecate will only put more pressure on the veins around your anal area. Schedule your timings to go to the toilet according to your bowel movements and stick to that routine.

13. Avoiding surgical treatment

In some cases, despite undergoing the traditional medical treatment for hemorrhoids or even anal fissures, the symptoms can still persist. If you have made adequate lifestyle and diet changes but you still notice blood in your stools along with symptoms such as excessive pain, swelling and itching down there, it is time to consult a general surgeon. Here s what you need to know about hemorrhoid surgery. Don t be embarrassed by your condition and seek the treatment required instead of suffering in silence.

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