No one wants the pain, itching, or bleeding that comes with hemorrhoids. Fortunately, you can adopt five simple habits to reduce your risk of this irritating problem. Keep reading to learn more.

Did you know that by age 50, approximately half of American adults have experienced at least one classic sign of a hemorrhoid? This may not be a life-threatening issue, but they can cause significant discomfort without treatment.

Signs of a hemorrhoid often include:

  • Itching, irritation, or swelling near your anus
  • A hard lump near your anus
  • Discomfort or pain, sometimes severe
  • Bleeding during bowel movements

Hemorrhoids develop when there’s too much pressure in your lower rectum, causing veins in your anus to bulge and swell. Fortunately, you can take action today to reduce your chances of this happening.

Dr. Laureen Forgione-Rubino has diagnosed and treated hemorrhoids at her private practice in Manchester, Connecticut, for over 30 years. Dr. Forgione-Rubino knows this can be an embarrassing topic to discuss, but she encourages people to talk about their symptoms.

In many cases, making simple lifestyle changes can help manage your condition. However, when that’s not enough, Dr. Forgione-Rubino can provide medical interventions.

Want to avoid hemorrhoids? Dr. Forgione-Rubino recommends starting with these five strategies.

1. Focus on fiber

Do you get enough fiber? Your chances of developing hemorrhoids increase if you don’t have regular bowel movements. To keep your digestive system on track, try to get 25-30 grams each day by eating:

  • Legumes, like beans, lentils, and split peas
  • 100% whole grains, like oatmeal, barley, and brown rice
  • Veggies, especially Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and green peas
  • Fruits, like bananas, apples, and pears

When adding fiber to your routine, start slowly to avoid temporary issues like gas and bloating. And, if you struggle to get enough fiber through diet alone, Dr. Forgione-Rubino could suggest a fiber supplement, like Metamucil® or Citrucel®.

2. Drink more water

Getting plenty of fiber is the first step to avoiding hemorrhoids, but you also need plenty of water to keep things moving.

Drinking water helps your body break down food so its nutrients are absorbed into your system. Healthy hydration also helps keep your stools soft and easy to pass, which avoids constipation and straining during bowel movements.

However, the water you drink also gets lost every time you sweat and urinate. To ensure you get enough water to keep your digestive system humming, try to drink at least 6-8 glasses each day as a starting point.

3. Don’t forget to exercise — right

Regular activity is essential for your health and digestion. However, certain activities can actually increase your risk of hemorrhoids.

In most cases, you can safely engage in moderate exercise routines, like swimming, walking, or yoga, to keep hemorrhoids at bay. Not only do these activities keep your colon more regular, but staying active reduces the amount of time you spend sitting — an activity that slows everything down, including your bowels.

However, you should use caution when engaging in activities that can cause straining or pressure in your abdomen, like heavy-duty weightlifting.

4. Limit your time on the toilet

Has the bathroom turned into your reading room or private escape? It’s time to break that habit. The more time you spend on the throne, the higher your chances of hemorrhoids for two reasons.

First, this seated position puts added strain on blood vessels in your anus. Second, the longer you sit, the more likely you strain to move your bowels. Fortunately, you can avoid these risk factors entirely by keeping the bathroom off-limits for phones and reading materials.

5. If you have to “go,” go

When you get the urge to “go,” do you listen? This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s common for people to ignore the calls of Mother Nature.

The longer you wait to head to the bathroom, the harder and drier your stool can become. When this occurs, it becomes more difficult to pass, leading to straining during your bowel movement.

Finally, know when to see your doctor. Never assume that bleeding is normal, and don’t ignore hemorrhoid symptoms that worsen. Dr. Forgione-Rubino can perform an exam to confirm your condition and outline a personalized treatment strategy.

Do you have hemorrhoids? Schedule a consultation by calling Dr. Forgione-Rubino or requesting an appointment online today.

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