Hemorrhoids: The Elephant in the Room
Let’s face it…no one is ever really comfortable talking about hemorrhoids, but for many, it’s a fact of life. Hemorrhoids occur in roughly 1 in 20 people in the United States, and 50% of people over the age of 50 have hemorrhoids, so it’s a subject worth discussing.
What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids, also known as ‘piles’, are swollen veins in the anus and lower rectum which, in actuality, are very similar to varicose veins. These veins are subject to stretching and can be overextended to the point where they eventually bulge. As you might imagine, this can be very uncomfortable, especially during bowel movements.
There are mainly two types of hemorrhoids: internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids are far inside the rectum and are usually painless but tend to bleed. An indication that you might have internal hemorrhoids is blood appearing in your stool. On the other hand, external hemorrhoids are typically just under the skin around the anus. It is here that there is a concentration of nerves that become irritated during bowel movements causing pain such as burning and itching.
In more serious cases, people can experience thrombosed hemorrhoids, which is a form of blood clot that causes severe pain, itching and bleeding.
Whichever form of hemorrhoids a person might have, there are distinct health factors that can cause them.
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
The factors that can cause hemorrhoids are varied, but not surprisingly, many are related to health and lifestyle issues such as obesity or a diet low in fiber. But perhaps the most prevalent cause is straining during bowel movements. During a bowel movement, pressure can increase in the lower rectum affecting blood flow and cause the veins to swell. Other activities that cause straining include lifting heavy objects, coughing, sneezing and vomiting.
What Can Be Done About Hemorrhoids?
If left untreated, hemorrhoids can lead to complications such as skin tags, anemia, infection and strangulated hemorrhoids. In these severe cases, a consultation with your doctor is recommended, and this might include a physical exam or a digital rectal exam where the physician checks for muscle tone, lumps or other issues affecting the anal canal. If the symptoms warrant, your doctor might suggest either an anoscopy, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Each of these procedures comprises the insertion of a small plastic tube into the anal canal to look for problems.
However, for most people who suffer from hemorrhoids, non-surgical and home remedy treatments will usually bring relief. These include adding fiber to you diet, drinking more water or the use of sitz baths. Other options include over-the-counter medications that relieve burning and pain.
Lifestyle changes can also help, such as increasing physical activity to help keep blood and bowels moving optimally. And when you feel the urge to go, do not wait. Your body is telling you it’s time. Waiting can lead to constipation and impacted stool which only increases straining and exacerbates hemorrhoids.
Another excellent and effective treatment for hemorrhoids is the use of dietary supplements.
Dietary Supplements and Horse Chestnut
Dietary supplements that are high in diosmin and hesperidin – which are both bioflavonoids – can be beneficial to helping control hemorrhoids and lessen the associated pain and burning. Both diosmin and hesperidin are excellent anti-inflammatories, and studies on the efficacy of diosmin in the treatment of hemorrhoids has been shown to reduce pain and swelling up to 79%.
But one of the most remarkable supplements in the treatment of hemorrhoids is horse chestnut.
Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) is a tree native to Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, and Bulgaria. Not to be confused with the Aesculus californica (California Buckeye) or Aesculus glabra (Ohio buckeye), the tree’s bark and seeds are used to make extracts that are beneficial to people suffering from varicose veins. And as we learned earlier, hemorrhoids are a form of varicose vein. Some of the compounds extracted from horse chestnut are saponin and aescin which reduces inflammation and swelling of blood vessels. Other benefits are horse chestnut include the strengthening of vein walls, improving vessel elasticity and preventing the further breakdown of capillaries. The stronger the vessel walls, the less blood is likely to leak through.
Where Can I Get a Dietary Supplement with Horse Chestnut?
VItasupportMD, the leader in bioflavonoids, manufactures a remarkable product called “Hemorrhoid Formula” which is a unique combination of diosmin, hesperidin and horse chestnut specifically formulated for individuals suffering from hemorrhoids.
Created by a Board-Certified cardiovascular surgeon, one bottle is a one-month supply. And since the ingredients are micronized, they are more readily absorbed into the bloodstream and therefore more beneficial than non-micronized formulations one may find elsewhere in the marketplace.
VitasupportMD’s line of bioflavonoid-rich dietary supplements can help your patients who might be suffering from hemorrhoids and we invite you to view our product line at www.vitasupportmd.com to see if our supplements can benefit your practice and your patients. All VitasupportMD dietary supplement capsules are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegetarian and manufactured in USA in FDA-registered facilities.