By Ian Chow, Certified Massage Therapist / Infant Massage Instructor / Oncology Massage Trainer
Length: 3 mins read (691 words)
Note: This has nothing much to do with massage therapy and neither is haemorrhoid treatable via massage. I am blogging on this to raise some awareness especially after what I had experienced and may you find this article useful if you ever encounter this in the future.
What is haemorrhoid?
Also known as piles, haemorrhoid are swollen veins in your anus and lower rectum, similar to varicose veins. It can be internal (inside the rectum) or external (under the skin around the anus). It affect people of all ages, genders and walks of life but certainly are more common as we age, affecting more than half of people over age 50.
I have been living with haemorrhoid for many years now. Most times, it does go away on its own. But mine has been recurring and as I grow older, the flare up can be bad.
What causes it?
Beside aging and genetic (which increase the inheritance tendency), for me, the main culprit is lifting heavy things.
Other possible reasons that contribute to it include chronic constipation, seated in the same position (especially in the toilet) for too long, chronic diarrhea, obesity and anal intercourse. For women, pregnancy is also a factor.
What are the four grades of haemorrhoid?
Grade 1 – no prolapse (prolapsed hemorrhoids are internal hemorrhoids that have grown to the point that the protrude from the anus)
Grade 2 – Prolapse under pressure such as straining during a bowel movement but return on their own
Grade 3 – Prolapse that can be pushed back in by the patient
Grade 4 – Prolapse that is too painful to be pushed back in
Extra: Some may also be thrombosed hemorrhoids, internal or external hemorrhoids in which a blood clot (thrombosis) has developed.
At the time of writing this, I have 3 internal Grade 2 haemorrhoid and 1 thrombosed Grade 3 haemorrhoid.
As they always say, prevention is better than cure. Before it happens to you, these are some of the measure one can do:
a). Eat more high-fiber foods e.g fruits, vegetables, whole grains and drink plenty of plain water
b). Don’t strain especially while passing motion – straining and holding your breath when trying to pass a stool creates greater pressure in the veins in the lower rectum.
And on the same note, be careful when you lift heavy things too. This also include doing your gym workout – be moderate or engage a qualified gym instructor.
c). Go to the toilet as soon as you feel the urge – once the urge goes away, your stool could dry out and harder for the motion
d). Exercise – this can help in reducing your weigh which is a contributing factor.
e). Avoid long period of sitting in the same position
In the event that you have it, as mentioned, most times, it does go away on it own. To speed up the healing process, most of the measures that you can take now has a lot to do with your toilet habits e.g. eat more fiber to ensure softer stool, wash your bottom instead of wiping it (but keep dry after that) and don’t spend longer than you need to in the toilet.
If you are in pain, you may also take paracetamol.
What I also find helpful (for prolapsed / external haemorrhoid) is the usage of essential oils and apply as a form of ointment. I use a combination of frankincense, tea tree, clove, cypress and peppermint essential oils (coconut oil as a base). And I do soak my bottom at least twice a day in a tub of warm water mixed with dead sea salt added with lavender and tea tree essential oils.
If after 3 days that you do not notice any improvement, please do consider seeing a doctor. And if you are in intense pain and the haemorrhoid is in Grade 4, please also consider getting medical help as soon as you can.
If needed, hemorrhoidectomy, a surgery to remove hemorrhoids is one of the steps in treating this permanently. Nowadays, there is also laser hemorrhoidoplasty where it is considered as a minimally invasive procedure for hemorrhoid treatment.
Haemorrhoids can effect the quality of life in many ways. The pain is one thing, feeling agitated is another with lack of sleep due to the constant physical uneasiness and some may be embarrass by it too. If the time comes, you should seek medical professional help or if you need someone to share with, you know who to whatsapp.