Are you suffering from hemorrhoids? Does this illness make you feel discomfort anytime you try to sleep? Then know that you are not alone. Many people suffering from hemorrhoids complain of having difficulty when it comes to sleep.
Making yourself feel comfortable is one of the best ways to relieve yourself from the symptoms of hemorrhoids.
In this article, you will get to know more about hemorrhoids, what causes them, ways you can use to make sleep better for you, the treatment for hemorrhoids, ways to prevent this disease, and also other information you might not know about hemorrhoids.
What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins located around the anus or in the lower rectum. It is usually caused by straining during bowel movements, obesity, and pregnancy.
Having discomfort is a common sign of hemorrhoids especially during bowel movements or even when sitting. There are 2 types of hemorrhoids namely internal hemorrhoids and external hemorrhoids.
With internal hemorrhoids, it develops within your anus or rectum. External hemorrhoids develop outside of the anus and it is the most common and most disturbing type of hemorrhoid. Piles is another name given to hemorrhoids.
Symptoms of hemorrhoids
The symptoms of hemorrhoids depend on the type of hemorrhoids you are suffering from.
Skin that sticks out from the anus during bowel movements and blood on the tissue after having bowel movements are both symptoms of internal hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids do not retract back into the anus.
With external hemorrhoids, you can feel extreme itching around the anus, swelling around your anus, pains located around the anus. The pains usually occur when you are sitting.
Readers should take note that external hemorrhoids can sometimes form a blood clot on the skin. This is known as a thrombosed hemorrhoid.
One good news about hemorrhoids is that they are not life-threatening and this is owed to the fact that they mostly move back on their own or often can be manually moved back after using the toilet when they come out.
What are the causes of hemorrhoids?
This disease occurs when the veins around your anus are suffering from too much pressure. However, there are also other possible causes and risk factors and some of which include:
- Chronic constipation or diarrhea
- Genetic (if your family has a history of hemorrhoids)
- Having anal sexual intercourse. This can cause and also irritate hemorrhoids.
- Straining during a bowel movement can also cause hemorrhoids.
- Sitting on the toilet for long period of time
- Engaging in consistent heavy lifting or other activities that strain your body
How are hemorrhoids diagnosed?
A visual examination of your anus can be more than enough to diagnose hemorrhoids.
Another way to diagnose hemorrhoids is to perform a digital rectal exam. With this exam, the doctor inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into your rectum. Other tests like anoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy can also be used to diagnose hemorrhoids.
They all involve the use of a small camera to diagnose any abnormalities in your anus, rectum, or colon. An anoscopy examines the inside of your anus, a sigmoidoscopy examines the last 50 centimeters of your colon, and a colonoscopy explores the entire colon.
How can I sleep if I am suffering from hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids can make sleep very difficult and uncomfortable. Wrong sleeping positions can worsen this disease. However, there are some things you can do to make sleep better for you. Here are some of the tips that you can try out.
- You can gently push back the hemorrhoid when it sticks out of your anus after a bowel movement
- Using topical creams like aloe vera, pilex cream or anusol cream can also help with the pain because of their anti-inflammatory effects.
- Taking a sitz bath can also help with hemorrhoids. A sitz bath can help gently clean the area without having to rub or irritate your skin. The warm water also relaxes your muscles, promotes blood flow, and can ease pain.
- Eating foods that contain high amounts of fiber can also ease your symptoms because eating a high fiber diet will prevent constipation.
- Make sure to sleep on a soft mattress.
- Wearing comfortable clothes while sleeping can also help. Tight clothes can easily irritate the skin.
- Avoid eating spicy foods before going to bed. Eating spicy and oily foods might make you want to rush to the toilet again and again which is not good for your hemorrhoids.
- Avoid sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your back can exert pressure on your anal area, thus, resulting in more pain.
- You can also sleep without underwear. If you sleep without any innerwear, the skin in your anal area gets space to breathe and heal.
- Sleeping on your side is also one of the best ways to ease your symptoms. This is less likely to put any kind of pressure on your back.
- Placing a soft pillow under your knees can also help relieve the pressure in your anal canal
- Pain relievers like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) can help lower inflammation and ease pain.
Can hemorrhoids be prevented?
Yes, hemorrhoids can be prevented. To do this,
- You must avoid straining during a bowel movement.
- Increase your daily water intake. When you do this, it prevents your stool from hardening.
- Regular exercise can also prevent you from being constipated.
- Avoid sitting for long periods, especially on hard surfaces like concrete or tile.
- Eat foods that contain high amounts of fiber. (Foods that are good sources of fiber include oatmeal, carrots, pears, brown rice, whole wheat, etc). Eating foods with high fiber content can create bulk in the intestines, which softens the stool, thus, making it easier to pass out.
The takeaway from this article
Hemorrhoids can affect your sleep negatively. They are treatable and not life-threatening. There are things you can try that will help with your sleeping situation.
For example, avoid sleeping on your back to prevent putting pressure on your anal canal. You can find more of these tips above in the article.