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Posts Tagged ‘hemorrhoids’

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It’s an embarrassing subject we like to put behind us, but hemorrhoids can be a real bummer, with the pain of sitting butting into everyday tasks. Although hemorrhoids tend to run in families, certain measures can prevent your backside from continually taking front and center.

Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins in the anus and rectum that cause pain from sitting, squatting, going to the bathroom, and other ordinary things. In addition to pain, other symptoms include bleeding, the urge for a bowel movement, itching, and irritation.

Common root causes of hemorrhoids

Fortunately, the most common cause of hemorrhoids is also the most preventable — a diet low in fiber. Most Americans eat less than half the daily recommended amount of fiber. And that recommendation has gone up — from 5–7 servings a day to 7–10. (A serving is a half cup of vegetables and fruits or a cup of leafy greens.)

Upping your fiber intake may be all that’s required for relief. Ideas to make eating more veggies easier include:

  • Prepping and storing veggies to add to meals
  • Ordering salads with meals when eating out
  • Making big batches of veggies soups and stews
  • Keeping a container “salad bar” in your fridge
  • Veggie smoothies
  • Snacking on raw veggies

Make sure to drink plenty of water and exercise regularly, both which are important for constipation prevention.

If eating lots of vegetables causes gastric discomfort, you may need to take digestive enzymes with your meals. Or you may have compromised digestion that require gut healing. Ask my office about ways to help repair your gut function.

Still constipated?

If you eat plenty of fiber and are still constipated, then you may have to investigate other possible root causes.

Thyroid. For instance, the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism is known to cause constipation. Properly managing Hashimoto’s by addressing immune imbalances is fundamental to relieving constipation and hemorrhoids.

Brain. Poor brain function can cause constipation and hemorrhoids. If your brain is aging too fast or under functions, the vagus nerve  which runs between the brain and the gut, does not receive sufficient activation. An active vagus nerve signals the intestines to rhythmically contract and move food along in a timely manner. In fact, irresolvable constipation is an early symptom of Parkinson’s disease (although constipation does not always predict Parkinson’s).

Also, poor vagus nerve and brain function inhibit secretion of digestive juices and enzymes, which lead to constipation, as well as fail to keep the tissues and blood vessels of the rectum and anus healthy so as to avoid hemorrhoids.

Fortunately, we can jumpstart the vagus nerve with exercises such as gargling vigorously and frequently, singing loudly, or stimulating the gag reflex.

Gut. An inflamed, leaky gut with too much bad gut bacteria contributes to constipation. The gut has its own nervous system, called the enteric nervous system. When gut health is bad, the enteric nervous system does not function properly and constipation can result.

Additionally, poor gut health and bad gut bacteria impact brain health in a way that can, thanks to the communication highway of the vagus nerve, set the stage for constipation and hemorrhoids due to faulty brain-gut interaction.

Toilet pedestals and non-surgical treatments

If you haven’t caught wind of the “Squatty Potty” movement yet, take notice. Elevating your feet when you’re on the toilet so that you’re closer to a squatting position is said to help prevent constipation and hemorrhoids. Also, be aware of non-surgical solutions for hemorrhoids, such as in-office treatments that use an electrical current.

A variety of factors can cause hemorrhoids, however it’s always important to address diet and health of the digestive tract, brain, and immune system when looking to manage the underlying cause. Ask my office for more advice.

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3 08 got hemorrhoids

Even though they can ruin your life, nobody wants to talk about hemorrhoids, or “piles,” a condition in which the veins in the anus and rectum become swollen and inflamed. Although the internet is full of miracle hemorrhoid remedies, it’s best to address the underlying cause to keep them away for good.

Hemorrhoids can occur inside or outside the anal cavity. Symptoms include bleeding, feeling the urge for a bowel movement, and acute pain, itching, and irritation around the anus. Although hemorrhoids during pregnancy are normal for many women, in other cases they can indicate problems with your gut health, your diet, or even your brain function.

Constipation and hemorrhoids

The most common cause of hemorrhoids is constipation due to a diet low in fiber; the average American eats less than half the recommended dietary intake. If this is the cause, it’s an easy fix that requires eating ample amounts of vegetables and low-glycemic fruits. Get used to including vegetables in most every meal—think veggie omelets for breakfast, salads with lunch, sautéed vegetables for dinner, and raw carrots and celery with snacks. When you increase your fiber intake, make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of filtered water. Regular exercise also helps keep things moving along to prevent constipation.

Benefits of increasing your dietary fiber intake go well beyond preventing hemorrhoids. A high-fiber diet has also been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and some gut disorders.

Constipation is also a common symptom of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and managing your thyroid condition may help relieve constipation. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition and proper management requires managing the immune system. For more information read the book Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? by Datis Kharrazian. 

Could your brain be causing your constipation and hemorrhoids?

Sometimes constipation is not just diet related and hemorrhoids persist. Constipation may be caused by poor brain function, which Dr. Kharrazian discusses in his book Why Isn’t My Brain Working? A large nerve called the vagus nerve runs between the brain and the gut. If brain health is suboptimal, the brain will not adequately fire into the vagus nerve. Due to diminished communication from the brain, gut function declines and can cause symptoms that include constipation and hemorrhoids. This helps explain why gut function suffers after head injuries, with dementia, or in children with autism.

Fortunately, it is often possible to improve function of the vagus nerve with exercises such as gargling vigorously and frequently, singing loudly, or stimulating the gag reflex. For more information, contact my office or read Why Isn’t My Brain Working?

Take care of gut health to prevent hemorrhoids

The anus and rectum are part of the digestive tract and hemorrhoids can be a sign digestive tract health is compromised. Common disorders of the digestive tract include inflammation, overgrowth of yeast and bacteria, and leaky gut, a condition in which the intestinal walls become overly porous and allow undigested foods and bacteria into the bloodstream. It’s important to address overall gut health if you have hemorrhoids.

There can be several ways of approaching this. One is to reduce inflammation of the gut by eliminating sugars, junk foods, and foods to which you are intolerant, such as gluten or dairy. For instance, many people have found relief from hemorrhoids by following a gluten-free diet.

Addressing yeast and bacteria overgrowth and following a leaky gut diet can further improve gut health and potentially relieve hemorrhoids. You can further support gut health with specific nutritional compounds—ask my office for advice.

A variety of factors can cause hemorrhoids, however it’s always important to address diet and the health of the digestive tract when looking to manage the underlying cause.

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