The disease of the developed countries

  • 2010-05-20

This “shameful” from the conventional point of view disease is one of the most widespread diseases, that can be compared only with the  common cold. Proctologists believe that 70% of people sooner or later face the symptoms of hemorrhoids.

The word “hemorrhoids” comes from the Greek language where it meant any bleeding of internal organs. Later, the word “hemorrhoids” also meant swelling, inflammation, bleeding and loss of internal rectal venous plexus nodes.
However, false shame and fear of an “unavoidable” surgery hold back the patient from visiting a doctor - proctologist.
Indeed, the only method of treatment in the past was surgery. Nowadays with the invention of minimally invasive methods, the situation has changed radically. Hemorrhoids can be cured at any stage, but the earlier the treatment is started, the greater is the chance to avoid surgery.

Risk factors

Today, researchers acknowledge that the main cause of hemorrhoids is the weakness of the venous wall, that is - varicose veins. But it is only a predisposing or a risk factor, because with the proper lifestyle hemorrhoids may not appear.

Let us consider what conditions cause this disease:

• Weight lifting, prolonged work in a standing position
When experiencing physical overload, venous pressure rises because of the delay of blood in the veins, which gradually leads to the loss of elasticity of vascular walls. This is why hemorrhoids are widespread amongst the representatives of such professions as loaders, dancers, athletes, hairdressers, teachers - those who are engaged in heavy physical work or spend their working day standing.

• Obesity
Indeed, every time an obese person stands up or walks, he lifts and carries a heavy load - all that extra weight that he or she has.

• Sedentary work, sedentary lifestyle
Those who spend most of the day in a sitting position are not spared by the hemorrhoids either. The fact is that a kind of “heat wrap” forms between the chair seat and the body, which leads to cognation of blood in the pelvic organs. Because of this, drivers, cashiers, computer operators, accountants and the representatives of other “sedentary” professions are in the risk group.
In addition, a sedentary life itself is a risk factor for venous insufficiency, whereas moderate physical activity, swimming and gymnastics, on the contrary, reinforce and stimulate blood circulation and prevent stagnation of blood in the veins.

• Chronic constipation
The habit to strain for a long time during defecation, which is inherent for those who suffer from chronic constipation, highly favors the development of hemorrhoids, because it influences the veins of the rectum similar to lifting weights.

• Inflammatory or tumorous processes in the small pelvis
Inflammatory diseases and tumors in women (fibromata, uterine fibroids), diseases of the prostate gland in men, as well as cirrhosis of the liver and malignant tumors of the rectum - all this facilitates the increased blood flow to the pelvic organs, and consequently - the development of hemorrhoids.
Cracks, ulcers, fistulas of the anus are also risk factors for hemorrhoids.

• Alcohol and spicy food
Alcohol causes vasodilatation throughout the digestive tract, including the vessels of the rectum. The vasodilatation of vessels, in its turn, leads to stagnation of blood in the hemorrhoid nodes and their inflammation.
Dishes richly flavored with spices, on the one hand, stimulate digestion, but, unfortunately, cause a sharp inflow of blood to the rectum and irritation of the mucous membrane on the other.

• Severe diarrhea, unconventional sex
Irritation and inflammation of the rectum and anus as a result of severe diarrhea, as well as the mechanical stretching of the sphincter and the rectum as a result of unconventional sex contributes to the appearance of hemorrhoids and exacerbate the already existing disease.

• Pregnancy and childbirth
The uterus increases during the development of the fetus, occupying more and more room in the peritoneum. This forces the movable organs to move up, but the rectum, on the contrary, presses itself to the pelvis and, as a result, venous vessels are compressed. Intense expulsive pains during childbirth also stimulate the formation of hemorrhoids.
Preventing the disease is easier than treating it.

Paradoxically, hemorrhoids are a disease of economically and technologically developed countries, due to the peculiarities of the diet and physical activity of people. Naturally, the longer a person leads an unhealthy lifestyle, the more likely is the development of the disease. This is why hemorrhoids are most widely spread amongst aged people. Following some simple recommendations can help to avoid hemorrhoids, even if you sit at a computer all day, and if they have appeared already - to ease the course of the disease, reduce the number of painful relapses. Any disease is easier to prevent than to cure! A plain means of prevention is a proper diet - one should limit the amount of meat, fat, spicy foods, increase the proportion of fresh vegetables and fruits, dairy products, bread with bran.

Plus a healthy lifestyle: move more, don’t be “friends” with soft chairs and excessive heat, etc., but you should not sit on cold surfaces. You should do physical exercises, but remember that walking is more preferable than running, especially at older age. After the age of 45-50, it is preferable to visit a proctologist at least once every two years in order to prevent the disease. The diagnosis of “hemorrhoids” must be confirmed by a specialist, because more serious diseases of the large intestine may hide under the guise of hemorrhoids, for example, cancer.

Methods of treatment

Since the times of Hippocrates, medicine has accumulated a lot of methods of treatment of hemorrhoids. Some have ceased to exist and cause terror at the recollection of them (eg, burning hemorrhoids with a hot iron). Others are used up to this day.

The treatment of hemorrhoids can be categorized into medical, minimally invasive and operational (hemorrhoids are removed under general anesthesia by a surgeon). Drug therapy is used by indications and includes modern drugs with high efficiency. Minimally invasive methods treat hemorrhoids with an infrared coagulator. Depending on the indications, hemorrhoid ligation, sclerotherapy, and radio-therapy may be used. Surgical methods are used in cases of large fall-out nodes, unsuccessful medical or minimally invasive treatments and cases of heavy bleeding.

Hemorrhoid treatment should be carried out systematically and comprehensively. One should not decide independently (or with the recommendation of a staff member in a pharmacy) to use various potent drugs to treat hemorrhoids - suppositories, ointments and other preparations: there is no such pill that can rid you of hemorrhoids once and for all. The same applies to the popular methods of treatment. Some of them proved to be pretty good, but you should not rely on them completely, and you definitely shouldn’t put off a visit to the doctor. While treating the hemorrhoids, some popular remedies may be used only with a recommendation and under the supervision of a proctologist, and, as a rule, only in addition to the basic course of treatment.