Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal canal. They can be sore, itchy and may bleed. Although the condition is more common among the elderly and pregnant women, anyone can develop hemorrhoids. Constipation and diarrhea are two common causes of hemorrhoids. Fortunately, this condition can be prevented by changes in diet.
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The veins in the anal canal become swollen when too much pressure is applied to them. Pressure from excess weight as well as pressure applied during bowel movements can cause hemorrhoids. Also, straining to pass stool causes the veins to stretch and swell, forming hemorrhoids as a result.
There are two types of hemorrhoids, internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids are swollen veins inside the anal canal. These hemorrhoids are usually small but tend to bleed when stool is passed, resulting in blood in the stool, in the toilet bowl or on the toilet paper after a bowel movement. External hemorrhoids are swollen veins near the opening of the anus. When external hemorrhoids bleed, the blood clots form a hard lump, which can be very painful.
Straining often occurs because stools are hard or watery. Changes in diet can lead to softer stools that can be passed without straining. Softer stools are formed when there is an optimal amount of dietary fiber and water in the body. Dietary fiber, found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes contains material that is not digested or absorbed by the body. Therefore, it flows through from the stomach to the intestines and enters the colon more quickly than digested food. In addition, 6 to 8 glasses of water should be consumed daily.
To increase the amount of fiber in your diet, consider eating bananas on a daily basis. One banana contains approximately 2 to 4 g of fiber, depending on size. Bananas also contain a significant amount of vitamin C, which improves the durability of veins. Vitamin C also helps to heal the body when hemorrhoids are present. Eating a banana daily on an empty stomach can alleviate the soreness of hemorrhoids. For bleeding hemorrhoids, 3 bananas per day should be consumed.
Instead of throwing away the banana peel, some medical professionals suggest applying it directly to the infected area. It is believed that the slick insides of a banana peel can be soothing. Additionally, the sugar in bananas contain antibiotic-like qualities that can protect the infected area from bacteria.