It’s a condition that affects 80 percent of all Canadians at some point — but no one wants to talk about it.
Sometimes referred to as “piles,” hemorrhoids are a normal part of the human body. They usually appear as relatively small and painless lumps on the inside of the lower rectum — but when Hemorrhoidal Disease (HD) occurs, they can also present as larger exterior bulges. Both versions can cause extreme discomfort and even bleeding.
HD is an embarrassing topic for many people, and silence surrounding this condition has resulted in a lack of awareness among most Canadians. But the truth is, it’s a relatively common health issue, and one that deserves more attention. Here’s what you should know about this disease that most adults will experience at some point in their lives.
1. Most people will experience HD
If it seems like no one you know suffers from hemorrhoids, it might just be because they’re keeping it to themselves. This embarrassment-inducing disease is actually extremely common. The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation reports that 80 percent of Canadians will deal with hemorrhoids at some point during their life.
2. They usually develop after age 30
Hemorrhoids are a reality for many adults, typically developing after age 30. In fact, nearly half of all adults over the age of 50 will experience them.
3. They don’t discriminate by gender
Men and women are equally affected by hemorrhoids. Women may experience them sooner in life, since pregnancy can place extra pressure on the abdomen, leading to strained and swollen veins — especially during the third trimester.
4. Risk factors include inactivity and not getting enough fibre
There are specific habits or conditions that make people more prone to developing hemorrhoids. These risk factors include frequently experiencing constipation, a diet low in fibre, high alcohol consumption and a lack of physical activity.
5. There are several warning signs
Some of the more recognizable signs associated with hemorrhoids include discomfort and pain, blood in the stool and swelling in and around the anus. Other symptoms include itching, anal discharge, redness, inflammation and the feeling that you have to pass a bowel movement.
6. Symptoms get worse over time
Pain down there can be embarrassing to discuss, even with a medical professional, but it’s something that needs to be addressed right away. If left untreated, hemorrhoids can become increasingly painful. As they progress, hemorrhoids may prolapse, or protrude, from the anus.
If you notice any symptoms of hemorrhoids, you should speak with a doctor or pharmacist right away to save yourself from more pain down the road.
7. The symptoms are highly treatable
Good news everyone! If you notice signs of hemorrhoids and act quickly, symptoms like swelling, bleeding and pain can be managed with the proper treatment. And don’t worry: while there are other less comfortable options, there are also pills you can take orally to relieve symptoms.
8. You don’t need a prescription
Getting access to treatment is easier than you think. You can skip the wait at the doctor’s office or walk-in clinic and head straight to the pharmacy. Venixxa™ is an over-the-counter solution available in Canada. It’s a natural health product made from immature oranges that relieves the symptoms of hemorrhoids. If you can’t find it on the shelf, speak to your pharmacist about the possibility of ordering it in. You can also check their website for locations that stock Venixxa near you.
9. Venixxa helps relieve symptoms in as little as 48 hours
Taking Venixxa shortens the duration and intensity of acute hemorrhoid episodes. It can also help to prevent recurring flare-ups. Forty-two percent of people reported improvement after two days of taking Venixxa; after day seven, that number rose to 98 percent. This oral treatment can be combined with a topical treatment and isn’t known to interfere with any other drugs. It should be noted, however, that Venixxa isn’t meant for anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding.
10. You can take steps to prevent hemorrhoids
Two easy ways to reduce your likelihood of developing hemorrhoids are making sure your diet is loaded with fibre and drinking plenty of water. Exercising regularly, watching how much you drink and avoiding prolonged sitting all help, too.
Though Hemorrhoidal Disease is something many Canadians will face, you can take preventative measures just by making a few healthy lifestyle changes. The greatest obstacle to treating this common disease is simply overcoming the embarrassment of talking about it.