No matter how we may try to hold off its effects, aging happens to all of us. As we age, we undergo many physical, emotional and social changes. The body’s many systems slow down and its regenerative powers decrease. All of these factors make older people more prone to certain diseases and conditions, hemorrhoids being a prime example.
Hemorrhoids, also referred to as hemroids, develop when the veins in the anus and rectum are subjected to prolonged stress. The blood vessels in these areas then become swollen and irritated, and hemroids occur.
Aging causes some specific factors that make the body more likely to develop hemorrhoids. Since most people tend to slow down in old age and may lose mobility and lead a more sedentary lifestyle, blood flow to the lower part of the body, including the anal area, can also slow down. Blood is more likely to pool in the veins of the anus and rectum and cause the swelling that leads to hemroids.
A more sedentary lifestyle also makes the elderly more prone to constipation, one of the leading causes of hemorrhoids. When constipation occurs, the stools become dry and hard to pass. As a result, you may strain while trying to have a bowel movement.
This straining puts stress on the veins in the anal area, and as mentioned earlier, this prolonged stress can cause hemorrhoids to develop.
Hemorrhoid Treatment in Old Age
As with hemorrhoids at any age, hemorrhoids in the elderly can be treated effectively by making diet and lifestyle changes. Consuming a diet rich in fiber is a good way to maintain overall bowel health and prevent constipation. Fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains are an effective way to add fiber to your diet. In addition to providing relief from hemorrhoids, fiber can help prevent cancer in the bowel.
Making sure you drink plenty of water is another way in which to keep the bowel healthy. Adequate fluid intake keeps the stools soft, thus preventing constipation. Moderate exercise, such as a short walk everyday, is another way in which to improve overall bowel health and prevent constipation and hemroids. You should always consult your doctor before beginning any new diet or exercise regimen, however.
If all efforts at prevention fail, and you find yourself with hemroids, there are a number of steps you can take to alleviate symptoms and lessen your discomfort. Warm baths or Sitz baths in which you soak the anal area can help soothe anal tissues and decrease pain and discomfort. Hemroids medications are also good treatment methods for older hemorrhoids sufferers, especially when used on hemroids in their early stages.
As with younger hemorrhoids sufferers, if symptoms do not clear up or actually become worse, you should see a doctor for professional treatment advice. Also, if you experience bleeding hemroids, you should talk to your doctor before embarking on any course of hemorrhoids treatment.