Abuja – An Abuja based physician, Dr Nkechi Anthony, on Tuesday warned that inclusion of processed foods in daily diets could lead to haemorrhoids or piles.
Anthony told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that low-fibre diet or inadequate fluid intake can also cause constipation which can contribute to haemorrhoids.
She said that haemorrhoids promote straining on the toilet and it also aggravates the pile by producing hard stools that further irritate the swollen veins.
Anthony also explained that haemorrhoids are enlarged veins that have occurred in the rectum due to constant strains during bowel movements, which can be external and internal in outlook, thereby making the patient very uncomfortable.
She said adequate water intake, consumption of healthy meals and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are keys to preventing haemorrhoids or piles.
“Most people do not get enough fibre in their diet and they do not even eat enough fresh vegetables and fruits.
“Diet, intake of plenty of water and reduction of salt intake are antidotes, salt leads to fluid retention which in turn causes your body to swell, including the blood vessels causing haemorrhoids,’’she said.
Anthony further said that haemorrhoids could also be caused by sitting on the toilet for a long time, carrying heavy items, being overweight, having diarrhoea and constipation.
“Those ones that occur in the rectum are called internal haemorrhoids, while those which occur around the anus are called external haemorrhoids.”
Anthony said that symptoms are usually swollen, painful and bleeding rectum, causing a feeling of pressure.
She said that there could be the possibility that pile could affect about 50 per cent of men before they reach the age of 50 years.
“You might notice a streak of blood on the outside of your stool or on the toilet paper when you wipe your bottom or splashes of blood on the toilet bowl,’’ Anthony said.
She said that there could also be a feeling of discomfort when cleaning up after passing stool, hence the need to avoid the use of toilet tissues, but the constant use of water for cleaning oneself.
Highlighting the causes of haemorrhoids in pregnancy, she said that the process of childbirth and the increased pressure of the weight of the baby on the child in the anal area could trigger it, stressing that it naturally dissolves after delivery of the baby.
The doctor advised that it was important for people to avoid straining while passing stool, as increased pressure on the rectum could lead to inflammation of the haemorrhoids.
She added that people should be aware that they should pass stool immediately nature calls, not delaying it till some other time, as such could also make the stool to be hard.
Anthony said that most haemorrhoids were manageable, stressing that it was only in severe cases that surgery could be considered. (NAN)