Moves in Medicine: Easing the discomfort of hemorrhoids

NORTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It's a very common problem, affecting those of all ages. But nobody wants to talk about it. Hemorrhoids.

But many don't realize that simple steps can make a big difference.

Hemorrhoids can have a lot of causes. Dr. Benjamin Krevsky, a gastroenterologist with Temple Health, says they're a real occupational hazard for people who sit too much.

"The worst hemorrhoids are in truck drivers because they sit for incredibly long periods of time without getting up," says Dr. Krevsky.

But they're also very common during pregnancy.

"If you're pregnant, you've got this big weight sitting on the area, which is cutting off the blood flow," he says.

Being overweight also raises your chances.

Dr. Krevsky says hemorrhoids develop from veins we all have.

"Think of it like a varicose vein on someone's leg. And it can get enlarged and painful," he says.

He says the first step toward relief comes at mealtime.

"Make sure that the patient is getting an adequate amount of fiber in their diet and an adequate amount of water," he says.

Fiber and fluids go a long way to making things a lot more comfortable. Standing and moving more through the day can help, too.

Colorectal surgeon Dr. Howard Ross says many people fear surgery is the next step, but that's not always true.

"It is truly something we do as a last resort," says Dr. Ross.

"There are minor procedures like the infrared light or the rubber band ligation that you recover from right away, and they make it better," says Dr. Krevsky.

And the options increase with each passing year. They urge anyone in discomfort, go to their doctor, not Dr. Google.

"There's a lot of misinformation, and then people go to the internet or they go to videos or non-proven entities," says Dr. Ross.

And Doctors Ross and Krevsky add that most over-the-counter products, like creams, don't work very well.
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