Constipation side effects, including haemorrhoids

• What are the side effects of constipation?

Haemorrhoids can be a side effect of constipation – enlarged blood vessels found inside or around the rectum and anus. Other complications can include torn skin in the anus (anal fissure), a stool that gets stuck (faecal impaction) or an intestine that protrudes from the anus (rectal prolapse). Consult a doctor if you feel you have any of these complications.

• Constipation and haemorrhoids

Constipation puts pressure on the rectal area as the patient tries to pass a stool. The pressure causes blood to build up and haemorrhoids can develop.

Haemorrhoids is a surprisingly common condition, affecting about 30% of the population and one in two women after childbirth (postpartum haemorrhoids).

Haemorrhoids come in four stages. Stage one occurs when the blood vessels grow where they are. They may come out of the anus but tend to go back on their own. A stage four haemorrhoidal disease is when the enlarged blood vessel comes out of the anus. A haemorrhoid can come to a crisis point if the veins become clogged, causing significant swelling and pain.

Pregnancy puts pressure on the rectum and can lead to constipation and haemorrhoids. In early pregnancy, an increase in the hormone progesterone can prevent smooth muscle contractions, leading to a slowing of transit.

During the third trimester, the growing foetus can compress the colon also making transit difficult. In this case, it is essential to speak to a medical professional about treatment, as many laxative products are not advised for pregnant women.

• How to treat haemorrhoids caused by constipation

Consult your doctor on the best treatment. Depending on the stage of the haemorrhoidal disease solutions may involve medication, creams or in more severe cases, a surgical procedure.

Alternatively, laxatives may be advised to prevent constipation from returning. OptiFibre® can provide a boost of fibre to ensure the digestive system returns to its normal state.

• How to avoid haemorrhoids from constipation

The best way to avoid haemorrhoids is to prevent constipation in the first place. A diet rich in fibre will promote good digestive health. Fibre-rich foods include fruit (prunes, banana, cherries, figs, grapes, kiwi, apples), green vegetables and legumes (beans, peas). Cereals including brans, oats and linseed also assist intestinal transit.

Drink plenty of water, at least 1.5 litres per day.

OptiFibre® can help in the short and long term to keep constipation at bay. The odourless powder can be stirred into hot or cold drinks, or mixed with food such as soup or yogurt .

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