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Tips to avoiding hemorrhoids

Sep. 08, 2012 @ 12:30 AM

If you've experienced one, you may suspect what the subject of Edvard Munch's painting "The Scream" was really reacting to: his first hemorrhoid. These painful and persistent intruders pop up (and out) of your rectum when you have chronic constipation; excess pressure on the lower intestines (they plague pregnant women and the obese); inflammatory digestive problems; or if you sit too much. They bleed (seeing red spots on your toilet paper is common), sometimes they clot, and they can trigger itching and embarrassment. About 75 percent of you will get them, commonly between the ages of 45 and 65. Most of the time, you can prevent or remedy them with lifestyle changes.

To avoid them or get relief:

1. Drink plenty of water. You may not need 64 ounces a day (you get moisture from food) if you're not sweating a lot, but water helps keep stools soft.

2. Increase your fiber intake to 30 or more grams a day: That equals 1/2 cup of navy beans, 1/2 cup of raspberries, 1/2 cup of mixed vegetables, 1 pear, 1/2 cup of brown rice and 1 medium zucchini.

3. Get active for 30 minutes most days.

4. Don't strain when you go. Fiber supplements with psyllium husks (Metamucil) help. We both put it in our green drinks before each meal.

5. If you need treatment, a device is coming to the market that makes getting rid of these much less painful: Ask your doc about HET bipolar ligator. (We helped develop this, and it's a major reducer of pain in the, well, you know what.)

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www.RealAge.com.

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