Turns out the story that only members of the senior population get haemorrhoids is not true.
Haemorrhoids are not age-exclusive
If you’ve ever heard someone say, “Only old people get haemorrhoids” and actually believed it, we’re sorry to burst your bubble.
Sure, old age is a risk factor for haemorrhoids. The older we get, the weaker the tissues inside and surrounding our anus become. But that doesn’t mean that younger people are immune to having these painful, swollen veins. Haemorrhoids (also known as piles) can develop in 20 and 30 year olds too.
Why younger people get haemorrhoids
So if the tissues in and around the anus of 20 year olds are still strong, why do some of them still get haemorrhoids?
Younger adults are not exempted from one of the most common causes of haemorrhoids: constipation.
Straining whenever you make a bowel movement puts a lot of pressure on the veins in your anus. If you have a habit of straining every time you make a poo, there’s a high chance that you’ll develop haemorrhoids sooner than later.
If you have been constipated for around two weeks or more, it’s best to seek medical help immediately. Your doctor or gastroenterologist can help you determine which of the following factors may be causing your constipation, and prescribe the most appropriate treatment:
- Unbalanced diet. If your diet is made up mostly of fast foods, processed foods, and meats, your doctor will most likely recommend making some changes. Adding more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your diet will soften your stool and help you pass them out of your body with ease.
- Low water intake. Your stool can be very difficult to pass if you are drinking less than eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Drinking more water can make them softer and easier to excrete.
- Sedentary lifestyle. If the only exercise you do every day is walking from your bed to the couch and back, then you’re signing yourself up for some painful toilet breaks.
- Poor stress management. Ever heard of the gut-brain axis connection? If you are dealing with challenges at home, at work, or other major life changes, your body may respond by releasing stress hormones, wreaking havoc on your digestive system’s natural processes as a result.
2. Skipping toilet breaks
Have you ever been so focused on finishing your task at work or performing any other activity that you ended up ignoring the urge to go to the toilet? It’s great to be dedicated and driven at work, but ignoring the urge (or treating it like it’s a distraction) is a mistake because it will make it difficult for you to pass later on. Your body knows when is the best time to rid itself of waste. Make sure you listen to it.
3. Side effects of medications
All medications have side effects. Unfortunately, some of them can increase your likelihood for constipation. If you are taking antidepressants, iron supplements, opioid pain relievers, and calcium channel blockers, you may notice that your stool becomes more difficult to pass. If you need to take these medications for an extended period of time, you may want to ask your doctor on how you can counter this side effect so you can lower your risk of having haemorrhoids.
4. Irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C)
Younger adults with constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome experience episodes of constipation more often than their peers who don’t have this type of IBS. A higher frequency of constipation puts you at a higher risk for developing haemorrhoids.
If you’re a female in your 20s and expecting a baby, you have a higher risk for having haemorrhoids. The increasing weight of the baby in your uterus puts additional pressure on the stomach and leads to swollen veins that result in haemorrhoids.
Haemorrhoids can strike anyone
Many young people think that they are invincible. But the reality is that they are equally susceptible to health conditions like haemorrhoids as older people. This is particularly true if they have an unhealthy lifestyle and poor toilet habits.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you will never develop haemorrhoids because you are young. Remember, your lifestyle, current health condition, and toilet habits all have an impact on your bowel health, regardless of how young or old you are.
We’re here to help you with your haemorrhoids
Got haemorrhoids? We’ve got the expertise to help you deal with them. Schedule an appointment now with our dietitians and nutritionists by calling us at (07) 3071 7405.