Did you know the emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte, suffered from hemorrhoids on the day of the decisive battle at Waterloo? Reports say he was in severe pain which affected the way he conducted himself on the battlefield.
Today Napoleon would have not been alone in his struggle. 50% of North Americans will experience hemorrhoids before they’re 50. They occur most often in people who are overweight, pregnant, or older. If you regularly hold back from using the restroom or sit for long periods of time, you’re more likely to develop them, too.
We now know to minimize the irritating, painful, and disruptive symptoms of hemorrhoids, fiber is your friend. Your body needs a healthy amount of soluble and insoluble fiber to maintain bowel health. But when it comes to what we should avoid to prevent hemorrhoids, it isn’t all that clear.
Many myths about what causes hemorrhoids have come about over the years. That’s why today, we’re going to cover a few you may have heard of.
MYTH #1: Spicy Foods Cause Hemorrhoids
Spicy foods have been always thought to aggravate your digestion, causing diarrhea or constipation, and anal itching…intensifying the discomfort of your hemorrhoids. This, as it turns out, is not exactly true.
Cayenne pepper actually helps in increasing overall circulation of blood in your body, so more essential nutrients become available to blood vessels and tissues and increases the elasticity of your blood vessels.
MYTH #2: Sitting on Cold Surfaces Cause Hemorrhoids
While it hasn’t been studied extensively, there’s no evidence that cold surfaces can cause hemorrhoids.
Keep in mind, sitting on the toilet for a long time can cause hemorrhoids. Avoid distractions, like reading material or your phone, that can make you lose track of time while you’re in the bathroom.
MYTH #3: Hemorrhoids Increase the Risk of Cancer
There’s no evidence that hemorrhoids increase the risk of cancer. Hemorrhoids don't cause or increase your risk for colon or rectal cancer. However, the two conditions may be mistaken for one another because they can produce similar symptoms, such as rectal bleeding, itching, and pain.
The only concern with hemorrhoids is that people with a history of hemorrhoids can sometimes be dismissive of having bleeding with bowel movements and miss the warning signs.
Just make sure you share this information with your doctor.
There you have it. A few common myths you may have heard of or thought caused hemorrhoids. Feel free to share this with your friends and family that may be suffering from painful hemorrhoids and worry it may be because of one of these myths listed above.