This pain in the butt (pun intended) affliction is actually destroying my quality of life, never mind my sex life! I hope you don’t suffer from hemorrhoids, but if you do, feel free to commiserate with me.
- Yep, they’re as awful as you’d imagine. Hemorrhoids are basically enlarged blood vessels that develop around your rectum. Sometimes they’re on the inside of your rectum and sometimes they’re external. Yes, you can see them if you can get a mirror up there—I’ve tried. They kind of look like purple grapes that are attached to the opening of your butt. Have I grossed you out enough yet?
- How do you get them? There doesn’t seem to be conclusive information as to what causes hemorrhoids or why some people are more prone to them than others. What doctors do know is that they’re usually the result of increased pressure around that area. This is why they’re often associated with pregnant women when constipation is rife. There’s also an old wives tale my mother used to tell me about not sitting on cold ground as that gives you hemorrhoids. That might be totally untrue, but I avoid sitting on cold surfaces just in case (and that still hasn’t helped me).
- Having a constantly itchy butt doesn’t feel very sexy. I can deal with the discomfort, I can even deal with the pain (mostly), but the itchiness is what really gets me down. It affects my mood greatly and when I’ve had a bad dose of them, I tend to snap at everyone around me. It’s very hard to feel normal let alone sexy when your butt is twitching constantly. It’s not like I can have a quick scratch and I’m fine again either—that would be too easy. They get itchier the more you scratch them and to be quite frank, there’s no discreet way to scratch hemorrhoids that are literally inside you. Yuck! Don’t worry, I always wash my hands!
- I definitely thought I was dying the first time I got them. We all know that if you find blood in your stools, it’s not a good sign. I was taught that at a very young age. Blood in your stool most likely equals something awful, or so I thought. What I didn’t know is that there’s a difference between blood that you’ve passed and bright, fresh blood on the toilet paper. Thankfully my doctor is wonderful and didn’t make me feel too stupid for running to her out of hours thinking I had cancer. The rule of thumb is if it’s bright red, it could any number of non-life threatening things, so don’t panic!
- I’m too embarrassed to tell my partner exactly what they are. A lot of people get hemorrhoids and don’t even know they have them. Often they’re symptomless and disappear by themselves. Well, great for all of you! I’m sure my partner has had them in the past but he doesn’t really know what I go through when they flare up—and I’m not exactly forthcoming about my itchy, inflamed butt for obvious reasons.
- They’re so sore that I have to sit down. A lot. Just when I get into an exercising routine, here comes another hemorrhoid. Even walking a short distance can be excruciating, especially when it’s hot. As you can imagine, trying to get things done in life can be very difficult when you feel like you have to sit down every 10 minutes. It’s one thing when I’m on my own, but try explaining that to a group of people you barely know. Not fun, I can tell you.
- A shower before bed is my best friend. One thing I’ve found solace in is a good shower before bed. Such is the life of apartment living, I don’t have a bath. Baths with Epsom salts or even just regular salt works wonders for soothing that area, but I don’t have that option so directing the shower head in such a way that it reaches that part of my body is the best solution I have.
- Definitely don’t use random creams in your drawer. I made this mistake. Instead of going to the pharmacy and being a brave girl, I decided I didn’t need hemorrhoid-specific cream. I used three different topical ointments and actually made it worse! Don’t skimp for fear of embarrassment; it’s a really common problem and your pharmacist or doctor honestly won’t care or make you feel awkward. The sooner you get the right treatment, the sooner they’ll go away.
- It’s just another part of getting older. Unfortunately, it seems like hemorrhoids are part of getting older and something most of us will have to deal with at some point. Treat them properly and the experience will probably still be awful, but at least they’ll clear up sooner rather than later.