Do Stool Softeners Help Relieve Hemorrhoids?

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD

The Good.

Good and the bad. First the good. Hemorrhoids are normal part of our anatomy.  Everyone has them.  Even animals have them.  What are they?  Hemorrhoids are veins.  They return blood to the heart.  They exist in every square inch of our bodies.  In the anal area, they surround the anal canal and ease the passage of our stool, our bodily wastes, through the anal opening.  So far, so good; good as long as our stools are soft and everything “down there” is working orderly.  Occasionally however, we need to see a proctologist when things “down there” are not so good.

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Now, the not so good.  The Proctologist Can Help.

When our hemorrhoidal veins dilate, when they enlarge, they stretch.  Then, the lining over them stretches.  This can lead to mild, barely noticeable symptoms.  Or, the stretching can lead to a never-ending set of complaints.  To name a few: bleeding, itching, pain, a mucus discharge.  There are more.  These symptoms can be a source of consternation and disruption for our busy lives in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills or Culver City.

The symptoms can be bad enough to cause us to visit a proctologist, most commonly known as a colon and rectal surgeon or specialist.  A rapid diagnosis made by someone knowledgeable, will send us on our way feeling better mentally and physically.  Relief of mind and body.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

But, they say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  And this may be true with hemorrhoids.  While there may be many causes for these often pesky hemorrhoids, some known and many unknown, one cause in particular stands out.  The dreaded hard bowel movement.  No single cause of symptomatic hemorrhoidal disease stands has been conclusively proven.  But, it is believed that hard bowel movements may be a leading culprit.  A hard b.m. leads to straining on the toilet, prolonged sitting and, eventually the development of  enlarged anal veins known as hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoids may be prevented, or at least have their symptoms lessened by drinking plenty of water each day and taking an occasional stool softener if necessary.  A softener, not a laxative.  Softeners work by drawing normal body water into the stool, allowing for a soft, “fluffy” bowel movement.  Any over the counter preparation will do.  Some contain synthetics such as methyl cellulose.  Others contain fiber.  No matter your choice of softener, the occasional hard stool can be helped with a stool softener and an adequate daily water intake.  Laxative use should be avoided.  Regular use may cause dependence on the laxative and you may find it difficult to have a b.m. without a laxative.

Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates

If you find that you are tempted to begin laxative use, visit one of the surgical specialists at Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Culver City.  Each of the physicians is board certified and will be able to gently examine you in order to advise you as to how to avoid hemorrhoidal disease or how to deal with the problem if you have developed hemorrhoids.  A phone call will begin the confidential visit, and you may be on your way to a hemorrhoid-free life.  (310)273-2310.

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