Sports fans have been staying up until the early morning hours to watch FIFA World Cup soccer matches, but doctors warned that, together with bad eating habits, this might lead to hemorrhoids.
Lai Huang-jen (賴煌仁), a colorectal surgeon at the Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital in Hualien, said he recently treated a 50-year-old man who stayed up late to watch the World Cup games, during which he ate a carton of lychees in one sitting.
That caused his hemorrhoid condition to flare up, Lai said, adding that they were “so painful that the patient could not sit down or stand up. He had to be treated surgically, so his life could get back to normal.”
Most people think hemorrhoids occur mostly in people with chronic constipation, but an upset stomach leading to frequent bouts of diarrhea may also cause the condition.
“Other factors, such as sitting on the toilet for too long, remaining in a fixed position at work or at home, swelling or pressure in the abdomen for pregnant women, irregular daily habits and an unhealthy diet can all lead to hemorrhoids,” Lai said.
Shen Hsuan-shu (沈炫樞), a physician in the hospital’s Chinese medicine department, said that on hot summer days, people like to either eat fruit to cool down, or hot, spicy dishes to stimulate their appetites.
“However, certain summer fruits such as lychees and durian, as well as spicy food, will lead to ‘fire in the belly and heat in the body.’ So these foods not only fail to cool you down and expel toxins from the body, but can lead to constipation, an upset stomach and diarrhea due to overstimulation. In people with hemorrhoids, the condition can flare up and worsen,” Shen said.
To cool down and get relief from the summer heat, he suggested that people drink chrysanthemum tea and sip soups made with mung beans or pearl barley, and avoid eating excessive portions.
Lai advised people not to stay up late, to avoid alcohol, drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet, including more foods that are high in dietary fiber.
“All these strategies can help you maintain regular bowel movements and lower the risk of hemorrhoids,” he said.
“Also, the initial phase of tumors in the colorectal area can cause symptoms similar to those of hemorrhoids. We urge the public to see a doctor immediately if they find blood in their feces or experience chronic constipation. It is important to pay attention to these warning signs from your body,” he added.
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