Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Lindey
The size and consistency of one’s bowel movement may affect and predict a host of health issues, including hemorrhoids as pressure backs up blood flow into the veins around the anus. Abdominal pressure caused by overexertion in the bathroom can also push part of the stomach up above the diaphragm, known as hiatal hernia. It may cause herniations in the wall of the colon itself (diverticulosis), or it can push blood flow back into the legs, resulting in varicose veins.
Bowel Movement Frequency and Hemorrhoids
These issues are rare in rural African populations eating traditional plant-based diets (such as beans and corn) who pass a bulky stool two or three times a day. White South Africans and black and white Americans not only have more than 50 times the heart disease (the #1 killer of Americans), 10 times more colon cancer, and more than 50 times more gallstones and appendicitis (the #1 cause of emergency abdominal surgery), but also more than 25 times the rates of so-called “pressure diseases,” including hemorrhoids.
Frequency of bowel movements also plays a part in one’s health. Being vegetarian, especially vegan, is strongly associated with a higher frequency of bowel movements. Vegetarians also have a lower prevalence of allergies, coronary artery disease, strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes, diverticulosis, and diseases overall.
The fiber in whole plant foods is about more than just reducing the risk for the #1 and #2 killers of Americans—cardiovascular disease and cancer. Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complaint in the United States, leading to millions of doctor visits every year. More than just the discomfort, constipation can increase risk for hiatal hernia, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids.
Chamomile is a powerful anti-inflammatory medicinal plant which may be beneficial in treating hemorrhoids, as well as other diseases.
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