When it comes to hemorrhoids and wiping, “Are you wiping too much?” is a question you ask yourself when your symptoms seem to be getting worse. And yes, you may be wiping excessively if you experience more pain during the act or there’s persistent bleeding afterward.
However, hemorrhoids can cause pain and mild traces of blood even without any wiping or contact. Understanding what caused the bleeding may help you differentiate between wiping-caused blood and normal hemorrhoidal discharge.
As someone who has struggled with hemorrhoids most of his life (and recovered), I’ll share all there’s to know based on my experiences.
Can wiping cause hemorrhoids?
Wiping alone does not cause hemorrhoids. If you’ve developed hemorrhoids, it’s most probably because of lifestyle influences and dietary problems. Wiping after going to the bathroom will not lead to hemorrhoids.
Common reasons why people develop hemorrhoids are:
- Excessive straining when sitting on the toilet. Hard bowel movements put extra pressure on your lower intestines and rectal tissue. Continued pressure on the rectum remains the leading cause of hemorrhoids.
- Chronic constipation is another reason why people develop hemorrhoids. A stool that’s unable to pass will press against the rectal tissue and cause inflammation.
- Chronic diarrhea can lead to hemorrhoids, too, because of excessive bowel movements.
- Pregnancy also puts a heavier weight on the lower abdomen leading to hemorrhoids before, during, or even after delivery (Learn how to manage hemorrhoids when pregnant).
- Poor hydration and lack of fiber in your diet also increase the risk of hemorrhoids owing to harder stools and more exertion on the toilet.
So, hemorrhoids develop due to habits and actions that increase the pressure directed toward your lower abdomen and rectum. While wiping is not a direct cause, it can lead to aggravation of existing hemorrhoids.
Can wiping too hard cause irritation?
Yes. Too much wiping will lead to a variety of unpleasant symptoms for your hemorrhoids, including irritation.
The outer anal skin and tissue are delicate parts of the body. So, hard wiping can cause discomfort even if you don’t have hemorrhoids. The risk of discomfort increases if you have external hemorrhoids. And the pain will be more pronounced if your hemorrhoids have prolapsed (protruded out of the anus).
Many people without hemorrhoids struggle with anal fissures because of hard wiping. It’s a problem that can grow from discomfort to considerable pain if you’re not careful.
The choice of toilet paper also matters here. I’ve used ultra-soft toilet paper for all my bathroom needs since my first experience with hemorrhoids. And I can tell you that it makes a world of difference. For one, you avoid unnecessary irritation and mild bruising. Secondly, wiping is a more comfortable and pleasant experience altogether.
Can wiping too hard cause hemorrhoids to bleed?
Yes. Wiping too hard may lead to bruises or fissures in your hemorrhoids and result in bleeding.
Hemorrhoids cause your anal tissues to become more sensitive. That’s because there are swollen tissues straining your anal walls and rectum. Parts of the swollen tissues may also stick out of the anus, making them more vulnerable to ruptures. Also, passing stool may leave these tissues more strained and aggravated even before you begin wiping. Wiping with excessive force can bruise the swollen bits and cause bleeding.
However, you should also remember that occasional bleeding can be a normal effect of hemorrhoids. Hard stool passing through can cause abrasions in the rectum. Alternatively, excessive hemorrhoidal inflammation can pop and lead to bleeding too. So, don’t assume that wiping is the sole cause of hemorrhoidal bleeding.
You can make small changes in your diet and lifestyle to prevent bleeding from other causes. For instance, timely and proper hydration will help prevent constipation and promote regular bowel movements. High-fiber foods will also help digestion and keep stools soft. You can also take stool softeners (with your doctor’s permission) to avoid unnecessary bleeding during or after your visits to the toilet.
Can I use wet wipes to wipe my bum?
You can use medicated wet wipes that are recommended for hemorrhoids.
Be careful not to jump on any wet wipes available in the market. Some wet wipes are meant for outdoor use. These wipes may not be flushable and can lead to clogging or choking your toilet. Hemorrhoidal problems are hard enough without a clogged toilet adding to your woes.
For best results, go for medical wet wipes laced with witch hazel or aloe-infused surfaces. Witch hazel has a bunch of qualities, including anti-inflammatory properties, healing capabilities, and soothing effects that work well for hemorrhoidal symptoms. Aloe, on the other hand, refreshes and soothes the skin around the anus in addition to serving as a more hygienic alternative to other forms of wiping.
Also, these medicated wipes are softer and gentler on your bum. So, you get more comfortable wiping in addition to the healing qualities they deliver.
How to clean your bum without toilet paper
The best alternatives to traditional toilet paper are wet wipes and medical wipes. These wipes are made of more comfortable materials and allow better cleaning compared to dry toilet paper. So, you can enjoy more hygienic wiping and a more pleasant wiping experience if you switch to these modern alternatives.
However, the additional softness and comfort come at a cost. These wipes are more expensive compared to conventional toilet paper. So, if you’re out to save money on groceries and supplies, stick to your trusted two-ply or three-ply options.
Another option is getting a bidet installed. Most people in the Arab world are using water-only to clean their bum, and what’s better than water right? Anther example is Japan. Nearly every household has these super modern auto-bidets installed that offer thorough and hygienic cleaning.
Hemorrhoidal bleeding can be mild and heal on its own. However, some bleeding may have serious causes or repercussions if not addressed properly. Seek your personal physician’s advice if you have any concerns about hemorrhoidal symptoms or if bleeding persists beyond the ordinary.
Practice gentle wiping to avoid aggravating your hemorrhoids and prevent unnecessary bleeding.
Learn more about hemorrhoidal bleeding and practical tips on how to prevent it at home.