“I have hemorrhoids!”
Thank you to the hilarious Michael Scott of The Office, played by Steve Carell, for speaking out about his rather embarrassing affliction. (Although, he yelled it out in the middle of the woods where nobody can hear him.)
Upon further research, I’ve concluded that I’ve been experiencing an anal fissure. What am I? A doctor? No. How do I know this? During defecation, there’s sharp pain, and stinging afterwards, sometimes for the rest of the day. And there’s fresh blood in my stool, something that has been a childhood fear of mine, but something I’ve gotten used to with exposure.
This is a little embarrassing to talk about, but I’ve realized, after talking with colleagues and family, that it’s common. “Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who need it.” So I hope this will help others out there because I honestly thought I was going to die. There was so much malaise. A colleague said to be careful because it could become something else, like cancer. It’s a pessimistic outlook, but she’s a cancer survivor.
Pain from my anal fissure had been occurring since January 9th, the day I left for the Philippines. It occurred before that day even, but since that particular day, it hadn’t really stopped. It subsided overseas for a little while, when I had traveler’s diarrhea, but it recurred when my stool returned to normal. Even when the stool was soft, there was pain and bleeding. The last few days in the Philippines were torture and I was frightened to go to the toilet in the airport at Taipei during a 13-hour stopover because there was still stinging from the last defecation.
I kept holding off defecation because I wanted time to heal, but this was the wrong idea. When you have to go, you have to do so right away because the stool will harden when it stays too long in the rectum.
After talking with others and doing my own research online, I’ve discovered other remedies that helped. They are no-brainers.
I used to watch constipation commercials on television and snide about how people need to take pills for constipation, when, in my mind, all you have to do is drink water. (My view has since changed after my father went on dialysis and now sometimes requires pills to pass stool.) But water has been a key to (hopefully) curing my anal fissure. I don’t just drink the recommended eight glasses a day. I drink ten just to be sure. But what goes hand in hand, the most important key to my improvement, has been fiber. It has helped things move along smoothly. I bought Benefiber and drink 10 grams of fiber in the evening because my usual time to go to the toilet is in the morning. You get fiber from fruits and vegetables as well.
I researched posture while sitting on the toilet and found a Youtube video that helped. I used to perform the squat position, but squatting on the toilet made it hard to relax since it’s physically demanding. The first time I sat on the toilet with legs spread wide, torso hunched forward, and myself humming deeply, the first time I defecated pain-free for the first time in a month. Thank God. No more planning to go see a doctor.
My manager gave me additional advice so it’s best to open up because there might be some good advice to be heard. She drinks warm water (not hot, not cold) in the morning with her coffee. From my understanding, the warm water in the morning provides a boost for the digestive system and the coffee serves as a laxative. She also convinced me to change. You have to make changes in your life to get better.
What else? I said you have to go right away when you feel like it to prevent stool from hardening in the rectum, to drink water, to get enough fiber, and to find a posture on the toilet to help things open up and pass smoothly. So what else?
Consistency. If I miss one day without enough water, the pain and blood returns. No fiber leads to constipation. The pain and blood returns. Not relaxing while defecation? Pain. Blood. Returns. Ouch.
What else? I was just talking about what has worked for me, but I read exercise helps. There’s also going to a doctor. But I’m 26. I hope I don’t have to go to a doctor for this. At least not for a while. Not until I’m 50, which is the age recommended to have regular colonoscopies. I’m too young for this!
Do I have to go to the toilet now? Oh, c’mon! I’m on campus! I hate doing it in public! I think I’ll let it wait until I get home. It’s that damn fiber I chugged down last night. It wants out. Am I being disgusting? Was reading this disgusting? I’m really sorry. But this is reality. And I’m trying to help and offer advice to the world. Has it been helpful? I don’t know. It has for me! Sometimes… when I’m consistent. I’m not a spokesman for Benefiber who’s trying to sell! Well, I’m a man speaking out about how it has helped me! What am I talking about? Should I end this post now? I think I want to write more! This is my way of showing that I want to write more: when I just type away what’s at the top of my head. Okay! Enough!