CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGETreatment Phase 1: Sitz Baths
Enter my divorce, stage left. My divorce was fairly quick, but like all divorces it had a great deal of stress associated with it. This also happened during the winter, when things here were soggy and miserable and generally not conducive to running, my mode of exercise. And to make for a perfect storm, the stress of divorce led me to neglect my diet and water intake. The hemorrhoids came roaring in with a vengeance - much worse than before, because stress apparently exacerbates hemorrhoids.
I found myself in great pain, and eager for it to go away. I saw my primary care physician, who recommended ibuprofen and "sitz baths". A sitze bath is basically Epsom salt and hot water, and you sit in it for 15 minutes or so, several times a day. I don't know about you, but I don't find it easy to strip naked and plop down in the tub for 15 minutes, 3 or 4 times a day, waiting for veins in my ass to stop swelling. I mean, I tried to do it, but day after day? It gets old. Also, the ibuprofen had a side effect of constipation. Constipation just makes hemorrhoids worse, so you need to counteract the ibuprofen with either increased fiber, or a laxative, or both. By this time I was downing so much Metamucil that my stomach was distended with all the fiber and fluids, but the stress and hemorrhoids just kept it all blocked in.
To make matters more enjoyable, it is very painful to sit. So I found myself lying on my stomach, laptop splayed in front of me, trying to get work done. Or on conference calls with a wireless headset, pacing around the room and generally trying not to let the pain turn me into a homicidal knowledge worker. And I am sure that I was not the best father at that time - very short tempered.