Hemorrhoids are a very common condition; especially in America where half the population will experience them by the time they turn 50. So exactly what are hemorrhoids? They are swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum, and while they affect men and women, men have an increased risk of developing them.
Hemorrhoids are painful and irritating, and they can make everyday life quite uncomfortable. How long a hemorrhoid takes to heal on its own depends on a few different factors.Thankfully, there are a number of hemorrhoids home remedies you can use to treat them naturally.
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
Age and pregnancy can also play a role in the development of hemorrhoids, as people above 50 are at a higher risk, and the presence of a fetus can put pressure on woman’s abdomen. Occurring both inside and outside of the anus, hemorrhoids are also caused by:
- Chronic diarrhea
- Chronic constipation
- Straining to complete a bowel movement
- Sitting for long periods (especially on the toilet)
- Anal intercourse
- Genetics (some people are predisposed to hemorrhoids)
There are a number of uncomfortable symptoms associated with hemorrhoids, including:
- Bleeding (usually painless; you’ll notice blood spots on toilet paper or in the bowl)
- Itching, irritation, or swelling in and around the anus
- Discomfort and pain in the anal region
- A lump near the anus that can sometimes be sensitive or painful
- Unexpected fecal leakage
If you’re experiencing hemorrhoids, it’s best to look into treatment as soon as possible; the longer you leave them, the worse they will get. Here are 10 natural home remedies for hemorrhoids you can use to get quick relief from this irritating and painful condition.
10 Natural Ways to Treat Hemorrhoids at Home
1. Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is one of the best natural remedies around for a variety of ailments, and the same is true when it comes to hemorrhoid treatment. Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and dab it on the affected area. You can do it a few times a day until the symptoms disappear, typically taking a few days. You can also sit in a sitz bath, and add half a cup of apple cider vinegar to it.
2. Rutin: This nutrient is found in a number of plants including oranges, grapefruit, lemon, cranberries, asparagus, and buckwheat, though you can purchase it as a supplement. Take 500 mg twice per day to relieve the symptoms and eliminate the hemorrhoids in about a week.
3. Coconut Oil: You can apply coconut oil directly to your hemorrhoids to offer relief from the itch and irritation. Softly rub it on with your hand or a cotton ball, rinse, and repeat. You should notice improvement within a few days.
4. Triphala: This is a traditional Ayurvedic remedy, found in health food stores as a supplement. This remedy can help regulate bowel movements and make them easier to pass, thus relieving hemorrhoid-causing pressure on the rectum and anus.
5. Aloe Vera: If you can handle the taste, taking a teaspoon of straight liquid aloe vera after meals can aid hemorrhoids by improving digestion. For soothing relief from the irritation of hemorrhoids and to promote healing, you can apply aloe vera to the affected area frequently.
6. Cold Compress/Ice Pack: Although it might be a little uncomfortable, it’s probably a walk in the park compared to the pain and irritation of a hemorrhoid. Applying an ice pack or cold compress to the area can relieve swelling and irritation.
7. Warm Bath: Taking a warm sitz bath can help relieve hemorrhoids by increasing blood flow to promote healing. Soak it for 10–15 minutes, two or three times per day to help relieve the pain and shrink the size.
8. Witch Hazel: The extract of this plant can be used as a natural remedy for hemorrhoids. A traditional healer for skin irritation, witch hazel can be applied directly to the affected area to relieve itching, discomfort, irritation, and burning. The most effective form is the extract, witch hazel water, which can be absorbed into toilet paper or a cotton ball for dabbing if you’d like.
9. Squat: One of the major causes of hemorrhoids—and likely why they are very common in America—is sitting on the toilet. The seated position puts a lot of pressure on the rectum and anus, leading to swollen and inflamed veins. When you squat to go to the bathroom, this pressure is relieved. If you’re not tall enough—or comfortable enough—to squat over your toilet, there are attachments you can buy to assist in the process. You can also put risers on the floor around the toilet to make squatting easier. It is, perhaps, unconventional, but it can make a major difference.
10. Eat More Fiber: Hemorrhoids are often caused by having difficulty defecating, so eating more fiber can help relieve the pressure. Fiber, found in large amounts in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, can help soften stool and move it more easily through your digestive system, which will help get rid of hemorrhoids and help prevent them from returning.
Hemorrhoid Prevention Tips
Preventing hemorrhoids is actually the best way to treat them. Like anything, reducing the risk is far better than dealing with the condition—investing now can pay off later.
One of the best hemorrhoid home treatments you can do is to improve your diet. Eating fruits like apples, pears, and berries are all high in fiber that can help your digestive system function optimally. Flaxseed, legumes, beans, whole grains and virtually every vegetable will boost your fiber intake, so make sure you’re getting about 30 grams per day. You should also consider using a psyllium supplement or cereal such as Metamucil or All Bran, respectively.
Drinking enough fluids—like eight glasses of water per day—can also help soften stool so it moves easier through your digestive system. At the end of the day, the less you have to push, the smaller your chances of developing hemorrhoids.
Listening to your body is also an important preventative mechanism. When you feel like you have to go to the bathroom, go; don’t hold it. The pressure you’re creating can increase the likelihood of hemorrhoids, not to mention it can dry out the stool and make it harder to pass.
Lastly, avoid sitting for too long. This is of course true when you’re on a toilet seat—so leave the magazine or newspaper on the table. Ideally you want do your business as quickly as possible. But this also goes for how you spend the rest of your time. Activity can help make bowel movements easier, so try to go for a little walk once an hour or so, or at least stand up. If you can, try to add an additional 20–30 minutes of uninterrupted activity to your life every day!
Sources for Today’s Article:
“Hemorrhoids,” Mayo Clinic web site, June 19, 2013; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hemorrhoids/basics/prevention/con-20029852, last accessed February 23, 2016.
Weil, A., “Hemorrhoids Treatment,” Dr. Weil web site, 2016; http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03032/Hemorrhoids.html, last accessed February 23, 2016.
Barrett, M., “Home Remedies for Hemorrhoids—6 Natural Treatments,” Natural Society web site, February 19, 2013; http://naturalsociety.com/home-remedies-for-hemorrhoids-6-natural-treatments/, last accessed February 23, 2016.
“Witch Hazel,” Web MD, 2016;http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-227-witch%20hazel.aspx, last accessed February 23, 2016.