Natural treatments for hemorrhoids are readily available at your local health food store, pharmacy, online, or even in your cupboards. They can help relieve the pain and irritation that has you feeling itchy where you donât want to itch, as well as serious pain and pressure every time you sit down for a bowel movement.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen or irritated veins located around the anus or towards the lower part of the rectum. There are two typesâexternal and internal.
Internal hemorrhoids develop towards the lower part of the rectum. This type can be a little harder to diagnose because they are not visible and donât have any of the irritating or painful physical symptoms that are common with external hemorrhoids. That said, it doesnât mean they are asymptomatic, as internal hemorrhoids are one of the most common causes of blood in the stool.
External hemorrhoids are the ones everybody hates, but they can be easily treated with home remedies. They cause that burning, itching sensation when youâre just sitting around trying to enjoy yourself, and create that uncomfortable burning pressure when youâre on the toilet.
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are not the result of a bacterial infection or something thatâs inherently wrong with you. In fact, itâs quite possible you can control them by adopting certain lifestyle changes or being a little more conscious of your bathroom behavior.
For the most part, hemorrhoids are a result of the following:
- Straining during bowel movements
- Sitting for extended periods of time
- Regular constipation
- Tight anal canal
Hemorrhoids can also be the result of chronic conditions including a high-stress lifestyle, obesity, and chronic constipation.
What Are the Symptoms of Hemorrhoids?
External hemorrhoids have a variety of uncomfortable symptoms that can affect you including:
- Irritation or pain around the anus
- Extreme itchiness or burning sensation around the anus
- Difficulty or pain while sitting
- Painful and irritated lumps near or around the anus
- Painful bowel movements
- Leaky bowel
As mentioned, symptoms are less common in internal hemorrhoids. They are virtually non-existent, except for the presence of blood in the stool.
Are Hemorrhoids Dangerous?
Hemorrhoids are not inherently dangerous, and having them is not a severe risk factor for a larger health problem. However, in some cases, they may be the result of a chronic issue.
If youâre healthy overall and find yourself with some irritation in the anus, it could very well be hemorrhoids. You can treat them with the home remedies weâll mention momentarily and be on your way. However, if they return, there may be a few lifestyle factors worth examining.
The first is diet. Fiber intake is a key player in hemorrhoid prevention. Getting about 38 grams (g) of fiber per day can help soften stool, which makes it much easier to pass through your intestines. The easier stool moves through you, the less you have to push, thus lowering your risk of hemorrhoids.
You can also drink more water. Drinking about eight glasses per day can also help soften stool to make bowel movements easier.
Stress levels can also play a huge role in susceptibility to hemorrhoids, so finding ways to lower stress can a have an impact on the frequency. Getting better sleep, improving diet, and increasing activity can all help reduce stress and hemorrhoid risk.
Home Remedies for Hemorrhoids
There are several ways you can treat hemorrhoids at home. And, by sticking to a good treatment regimen, they should clear up within a couple of weeks.
1. Warm Bath
Sitting in a bathtub of warm water thatâs filled just enough to cover your legs can help reduce the swelling and limit the irritation associated with external hemorrhoids. You can add Epsom salts or a half-cup of apple cider vinegar to the water, too. Sit in the tub for about 20 minutes two or three times per day for the best results.
2. Witch Hazel
Applying witch hazel to the area can relieve many of the symptoms if itâs dabbed onto the area with a cotton ball. Witch hazel is a readily available natural astringent that can cause hemorrhoid tissues to shrink, while also being rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to control symptoms.
Applying witch hazel does take some care. Ensure itâs not diluted with alcohol. If it is, it can increase dryness and accentuate the pain.
You also donât want to use too much because it can lead to irritation. Get the right amount by simply adding a couple of drops to a cotton ball and dab it lightly on the affected area.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer that can help tame the irritating symptoms of hemorrhoids. Applying it can help reduce the urge to scratch, while potentially limiting irritation and swelling.
4. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a well-known home remedy thatâs often used for its anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties. Applying it to hemorrhoids may offer relief from burning, itchiness, and swelling.
When selecting aloe vera, itâs important to take purity into consideration. Check with your local health store for some of the pure stuff, because most of the creams found in your pharmacy will likely be filled up with chemicals and other additives that reduce the medicinal properties of the aloe.
5. Ice Packs
Ice packs are probably the fastest and most easily accessible relief for hemorrhoid irritation. To relieve the pain and irritation associated with hemorrhoids, wrap an ice pack in a towel and sit on it for about 20 minutes. Although this wonât cure the condition, it will certainly offer some short-term relief both during and after application.
What If You Still Canât Get Rid Hemorrhoids?
If the natural methods arenât working, there are still plenty of options. You can go to your doctor to have the situation assessed, or you can head to the pharmacy and choose any of the available creams they have.
Lifestyle choices are the best option if you want to reduce the risk of hemorrhoids and prevent recurring flare-ups. Increasing your fruit, vegetable, and whole grain intake can help, so can spending more time moving and being active.
If you have a desk job, get up for about 10 minutes each hour and stand, walk to the bathroom, or pretend you have something important to tend to away from your desk. Loose fitting clothing that doesnât restrict blood flow is also beneficial, as is finding ways like mindfulness and better sleep patterns to reduce stress.
Johnson, J., âSix home remedies for hemorrhoids,â Medical News Today, April 25, 2017; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317114.php, last accessed May 15, 2017.
âHemorrhoids and what to do about themâ Harvard Medical School, January 27, 2016; http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and conditions/hemorrhoids_and_what_to_do_about_them, last accessed May 15, 2017.