When I was young, I would see all of those ads for hemorrhoid treatments, but I was totally in the dark as to what on earth they were talking about. Then, I grew up. All it took was one nasty hemorrhoid, and I quickly learned the urgent importance of all of those hemorrhoid treatment products.
Of course, the best course of treatment is to do your best to prevent hemorrhoids from occurring in the first place, but it is reassuring to know that most hemorrhoids clear up with some basic home treatments, remedies and tips.
1. Avoid Straining
It is essential to try to pass your bowel movements without holding your breath or straining. Straining increases pressure on the veins in the rectum, which will maintain or worsen the hemorrhoid that you already have.
2. Keep Stools Soft
Working to keep stools soft is not only a key strategy in preventing hemorrhoids, but it is also important in trying to relieve the problem:
- Make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids throughout your day.
- Increase your fiber intake through the use of a bulk laxative. Bulk laxatives have been shown to reduce the overall symptoms of hemorrhoids, including bleeding, pain and itching.
- Try a stool softener. Stool softeners are aptly named; they work to soften stool so that it becomes easier to pass, thus lessening any pressure or irritation on your hemorrhoid.
3. Work to Reduce Swelling
Simple home remedies can help reduce swelling and therefore the discomfort of hemorrhoids:
- Ice packs can be placed on the rectum for short periods of time (no longer than 15 minutes). Never place ice directly on your skin; use a cloth as a barrier.
- Sitz baths are a soothing solution to the discomfort of hemorrhoids. A sith bath involves soaking your rectum in warm water. It is recommended that you take one for 15 to 20 minutes, once or twice a day.
4. Keep the Area Clean
It is essential to keep your rectal area clean, particularly after bowel movements. You can use a moist towel or flushable moist wipes to gently cleanse the area. If you use wipes, use no more than one wipe per flush to avoid clogging your toilet.
5. Use OTC Creams and Suppositories
There are a wide variety of hemorrhoid treatment products available over the counter. Read labels carefully -- some products only relieve pain and itching, while others work to reduce swelling.
6. Try a Homeopathic Remedy
Although homeopaths may recommend a variety of products, there is scant research as to the effectiveness of any homeopathic remedy for hemorrhoids. The most well-known homeopathic remedy is the use of witch hazel, applied directly on the hemorrhoid. About.com's Guide to Alternative Medicine offers some other options:
Alonso-Coello, P., et.al. "Laxatives for the treatment of hemorrhoids." Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews 2005 4:CD004649.
Greenwald, D. "Common Disorders of the Anus and Rectum: Hemorrhoids and Fissures" American College of Gastroenterology Accessed November 23, 2009.
"Hemorrhoids" National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Accessed November 23, 2009.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment rendered by a licensed physician. It is essential that you discuss with your doctor any symptoms or medical problems that you may be experiencing.