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How to treat hemorrhoids at home

Updated on February 15, 2016

Best home-based hemorrhoid treatments

You CAN relieve the swelling and painful tenderness of hemorrhoids with simple at-home treatments. Natural ointments and hemorrhoid creams such as zinc oxide or petroleum jelly protect the skin by providing a protective film over the hemorrhoids, and are more affordable than costly creams and work just as well. Try using one or both to decrease the pain, reduce the "itchy" feeling, and prevent further damage.

To Use: Place a small amount of Petroleum Jelly or Zinc Oxide on a cotton ball and gently apply to the swollen area. Be sure to spread an even layer over the affected area, covering it completely. After you have applied the natural hemorrhoid cream keep the area dry and clean.

Eat More Fiber

Fiber is considered one of the most important factors to not only prevent hemorrhoids, but to also stop them from getting worse. Why? Fiber speeds up the passage of food through your digestive system and improves stool regularity. This helps to clean out your bowels and stop blockages from forming (which can cause straining, a big cause of hemorrhoids). You should consume 25-30 grams of fiber every day to maintain bowel health. Begin by eating more vegetables and whole grains to increase your daily fiber intake, and also consider fiber supplements: Psyllium and ground flaxseed are inexpensive, readily available, and easy to add to your diet. However, once you increase the amount of fiber in your diet, you have only won half the battle. Fiber attracts and absorbs fluids so you must increase your fluid intake as well. So no matter what way you choose to get more fiber make sure you drink plenty of water or constipation may worsen.

Vintage sitz bath
Vintage sitz bath | Source

Soothing sitz baths

Do you know what a sitz bath is? It is simply a bath in which only the buttocks and hips are immersed in water. Taking a warm-water sitz bath is a great hemorrhoid treatment because it relaxes the blood vessels and promotes blood circulation in the anus. Sitz baths can also provide instant relief from hemorrhoids by calming the swollen tissues around and inside the anus.

To make a sitz bath, you can use any clean plastic tub around your house, or you can purchase a plastic sitz bath at any medical store. First, fill the tub with lukewarm water until it is almost full. Be sure that the water isn't so hot that it burns you. If you have Epsom salts, add some to the warm water--this will help soothe and heal hemorrhoids. Sit in the sitz bath, keeping the affected area submerged in the water for at least fifteen minutes. If the bath becomes cool during your session add some more hot water to keep it at a nice, warm temperature. Once done, allow the area to air-dry or dry it carefully with a cotton towel. You can use a sitz bath 1 or 2 times every day to relieve hemorrhoid inflammation.

Cold Therapy Treatments

Cold hemorrhoid treatments are inexpensive, easy to use, and very effective in shrinking irritated blood vessels of hemorrhoids. By diminishing swelling of the affected area and allowing blood to flow freely, cold therapy provides instant relief to hemorrhoid irritation. Cold therapy also numbs the affected area and subdues pain. To use cold treatment therapy, wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply it to the hemorrhoid tissue. If you don't have an ice pack, make your own by placing ice in a plastic bag, wrapped in a thin towel. The thin towel is important as you should never place ice directly on hemorrhoids as tissue damage can occur. Apply the cold treatment for a minimum of twenty minutes in order to numb the area and reduce swelling. You can use this type of cold hemorrhoid treatment once a day, every day for instant relief without damaging effects.

Herbal Remedies

Plenty of herbal remedies are available for quick and natural hemorrhoid relief. Use Aloe vera gel to ease burning by applying it directly to your hemorrhoids. Witch hazel works to relieve discomfort by acting as an astringent. It is known to minimize bleeding of hemorrhoids by drawing tissue together and constricting blood vessels. To use, put witch hazel on a sterile cotton pad and apply to affected area to relieve swollen veins. Another useful herb is Lady’s mantle--simply brew with warm water as if you were making tea, and then apply with a cotton ball several times a day to soothe hemorrhoids. Ever heard of horse chestnut extract? This effective blood-thinner is available in capsule or tablet form, which you can take to help relieve the discomfort of hemorrhoids. It can also be applied externally as a compress to directly reduce inflammation. Other herbs you can use to make a compress are soothing chamomile or calendula. Brew the herbs with warm water as if you were making a tea, soak a small hand towel in the brew, and apply to the affected area. Drink other anti-inflammatory and bowel-softening herbs such as marshmallow root and flax seed as teas. Triphala is an ayurvedic compound of three fruits that is taken as a bowel tonic to relieve constipation gently.

Maintain Cleanliness

Maintain cleanliness around your anus to diminish itching and aching. You should clean regularly in and around the sphincter to lower infection. Make sure you do not use fragrant soaps or harsh scrub brushes which will irritate the area more. Be gentle as you clean, as it is imperative that you do not aggravate the tender area. A squeeze bottle or anything with a gentle stream of water may make the process easier and can help eliminate bacteria from the anus. Be sure to dry the area after using water as the long-term presence of moisture in an area can foster prickliness. Wipe gently with a towel or use the cool air setting on a blow dryer to dry thoroughly. After a bowel movement, wipe using a moistened towelette instead of dry toilet paper. Also, to encourage air flow in the area use clean and loose cotton garments, and change them often to maintain cleanliness.

Final Thoughts

In most cases, a change in diet, good hygiene, and topical hemorrhoid treatments will help relieve irritation and reduce inflammation. However, if you have serious issues with hemorrhoids sometimes diet, time, and medicine are not enough. For those who do not respond over-the-counter or natural hemorrhoid treatments, you may want to explore long-term relief through hemorrhoid removal surgery.

How have you found relief from hemorrhoids?

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