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How To Get Rid Of Hemorrhoids

Updated on September 1, 2009

Hemorrhoids are a common affliction, and can be both painful and embarrassing. Fortunately they are often easy to treat, and in many cases can be prevented completely by making some simple lifestyle changes. This article takes a look at some of the various approaches to eliminating hemorrhoids, including medications, surgery, natural treatments and home remedies for hemorrhoids.

What Are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids, which are also known as piles, haemorrhoids and hemroids, are characterised by a swelling of the veins in the area of the anus and rectum (in actual fact, the term hemorrhoids refers to the tissue cushions at the point where the anus and the rectum meet, which is filled with blood vessels – but it is more commonly used to refer to the swollen veins that may protrude from this tissue). This typically causes sensation of pain and itching in the affected area, and can make everyday life very uncomfortable.

Hemorrhoids may be internal or external. Both types may bleed, and external hemorrhoids may also feature swelling around the anus. Thrombosed external hemorrhoids occur when blood clots form in the hemroidal tissue surrounding the anus. A protruding hemorrhoid occurs when an internal haemorrhoid extends itself out of the anus. If the anal sphincter muscle should go into a spasm and cut off the blood supply, the prolapsed hemoroid is now known as a strangulated haemorrhoid. Protruding and strangulated hemorrhoids are considered to be severe forms of the disorder, and are typically treated with surgery.

Hemorrhoids may develop in people of all ages, but especially in those over the age of 50, the obese, those with high blood pressure and pregnant women. Symptoms of hemmorhoids include hard or swollen tissue around the anus, bleeding (including blood-covered stools – a symptom of internal hemorrhoids), itching, irritation and pain in the anal area.

Treatments For Hemorrhoids

In many cases, piles will clear up on their own within a few days. However, if yours persist, there is a variety of options available for getting rid of hemorrhoids. It is best to consult your doctor for hemorrhoid treatment advice, as some cases of piles may require medical intervention, and hemorrhoid symptoms can occasionally be caused by more serious disorders such as abcesses or melanoma.

Topical Medication For Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoid creams are a popular way of shrinking hemorrhoids, especially when used during the early stage of an attack, although their effectiveness does vary a lot. A wide variety of different brands of topical haemorrhoid medications are available from pharmacies and online. However, persistent use of creams containing steroids can cause skin irritation, so they should not be seen as a long-term solution. Some creams also contain pain-relieving ingredients which can help to reduce the discomfort associated with piles. Suppositories are another option, such as Preparation-H, which provides temporary relief to symptoms.

Natural Hemorrhoid Remedies

If you don't want to use medication for hemorroids, or want to augment it with natural methods, consider the following:

  • Sitz baths (sitting in a few inches of warm water) can help to provide relief from the symptoms of piles.
  • You can also apply natural astringents or soothing substances such as aloe vera, witch hazel or honey to the affected area.
  • Adopting a squatting posture when having a bowel movement can help by reducing pressure in the area. Alternatively, you could raise the legs by using a footstool when sitting on the toilet.
  • Natural anti-inflammatories which have been shown to help include horse-chestnut extract and Butcher's Broom extract.
  • The discomfort associated with external piles can be relieved somewhat by applying an icepack or other cold compress to the area and leaving it in place for 15-20 minutes.
  • Some people find that sitting on a donut cushion helps to provide relief, and avoiding sitting at all for long periods may help also.

Hemorrhoid Surgery & Other Non-Medicinal Approaches

Surgical removal of piles is generally offered as a last resort or for the treatment of very severe and/or chronic cases. Hemorrhoidectomy involves the excision and removal of the affected tissue, and due to the associated side effects, which can include severe pain and incontinence, it is generally only used in the most severe cases. Other options that may be offered by your doctor include rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy, electrotherapy, and laser therapy, among others. These treatments can be effective, but in order to prevent the hemorroids from recurring, it helps to make any necessary lifestyle changes as mentioned below too.

Lifestyle Changes To Treat & Prevent Piles

It may be necessary to make some changes in your lifestyle both to get rid of hemorroids now, and to prevent them from recurring in the future. After all, there's little point in ensuring surgery or spending money on creams etc if you don't address the potential underlying causes.

  • In some people piles are aggravated by consumption of spicy foods and/or dairy products (which are high in lactic acid). Reducing or eliminating these foods might help to provide relief from hemorrhoids.
  • Hemorrhoids are frequently associated with overweight and obesity, so bring your weight under control if necessary is an important step towards reducing piles and preventing their reoccurrence.
  • It is vital to drink plenty of water; hemorroids can be caused by dehydration, which can lead to hard stools which strain the rectal and anal walls as they pass through, and may also cause chronic constipation which worsens the problem by leading to strained bowel movements.
  • Eating a fibre-rich diet is also important in the prevention and cure of piles – wholegrains, fruits and vegetables are the best sources of fibre, and should be eaten daily. Short-term use of stool bulking agents may also help.
  • Hemorrhoids are sometimes associated with poor posture, which puts an excess strain on the anal area – consciously maintaining a good posture when sitting and standing can help with this.
  • Another cause of piles is excessively strenuous exercise and lifting very heavy objects. If this describes you, try to ease up a little, or at least make sure that you're maintaining correct posture during your activity.

Buying Hemorrhoid Treatments Online

Although hemorrhoids are very common (some estimates claim that up to 75% of people in America will suffer from them at some point), and are nothing to be ashamed of, many people are reluctant to discuss the issue with their doctor or pharmacist. For those looking to self-medicate, there is a large variety of treatment options available to buy online, both from pharmacy-related sites, natural health sites, and more general sites such as Amazon and eBay. You can also buy aids to make life more comfortable, such as donut cushions and footstools to keep in the bathroom. Remember though, that if you have chronic and/or severe hemorrhoids it's important to seek medical advice.


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