What are hemorrhoids?
If you have hemorrhoids, you’re in good company. Hemorrhoids are a common issue, which means that there is a lot of information available, and there are plenty of remedies for how to ease pain when you are going to the bathroom with hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are a part of everyone’s anatomy. They’re a sort of cushion in the anus that protects your anal skin from stool that passes through. Typically, hemorrhoids aren’t problematic until they swell up, start to bleed, or protrude from your anus.
Difference between internal and external hemorrhoids
You can have internal and external hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids are in the rectum and external hemorrhoids are under the skin in the anus. It’s possible for internal and external hemorrhoids to be connected.
Avoid sitting and straining
One of the worst things you could do when you have hemorrhoids is sit on the toilet and strain as you try to have a bowel movement. When you try to force it, you create more hemorrhoids and worsen your symptoms. Instead, let your body tell you when it’s ready to use the bathroom. If you feel like you’re having a bowel movement, don’t ignore your body’s cues.
It can be a vicious cycle—if you ignore natural bowel movements, you can develop or aggravate constipation, which worsens your hemorrhoids, and so on. You can try placing your feet on a step stool to change your body’s position and allow stools to pass more easily through your rectum.
When it’s time to have a bowel movement, relax and take your time!
On a similar note, you should do your best to avoid constipation while you have hemorrhoids. The harder it is for stool to pass by your hemorrhoids, the worse your symptoms will be. A great place to start is by adding fiber to your diet. Fiber helps fill stools with water, which makes them soft and makes it easier as they leave your body.
You can fight against constipation by eating more fibrous foods, or you can take a fiber supplement. If you’re experiencing a hemorrhoid flare-up and need quick relief, you can try taking mineral oil. This also helps stools move through your anus easily, but this oil shouldn’t be used for an extended period of time. Speak to your healthcare provider for professional counsel on this topic.
Additionally, staying hydrated and getting enough exercise will help your bowel movements happen.
Over the counter relief
There are plenty of over-the-counter options when it comes to easing the pain and symptoms that come along with hemorrhoids. You can use pads soaked in witch hazel and certain creams to soothe, numb, or reduce inflammation in the affected area.
There are anti-inflammatory creams and pastes that could get rid of irritated and itchy skin. Look for products that have zinc, panthenol, witch hazel, or aloe vera to help you treat your hemorrhoids.
You can find ingredients for sitz baths in most pharmacies. Find a basin that will fit under your toilet seat, fill it with an anti-inflammatory agent and warm water, and soak your inflamed area in it for 10 to 15 minutes a few times a day. You can try adding chamomile, witch hazel, oak bark, or tree oil to your sitz bath.
If there is stool left over after wiping, it can make hemorrhoids worse. Be cautious after you use the bathroom to completely clean the area. You can use wet toilet paper first and follow that up with dry toilet paper. When you do this, you improve your hygiene and avoid rough contact with your hemorrhoids.
On the other hand, overdoing it when it comes to your hygiene can worsen your symptoms. Certain soaps, scented wipes, or alcohol-based products could irritate your hemorrhoids or cause allergic reactions.
If you try home remedies and your symptoms don’t improve, you can speak to your healthcare provider about other options. There are a few procedures that can be done to treat hemorrhoids:
- Rubber band ligation. A healthcare provider will place a tiny rubber band around the base of your hemorrhoid. This cuts off circulation, and the hemorrhoid will fall off. A scar will be left, but this keeps the hemorrhoid from coming back.
- Sclerotherapy. This is a surgery done under anesthesia for severe hemorrhoids. If necessary, a healthcare provider can remove your hemorrhoid.
- Thrombosed external hemorrhoids. If you catch an external hemorrhoid immediately after it develops, your healthcare provider can cut open the hemorrhoid. It will start to go away on its own.
Stay in frequent contact with your healthcare provider so that you can best remove or reduce your hemorrhoids.
Harvard Health Publishing: "Self-help steps to get through hemorrhoid flare-ups."
InformedHealth.org: "Enlarged hemorrhoids: How can you relieve the symptoms yourself?"
UCSF Health: "Hemorrhoids."
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