Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, is a common condition that occurs when veins get swollen in the rectum or anus. Although painful, symptoms of hemorrhoids can be relieved with home remedies and medications.
How to get rid of hemorrhoids
- Sitz bath: One tried and true remedy for killing hemorrhoids fast is taking sitz baths, which involves sitting in 3 inches of warm water for 15 minutes several times a day. Warm water reduces the swelling and relaxes the clenched sphincter muscles.
- Ice packs or cold compresses: Applying cold compresses to the affected region helps ease pain and swelling.
- Fiber supplements: Consuming supplements such as psyllium (Metamucil) and methylcellulose (Citrucel) reduces constipation and helps relieve the pain of hemorrhoids.
- Topical ointments: Over-the-counter topical ointments can help reduce swelling, discomfort, and itching caused by hemorrhoids. Other ointments such as petroleum jelly can lubricate the area and make passing stools less painful, and 1% hydrocortisone cream can relieve itching.
- Analgesics: Analgesics such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin can alleviate pain caused by hemorrhoids.
- Loose clothing: Wearing loose clothing allows air to circulate in the affected regions and can prevent further irritation.
- Healthy lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential for reducing the risk of hemorrhoids in the future.
If home remedies fail to provide relief, medications may be prescribed.
Topical medications that include zinc oxide, witch hazel, corticosteroids, or lidocaine are commonly prescribed to treat hemorrhoids. These medications help relieve itching and reduce inflammation and can act as a local anesthetic, alleviating pain.
However, medications should not be taken without talking to a doctor because some can cause damage in the long run.
If both home remedies and medications do not work to resolve the hemorrhoids, you should seek medical treatment. Medical procedures to treat internal hemorrhoids include:
- Sclerosant injection: Also known as sclerotherapy, this procedure involves injecting liquid that produces scar tissue, causing the hemorrhoids to shrink.
- Rubber band ligation: An elastic band is placed at the base of the hemorrhoids, cutting off blood supply and causing the hemorrhoids to shrink or fall off.
- Electrocoagulation: Low electric currents are delivered to the area, causing scarring and cutting off blood supply to the hemorrhoids,
- Infrared coagulation: Infrared light is targeted at the hemorrhoids, causing the area to develop scar tissue.
Sometimes, hemorrhoidectomy may be prescribed for the complete removal of external hemorrhoids or for a prolapsed internal hemorrhoid.
What are common symptoms of hemorrhoids?
Symptoms of hemorrhoids may include:
- Pain and discomfort in the anal region
- Swelling and and soreness around the anus
- Irritation and itchiness in the anal region
What causes hemorrhoids?
Although the cause of hemorrhoids is not completely understood, factors that can contribute to the development of the condition include:
- Genetics: Some patients may inherit the tendency to develop hemorrhoids.
- Weight: Being overweight increases the risk of hemorrhoids.
- Pregnancy: Hemorrhoids are reported in 35% of pregnant women, caused by tissue swelling due to hormones
- Age: The risk of hemorrhoids increases with age.
- Diet and lifestyle: Consuming low-fiber foods, leading a sedentary lifestyle, or lifting heavy weights can cause hemorrhoids.
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