by William Jackson; Updated September 30, 2017
Few common medical conditions are as annoying–even embarrassing–as hemorrhoids. They itch, they bleed, they hurt. But fear not! Home treatment of hemorrhoids can be just as effective as professional medical treatment, and home treatments are much more private. So let’s examine what hemorrhoid treatments might work for you.
Types of Hemorrhoids
There are two types of hemorrhoids: internal and external. It’s the second type that is the most problematic. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anus (internal) or in a hard knot around the rectum (external). Because the anus and rectum are regularly used in ways that cause pushing and grinding against the hemorrhoids, the enlarged veins become painful as they are stretched and strained. Internal hemorrhoids can range in size from a small swelling to enlarged veins that sag out of the anus. It’s possible to have both internal and external hemorrhoids.
First Things First
If your stool is consistently hard and dry, the preceding home treatments likely won’t be enough. The twin keys to softer bowel movements are fiber and fluids. Significantly increase the amount of vegetables, fruits, grains, and beans that you eat. Drink a lot of water or juices–that means at least eight cups a day. The combination of fiber and fluids will make your stool softer, more flexible and easier to pass without scraping through and causing bleeding.
Keep It Clean
It’s absolutely necessary to keep the rectum and surrounding area clean and free from moisture. Avoid using regular soap, which tends to dry out the skin. Instead, use warm water to clean the rectum area, then pat it dry it with a towel. Along the same lines, avoid using dry toilet paper after a bowel movement. That can cause chafing. Instead, use wet wipes or something similarly moist. Then rinse the area off with water and pat it dry.
Push Them Back
Sometimes internal hemorrhoids are squeezed out of the rectum during a bowel movement, particularly dry, hard bowel movements. When hemorrhoids exist within your rectum, any strained bowel movement runs the risk of pushing them out. Instead of running to the doctor, fix it yourself. Gently and slowly push them back in. That’s right. Use a finger or two to shove those swollen veins back inside your rectum. This is essentially what a doctor would do, too.
Hot and Cold
External hemorrhoids require more work. The best way to deal with them is to shrink them, and that can be accomplished in several ways. First, take a warm bath at least once a day–or several times during the day if possible–completely soaking the area in warm water for at least 20 minutes. Second, try applying an ice pack to the rectum for about 20 minutes, three times a day. Shrinking the hemorrhoids will bring great relief when you get ready to use the toilet.
Many over-the-counter medications exists to help treat hemorrhoids. When vasoconstrictors–such as Preparation H or Rectacaine–are applied to the affected area, they make the blood vessels smaller and reduce swollen hemorrhoids. Other medications might be used to relieve the itching, such as cocoa butter or Benzocaine, but these do little to provide actual treatment for hemorrhoids.
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About the Author
William Jackson has written, reported and edited professionally for more than 10 years. His work has been published in newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, high-level government reports, books and online. He holds a master’s degree in humanities from Pennsylvania State University.