Hemorrhoids are painful and can have a negative impact on your daily activities.1 Fortunately, there are numerous ways to treat and eliminate them, ranging from simple and easy-to-do techniques to nonsurgical procedures that are done with the help of a professional.
Home Remedies for Hemorrhoids
You can address hemorrhoids at home with these methods:2,3,4
Try a sitz bath — Coming from the German word “sitzen” meaning “to sit,” this warm water bath targets your buttocks and hips, and may help address itching, irritation and sphincter muscle spasms.
If you want to try a sitz bath, sit in a regular bathtub filled with a few inches of warm water or purchase a small plastic tub that may fit over a toilet seat from a pharmacy.
According to experts, staying in the bath for around 20 minutes after each bowel movement is ideal, and people can benefit from doing a sitz bath two to three times a day.
Opt for a warm soak — According to the Mayo Clinic, a 10- to 15-minute soak in a warm bath two to three times a day may help relieve painful and swollen hemorrhoids.
Use a bidet instead of dry toilet paper when wiping after a bowel movement — Compared to toilet paper, bidets are an effective, less irritating and low-cost way to clean your backside after you defecate.
By doing so, you may reduce your risk for hemorrhoid development or prevent further issues from developing.
Use a donut pillow if you must sit down — It helps remove some of the pressure off the rectal area.5
Do not pass on the urge to defecate — When you prolong the urge to relieve yourself, there’s a tendency for your stool to move back up, and prompt increased pressure and straining.
You may want to try setting a daily schedule that may help you establish regular bowel habits.
Refrain from scratching the affected area — Doing so may cause skin damage and increased irritation.6
Utilize ice packs or cold compresses — You can try applying these to your anus to aid in combating pain, inflammation and swelling.
If you’ll be applying ice cubes directly on the skin, wrap them first in a small towel to prevent skin damage. Once done, place the cold item on the area for around 15 minutes and continue doing so hourly.
Dab coconut oil onto affected area — This substance is said to assist in decreasing irritation and swelling, and in reducing the temptation to scratch the affected area.
Apply aloe vera onto affected areas — This plant is said to possess anti-inflammatory abilities7 that help in alleviating burning, itching and swelling.
Before applying aloe vera to your anus, make sure you’re using a high-quality product that doesn’t contain additives or preservatives that may exacerbate hemorrhoids.
Nonsurgical Treatments for Hemorrhoids
There are three types of nonsurgical methods that can get rid of hemorrhoids. Just make sure to consult with your physician before undergoing any of them, since there are pros and cons to each:8,9,10
• Rubber band ligation — Ligation is less painful and considered the least invasive treatment for hemorrhoids. It may mainly help address internal hemorrhoids.11 During ligation, the base of a hemorrhoid is wrapped with a tiny rubber band to restrict blood flow to the area. The constriction causes the hemorrhoid to shrink and fall off in a week.12
However, rubber band ligation is not suitable for people taking anticoagulant medications or who have a bleeding disorder.13 This procedure may lead to increased bleeding, pain and blood clots or infections, although these last two complications are rare. Plus, rubber band ligation may need to be repeated should you have multiple hemorrhoids.
• Infrared coagulation — Also called electrotherapy, infrared coagulation may help address smaller hemorrhoids. After applying a local anesthetic on the area, an infrared coagulation device is used to heat the hemorrhoid and burn the tissues for a brief period. This causes a scar to form that blocks blood flow to the hemorrhoid.
Unfortunately, infrared coagulation has its cons. Some patients may need to undergo multiple treatments in order to address hemorrhoids in multiple areas. The recovery period also takes a few days more and in some cases, bleeding may happen. The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) also notes that stool softeners may be needed to prevent straining and reopening of the scar.
• Sclerotherapy — This involves injecting a chemical solution directly into the internal hemorrhoid or its surrounding areas. The solution then triggers a local reaction, preventing blood flow toward the hemorrhoid and ultimately shrinking the bulge.
Take note that sclerotherapy is not recommended for patients with external hemorrhoids,14 or for people taking anticoagulants or who have been diagnosed with advanced cirrhosis because there’s a high risk for secondary hemorrhage.15 This method may also cause pain and bleeding and is said to be less effective than rubber band ligation.16 Furthermore, there’s a possibility that the hemorrhoids will return after a few years despite treatment.17