How to Get Quick Hemorrhoid Relief

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Hemorrhoid Home Treatment and Remedies

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No one really wants to talk about hemorrhoids. They're unpleasant, uncomfortable, and embarrassing. But according to the American College of Gastroenterology, hemorrhoids are extremely common: nearly half of Americans have them by age 50. So while it may be a little awkward to talk about them, be assured that you're far from alone. 

Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum or around the anus. They can itch, burn, and even bleed when irritated. 

There are ways to reduce the risk of hemorrhoids from occurring in the first place. Once you're affected, be reassured that most hemorrhoids can be cleared up with ​simple home remedies and treatments.

Here are a few ways to get quick relief from the burning and itching of hemorrhoids. 

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Try to Reduce Swelling

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Reducing the swelling that occurs with hemorrhoids goes a long way toward reducing discomfort. Two quick remedies include:

  • Ice packs, which can be placed on the anal area for short periods of time (no longer than 15 minutes). Try to avoid applying ice directly on your skin; it's best to use a cloth as a barrier.
  • Sitz baths, which are a very soothing and effective solution for the discomfort of hemorrhoids. A sitz bath involves soaking your rectum in warm water by sitting on a plastic bowl designed for the purpose. You can either fill the bowl with warm water and sit on it while it rests on the seat of your toilet, or place the bowl in a bathtub of warm water. You can add Epsom salts or baking soda for extra soothing, but often the warm (not hot) water is sufficient. Make sure you have enough time (and privacy) to devote to your sitz bath; for maximum relief, you should allow 15 to 20 minutes of soaking. 

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Don't Strain During Bowel Movements

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Since the area is already inflamed, try to pass your bowel movements without straining, which increases pressure on the veins in the rectum. Try to sit in a relaxed way, avoid hunching over if possible, and take deep breaths to calm yourself. Let your body do the work, and take your time.

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Try to Keep Your Stools Soft

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Working to keep stools soft is a key strategy in preventing and reducing the discomfort of hemorrhoids. A few things that may help:

  • Make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids throughout your day. This may seem obvious, but the less hydrated you are, the harder your stools will be to pass.
  • Try a stool softener. These work to soften stool so that it becomes easier to pass, thus lessening any pressure or irritation on your hemorrhoids. Since some contain stimulants, it's a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before taking a stool softener, especially if you are taking other medications. 

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Keep the Area Clean

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It is essential to keep your rectal area clean, particularly after bowel movements. You can use a moist towel or moist baby or flushable wipes to gently cleanse the area. Ideally, instead of wiping, try to dab or pat the area clean and dry. 

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Use an Over-the-Counter Hemorrhoid Treatment

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There are a wide variety of hemorrhoid treatment products available over the counter, usually in an ointment, cream, or suppository form. Some products only relieve pain and itching, while others work to reduce swelling. Be sure to read labels carefully so that you know what kind of relief you can anticipate, and follow the directions for use.

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Try a Homeopathic Hemorrhoid Remedy

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Although homeopaths may recommend a variety of products, there is scant research about the effectiveness of any homeopathic remedy for hemorrhoids.

Probably the most well-known homeopathic remedy is the use of witch hazel, which you would apply directly on the hemorrhoids.

Sometimes self-care doesn't work. If you have severe or persistent symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor. Rarely is a procedure necessary, but it is always a good idea to make sure that your symptoms are actually being caused by hemorrhoids and not something else.

Sources:

Greenwald, D. "Common Disorders of the Anus and Rectum: Hemorrhoids and Fissures"  American College of Gastroenterology.

Lohsiriwat, V. "Hemorrhoids: From basic pathophysiology to clinical management, " World Journal of Gastroenterology, May 2012.

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