How to Treat Hemorrhoids: 12 Home Remedies for Hemorrhoid Relief
Try these simple tips to make the pain go away.
Load up on fiber
Want to learn more about how to treat hemorrhoids? Well, first you should know exactly what they are. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your anus and rectum that can get inflamed and cause symptoms like itching, burning, and bleeding (especially during a bowel movement). They can be internal or external. However, you can start healing from the inside out with a high-fiber diet, which can reduce the bleeding and pain from hemorrhoids. Doctors from the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill suggest filling your plate with fiber-rich foods for hemorrhoid relief. Think along the lines of fruits and vegetables, brown rice, whole grains, and nuts. (Fiber is also good for your gut microbiome.) Drinking plenty of water can also prevent constipation.
Use a tea bag
External hemorrhoids can be soothed by applying a warm, wet tea bag, suggest experts at the University of California, San Francisco. The tannins in the tea will help reduce swelling, ease the pain, and promote blood clotting to stop the bleeding.
If you have a desk job, walk around for five minutes at least once an hour to relieve the rectal pressure that causes hemorrhoids. At the gym, avoid stationary bikes and squats, both of which can apply that same pressure. Instead, try walking briskly for 20 to 30 minutes to encourage bowel function, according to Harvard Medical School.
Soak with warm water
Warm water is recommended by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD) as a treatment for hemorrhoids. To reap its benefits, fill your bathtub or a sitz bath, which fits over the toilet, with four or five inches of water. Take a seat in the water with your knees raised to get maximum exposure to the affected area. Dissolving a handful of Epsom salts in the tub before you start your soak will help soothe the hemorrhoids even more. These are 22 bathroom mistakes you never knew you made.
Blood vessels swell up with hemorrhoids, but coldness can shrink them and give major relief. Fill a bag with ice, wrap a thin cloth around it (don’t apply directly to skin), and sit on it for about 20 minutes for hemorrhoid relief, is another suggestion from Harvard Medical School. Repeat as necessary, but wait at least ten minutes between each application.
Keep it clean
Switch out your daily shower for some bath time so that you can soak the anal area with warm water, according to the NIDDKD. Don’t use soap or alcohol-based or perfumed wipes, which could make hemorrhoids worse (don’t worry, a warm soak will still get you clean). When you’re out of the tub, use a hairdryer to dry the area gently. While hemorrhoids make their presence known, these are 15 silent signs your body might be in big trouble.
How to treat hemorrhoids without gels or creams? Simply take the weight off your sore anal area, suggests University of California San Diego Student Health Services, by lying stretched out on a couch with your legs up for half an hour. You’ll improve circulation to your backside as well, improving hemorrhoid relief. These are the 11 health secrets your butt wants you to know.
Use simple toilet paper
Scented and colored toilet paper contain extra chemicals that could irritate sensitive areas. Dampen plain, white, unscented toilet paper or use a moist towelette when you need to wipe, says the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Dab on petroleum jelly
Here’s how to treat hemorrhoids with Vaseline. Petroleum jelly can soothe the affected area if you dab a bit onto the sore spot for quicker hemorrhoid relief, says Harvard Medical School.
Give yourself permission to go
Holding in your bathroom breaks can lead to constipation, meaning you need to strain more when you do go. That could cause pressure in your abdominal area and bring on hemorrhoids. Avoiding this excess strain is key, according to the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. Instead of focusing on how to treat hemorrhoids, find a restroom as soon as you need one to avoid them in the first place. Learn 10 more ways you didn’t know you were using the toilet wrong.
Try a potato
It sounds strange, but a compress made from potato can provide relief. When grated, the tuber acts as a soothing astringent to help contract tissues. You’ll likely never be able to look at a spud the same way again, but you will have some relief.
Apply witch hazel
Witch hazel is full of tannins, which help shrink blood vessels. Cleveland Clinic colorectal surgeon Massarat Zutshi, MD says it’s okay to use this directly on hemorrhoids. Drench a cotton ball with undistilled witch hazel and press it against the hemorrhoid. Next, check out the 8 habits you didn’t know could cause hemorrhoids.
- Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology: "Rethinking What We Know About Hemorrhoids."
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Treatment of Hemorrhoids."
- University of California San Francisco Health: "Hemorrhoids"
- Harvard Medical School: "Hemorrhoids and what to do about them."
- Cleveland Clinic: "7 Best and Worst Home Remedies For Your Hemorrhoids."
- American Academy of Family Physicians: "Hemorrhoids"
- American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons: "Hemorrhoids"
- 1,801 Home Remedies, Editors of Reader's Digest, Reader's Digest, 2015
- University of California San Diego Student Health Services: "Hemorrhoids"
- Virginia Commonwealth University Student Health Services: "Hemorrhoids"