There are many safe and effective home remedies for hemorrhoids, swollen veins in your anus and rectum that can be painful and bleed. Learn more here.
Hemorrhoids are common. In fact, up to 75 percent of Americans may run into this sometimes painful problem during their lives. Usually a hemorrhoid will go away on its own in two weeks. And there are effective home remedies for hemorrhoids that you can try to minimize discomfort during that time.
Home remedies for hemorrhoids
1. Sit in warm water. You can buy a small bowl, called a sitz bath, which fits over your toilet, so you don’t have to fill up a bathtub. Use it for 15 minutes after each bowel movement or more often. Adding Epsom salts may help as well. Epsom salts are a good idea if you’re using a bathtub as they will help relax your muscles.
2. Over-the counter ointments may reduce swelling and pain. Don’t use any cream with hydrocortisone for more than a week.
3. Witch hazel. This natural remedy contains oils that may slow bleeding, and it won’t hurt you, though it may not do much. You can apply it directly as a liquid or use wipes and soaps that contain it. The wipes may be more comfortable than ordinary toilet paper. But don’t use apple cider vinegar. It has a reputation for relieving itchy hemorrhoids, but it can burn your skin and may make things worse.
4. Psyllium husk supplement. You can take pills or powders that provide fiber in your diet, softening your stool. Don’t use too much too quickly or you could end up with cramps and gas. Make sure you drink enough water along with the psyllium.
5. Aloe vera. The gel is useful for some inflammatory skin problems. Stick to pure aloe, rather than creams with other ingredients. You can buy pure aloe gel or break open a leaf. You may be allergic to it, especially if you react to garlic and onions. So do an allergy skin test for 48 hours on the inside of your arm. You may read recommendations to use tea tree oil, but there isn’t much science to back that up.
6. Epsom salts and glycerin. Both products are available in drug stores. Mix two tablespoons of Epsom salts and two tablespoons of glycerin in a clean container, apply the mixture to a gauze pad, and place it on the painful area. Leave it there for 15 to 20 minutes and repeat the treatment every four to six hours until you feel better.
7. Cold. A cloth soaked in cold water or an ice pack wrapped in a cloth can be soothing on especially painful veins. But don’t apply anything frozen directly to your body.
8. Wear loose cotton clothing. Wear cotton underwear and skip your tight jeans or polyester leggings. Also, don’t use scented laundry soaps to wash any clothing near that part of your body.
You should also know
You need to eat plenty of fiber and drink enough water (if your urine is dark, you aren’t drinking enough) for your overall health but especially during a period when your bowel movements are painful.
If none of these home remedies for hemorrhoids work, and the pain persists beyond two weeks, see your primary care doctor, who can give you a prescription for a medicated ointment or suppository. Very rarely, you might develop anemia from a bleeding hemorrhoid or extreme pain from an internal hemorrhoid.
April 01, 2020
Janet O’Dell, RN