How to Treat a Hemorrhoid

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Hemorrhoids (also known as piles) are swollen veins in your anus and rectum that can bleed, burn and itch. There can be internal or external hemorrhoids, but normally only external ones cause symptoms. Hemorrhoids are caused by pressure on veins due to pregnancy, excessive sitting, straining during a bowel movement, heavy lifting, diarrhea and acute coughing. There are home remedies available to treat and shrink hemorrhoids during flare-ups, but severe cases may require surgical intervention.

Things You'll Need

  • Topical hemorrhoid cream or ointment
  • Cornstarch or baby powder
  • Oral pain reliever
  • Sterilized ice pack

Treating Hemorrhoids

Soak in a warm bath for 15 to 20 minutes, three to four times per day to alleviate hemorrhoid itching and burning. Do not add any bath products to the water. Blot dry the anal area with a soft, lint-free towel.

Apply a topical pain-relieving and hemorrhoid-shrinking cream or ointment to the anus as needed, such as Preparation H or Skybright Witch Hazel Herbal Relief Cream. Helpful ingredients to look for in creams or ointments include aloe vera, witch hazel, calendula, hydrocortisone, vitamin E, horse chestnut, glycerin, phenylephrine HCl (blood vessel constrictor), petrolatum and pramoxine (anesthetic). Anal suppositories or medicated wipes may also be used to soothe pain and itching.

Place a sterilized ice pack on extremely inflamed hemorrhoids several times per day for up to 15 minutes. This will decrease swelling and relieve any burning sensation.

Keep your anal area as dry as possible when not using topical medications to reduce irritation of the hemorrhoids. Sprinkle cornstarch or hypoallergenic and fragrance free baby powder on your anal area to absorb moisture throughout the day.

Take an oral pain reliever, such as ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen to relieve hemorrhoid discomfort. Do not take these products if you are not medically cleared to do so by your physician.

Eat a high-fiber diet and take a stool softener, if necessary, to eliminate constipation. Constipation leads to straining with bowel movements, which can create new hemorrhoids, further aggravate existing ones and push internal hemorrhoids outside of the anus. Avoid soda, citrus foods, caffeine and alcohol, because these products affect anal skin sensitivity and may increase bowel movements.

Consult your physician if over-the-counter treatments do not alleviate your hemorrhoid symptoms. Your hemorrhoids may require surgical or other intervention in the form of rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy, laser treatment, hemorrhoidectomy or stapling.

Tips & Warnings

  • Limit your time on the toilet to no more than five minutes, and do not strain during bowel movements. Use a natural oatmeal product in the shower instead of soap, which can irritate hemorrhoids. Take frequent breaks from a prolonged seated position.
  • Do not vigorously scrub toilet paper or moist towelettes on your hemorrhoids because this will increase irritation and swelling. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on all hemorrhoid treatment products.

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