How to Treat Hemorrhoids at Home

You don't need to see a doctor for quick ways to ease your itching and pain, or for ongoing fixes to keep the discomfort from getting worse. The best treatments for hemorrhoids are often things you can do at home.

Many of these tips will help you avoid constipation and make it easier to go. That can stop hemorrhoids before they form, too.

Ease Pain and Itching

Take warm baths. Soak in a bathtub filled with a few inches of warm water for about 15 minutes at a time. Do it two or three times a day and after every bowel movement. If you want to wash the area, too, use unscented soap and don't scrub.

Pat gently afterward to dry. You can even use a blow dryer on a cool setting if that feels better.

There are also special "sitz baths" you can put directly on your toilet seat to make soaking easier.

Rub on relief. Over-the-counter wipes or creams with witch hazel can soothe pain and itch with no side effects. Don't use one with hydrocortisone for more than a week unless your doctor says it's OK.

Ice it. Put a small cold pack on the trouble spot several times a day. It can dull pain and bring down the swelling for a little while.

Consider painkillers. An over-the-counter medicine, like acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen, could help with soreness.

Don't scratch. You could damage the skin and make the irritation -- and the itching -- worse.

Choose cotton. Wear loose, soft underwear. It keeps the area aired out and stops moisture from building up, which can bother your hemorrhoids.

Good Bathroom Habits

Limit your time on the throne. If you don't go after a few minutes, don't wait or force something to happen. Try to get into a routine where you go at the same time every day.

Be gentle. If toilet paper is irritating, try dampening it first. Or use pre-moistened wipes, cotton balls, or alcohol-free baby wipes.

Don't hold it in. When you feel like you have to go, do it. Don't wait for a better time or place. Stool can back up. And that can lead to straining and more pressure. Go as soon as you can when you feel the urge.

Try a squat position. Put a short bench or a stack of phone books under your feet when you go to the bathroom. Raising your knees as you sit on the toilet changes the position of your inner workings and could make bowel movements easier.

Continued

Don't Make Things Worse

Bump up the fiber. It softens your stools and makes them move through your body more easily. You'll find it in beans, whole-grain breads and cereals, and fresh fruits and veggies. You may also want to try a supplement if you can't get enough from foods. Add fiber slowly to help avoid gas and bloating.

Drink lots of fluids. Stay well hydrated to keep stools soft so they're easier to pass. Water is the best choice. Drink plenty throughout the day. Prune juice is a natural laxative and can help you go.

Exercise regularly. Even brisk walking 20-30 minutes every day can help keep you from getting stopped up.

Breathe! Keep the air moving in and out when you're working hard. It's common to hold your breath as you're pushing, pulling, or making an effort (you probably don't realize you're doing it) -- and that can lead to hemorrhoid pain and bleeding.

Use a pillow. Sit on a cushion instead of a hard surface. It will ease swelling for any hemorrhoids you have. It may also help prevent new ones from forming.

Take breaks. If you must sit for a long time, get up every hour and move around for at least 5 minutes.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on /2, 16

Sources

SOURCES:

FamilyDoctor.org: "Hemorrhoids Treatment."

Harvard Health Publications: "Hemorrhoids and what to do about them."

University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center: "Bowel Program in Spinal Cord Injury."

Cleveland Clinic: "Hemorrhoids."

Medscape: "Hemorrhoids Treatment & Management."

UptoDate: "Patient information: Hemorrhoids (Beyond the Basics)."

Harvard Health Publications: "6 self-help tips for hemorrhoid flare-ups."

Komaroff, A. The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide, Simon & Schuster, 1999.

NPR: "For Best Toilet Health: Squat Or Sit?"

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