Almost everyone is bothered at some time or another by hemorrhoids. Reports suggest that 50 percent of the U.S. population – both men and women – have hemorrhoids by age 50. The term refers to a condition that occurs when veins around the anus (external hemorrhoids) or just inside the anus (internal hemorrhoids) become distended and inflamed. They can cause a number of symptoms – usually just irritating, not dangerous, and treatable at home – but sometimes they can become infected or bleed heavily, prompting urgent intervention and even surgery.
Affecting both men and women, hemorrhoids are the result of inflamed, swollen veins in your rectum and anus, that can form either internally or externally. More often than not, this unpleasant issue is a result of straining to have a bowel movement, and is especially experienced by those suffering from constipation, the elderly, and pregnant women. Luckily for everyone, hemorrhoids aren’t particularly harmful and are more of a nuisance than anything, so don’t worry! But the issue should still be resolved one way or another, as they can cause more problems than you want to deal with in the long run.
Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
The most common symptom for hemorrhoids is the presence of blood. If the hemorrhoid is internal, then the blood will be bright red and will be most noticeable on toilet paper. If external, you could experience a blood clot around your anus or swelling. Overall, common symptoms include:
- Blood clots or lumps around the anus
- Anal pain
Note that if you incorporate some natural hemorrhoid treatments and follow the prevention tips below, your symptoms may very well disappear as the issue reverses.
Home Remedies for Hemorrhoids
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Using apple cider vinegar is one of the most popular natural treatments for hemorrhoids. Simply soak a cotton ball or some toilet paper with ACV and apply it to the hemorrhoid area. Repeat this process until the inflammation disappears and symptoms resolve. You should see improvement instantly. Alternatively, add some ACV (half a cup) to a sitz bath.
- Coconut Oil – Apply coconut oil directly to hemorrhoids, rinse and repeat. In addition to symptoms subsiding, the hemorrhoids should disappear over the course of just a few days.
- Witch Hazel – An astringent and healing tree, witch hazel is one of the oldest known natural remedies for hemorrhoids. Just soak a pad or cotton ball with witch hazel and apply it to the area.
- Aloe Vera – As with the above treatments, simply apply aloe vera to the affected area to relieve symptoms.
- Rutin – A health-promoting compound found in numerous plants such as buckwheat, oranges, grapefruit, lemon, cranberries, and asparagus (to name a few), rutin is another home remedy often used for hemorrhoids. Buying it in supplement form may be the best option. One individual on Earthclinic says: “I have had a hemmroid for almost a year now. Just last week I started taking Rutin 500mg twice a day, in the morning and one before going to bed. … taking Rutin for only a week the inflammation has gone down and my hemmroid thankfully is almost gone, it’s less than a size of a pea today.”
- Squat, Don’t Sit – This is actually heavily important and very overlooked. Conventional toilets are highly unnatural, and may be one reason hemorrhoids are rarely seen in less developed countries, where where squatting is done when going to the bathroom. Sitting down to pass a bowel movement puts tremendous strain on the rectum while squatting straightens the rectum and relaxes the puborectalis muscle. This is tip should be done along with any home remedies for hemorrhoids you may use.
Causes and Necessary Prevention Tips – The Best “Treatment”
The most common causes of hemorrhoids are straining during bowel movements and obesity. If you’re straining during bowel movements, there is no doubt that you are suffering from constipation, and obesity only heightens your chance of experiencing these digestive issues. The best solution for hemorrhoids is – you guessed it – to not have them at all!
Follow these essential hemorrhoid prevention tips and you may not even have to delve into any hemorrhoid treatments.
- Exercise and Lose Weight – Being overweight or obese, along with being highly inactive, is the perfect path for a complete decline in health. If you aren’t a healthy weight and aren’t moving, your organs and internal system as a whole becomes sluggish and works at low levels. Start exercising and losing weight to fix the problem and keep your digestive tract working.
- Up Fiber Intake: Eat Plenty of Vegetables, Fruit – Seeing as hemorrhoids result from constipation and straining, it should be no surprise that upping fiber intake can help mend the issue. Fiber helps soften stools and is essential for colon health and digestive health as a whole. This nutrient helps to clean out the gastrointestinal system, preventing constipation and allowing the colon to work at greater levels of efficiency. Sources of fiber include: vegetables of all kinds, flax seeds, almonds, pecans, pistachios, prunes, pears, and beans. Include these foods in your diet while trying the other home remedies for hemorrhoids.
- Take Probiotics and Consume Probiotic-Rich Foods – Probiotics are essential for balancing the bacteria in your gut, which can prevent constipation and absolutely promotes overall health. Either take a high-quality probiotic supplement, or consume more probiotic-rich foods such as fermented foods like fermented cheese, yogurt, sauerkraut, Korean kimchi, and numerous fermented drinks like kombucha tea.
- Hydrate – Staying hydrated with water seems to be the number one recommendation for almost any health ailment. Water helps cleanse your internal system and hydrates your entire body. Along with fiber, drinking more water will help to soften stools and hopefully reduce the need for straining during a bowel movement.
Other Considerations for Hemorrhoid Treatment
- Soaking the area in warm water a few times a day for 10-15 minute periods can reduce inflammation and help relieve symptoms. You may also take a sitz bath and add a half cup of apple cider vinegar.
- Keep the area clean, bathing daily. Don’t use soap on the area as it will likely just cause irritation. Use moist toilet paper to dab the area after a bowel movement to lessen friction from wiping.
- Apply ice packs or cold compresses to relieve swelling.
As always, be sure to share any home remedies for hemorrhoids that work for you, as well as what hasn’t worked for you. It’s important to help natural treatments live on.