Most people know right away when they have hemorrhoids. The pain and inflammation in the rectal area is usually a clear sign. Another sign is bright red blood in your stool.
This is actually a pretty common disorder and can occur on both men and women of all ages.
The itching and pain from the hemorrhoids can be bothersome all day long, and make it uncomfortable to sit, walk, and sometimes even stand.
Fortunately, most hemorrhoids will heal on their own and are easy to treat using a number of home remedies to find comfort in the meantime.
When you are dealing with a hemorrhoid, it is particularly important to make sure you are practicing extra care with hand hygiene.
Before you clean the area, or applying any treatment or ointment to the area, make sure you wash your hands with warm water and antibacterial soap.
Also make sure that you are washing your hands with antibacterial soap and warm water after cleaning or applying anything to the area. The area is already exposed to bacteria regularly, which can make it difficult to heal some stubborn hemorrhoids.
Washing your hands helps to prevent the spread of germs to other people or to other areas of your body.
Not to mention it helps to reduce any additional bacteria from being exposed to the rectal area.
You also need to make sure that you are taking a shower daily, or at the very least making sure to wash the rectal area daily to help prevent the hemorrhoids from getting further infected and inflamed.
Apple Cider Vinegar
One of the most common home remedies for a number of ailments is the use of apple cider vinegar. This has been used for decades for its antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
To use it on your hemorrhoid, put a few drops onto a cotton ball and then gently apply it to the affected area. This can be done several times throughout the day until the hemorrhoid has subsided.
This should be done in conjunction with washing the area with soap and warm water daily and is not a replacement for washing with an antibacterial soap.
Sometimes if the skin is irritated, it might sting initially when it is applied to the area. But it provided instant relief for discomfort provided by hemorrhoids.
You can also store some of the apple cider vinegar in the fridge so that it offers an additional cooling sensation to the area when it is applied.
Sitz Baths Can Be Soothing
Sitz baths are basically basins used to hold warm water to cleanse and soothe the rectal area. Using sitz baths can help to speed up the healing process of external hemorrhoids and help to relieve any discomfort they may cause.
The reason this works, is because the warm water helps to increase the circulation of blood to the area which speeds up the healing process.
Sitz baths can be purchased from your local pharmacy and are fairly inexpensive. Some sitz baths are also designed to be able to place on your toilet, making them easier to use than the stand alone sitz baths.
As an alternative, you can also use a wash basin or your bathtub to soak the anal area in warm water. Simply feel it with warm water, make sure it is not too hot so it does not burn the delicate skin.
Then sit in the warm water for ten to fifteen minutes to help clean and soothe the area. Once you are done, make sure to dry the area with a soft cotton towel, by patting your skin dry. Do not rub the area, so that you do not irritate it more.
One of the best home remedies to help alleviate the discomfort from hemorrhoids is using witch hazel.
It is a natural astringent that helps to clean the affected area. Simply take a little bit of it on a cotton ball, and apply it to the area. The witch hazel can help to dry up the hemorrhoid and cause it to disappear quicker.
This can be done a couple of times a day to help reduce the swelling and pain associated with hemorrhoids. Like vinegar, the use of witch hazel is not meant to be a replacement for washing with warm water and antibacterial soap. It is meant to be a supplement to proper hygiene and cleaning of the area.
Cold Therapy Treatments
When your body is experiencing inflammation, the use of ice is particularly helpful in reducing the inflammation.
Ice is also soothing to areas that are painful. You can use cold water to soak the area for ten to fifteen minutes, like a sitz bath. Or you can apply cold to the area using ice packs or a bag of ice and then hold it to the area.
Just make sure that you wrap them with a soft cloth before applying it directly to your skin so that the extreme cold does not cause frostbite.
The use of cold treatment can be done as frequently as ten to fifteen minutes at a time. And it can be done a few times a day until the hemorrhoid is healed completely.
Evaluate Your Diet
Eating a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables, and whole grains can go a long way in helping to alleviate hemorrhoids and prevent future hemorrhoids from occurring again.
The fiber in these foods help to bulk up the stool and encourages it to absorb more water making your bowel movements softer and easier to pass.
This is particularly important as it will help to prevent straining to go to the bathroom and will also help to reduce the pressure placed on the hemorrhoid when you have a bowel movement.
Some examples of food you can incorporate into your diet include apples, pears, brussel sprouts, broccoli, carrots, spinach, and whole grain breads and pasta.
Keep Your Body Hydrated
Everyone has heard that you should drink at least eight glasses of water a day. This is to help keep your body hydrated.
One of the main reasons this is important is also because it helps your body to remove toxins in your body that are causing inflammation and discomfort.
It is also important to have enough water in order for your stool to be softened enough to have a more comfortable bowel movement.
Drinking water though is not enough to stay hydrated. If you also drink excessive amount of sugary drinks, caffeine, or alcoholic beverages, your body can still become dehydrated. For this reason, limit your intake of these beverages, or choose to avoid them entirely.
Over the Counter Treatments
There are a number of different over the counter treatment available to help ease the symptoms of hemorrhoids. One of the most common of these is Preparation-H.
This cream is applied to the affected area a couple of times a day to help relieve itching, burning, and pain associated with hemorrhoids.
The majority of these medications are petroleum based and may contain hydrocortisone, a steroid cream, to help speed up the healing process. Some other creams and ointments may contain other active ingredients.
Just make sure whatever products you purchase to help relieve the symptoms are not in multiple products you are using. Overuse of an ingredient may result in other complications that could have been avoided.
Prevention with a Healthy Lifestyle
Once you are able to get rid of your hemorrhoid, it is important to help prevent new ones from coming back. Besides looking at your diet and water intake, there are a number of different things that you can also look at about your lifestyle to help keep new hemorrhoids at bay. One of these is to try to maintain a healthy body weight.
When you are overweight, you are more prone to developing hemorrhoids than when you are at a healthy weight. Even losing a few pounds can help to reduce the likelihood of hemorrhoids forming.
Secondly, engaging in exercise regularly helps to ensure your circulation is flowing better. This helps your body to be able to function better, including being able to rid your body of toxins, which is important for being able to prevent hemorrhoids from forming.
When to Call the Doctor
Usually hemorrhoids heal on their own after a few days to a week. However, if they persist longer, become so painful you cannot function properly, or you begin to have a fever or body aches, you should call your doctor right away.
Your doctor can evaluate the situation and see if there is a different problem occurring, if you need additional medical intervention, or if you have an infection of the area that need to be treated before it will heal properly. Though it is not common, if the problem looks severe enough, your doctor can also refer you to a specialist, like a colorectal surgeon to determine if it needs to be addressed.