What are two types of hemorrhoids?
Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties and helps heal wounds. It can reduce irritation, burning, itching, and swelling.
Hemorrhoids are enlarged, swollen veins in the lowest part of the rectum and anus. These veins bulge and get irritated, especially when the patient defecates, and cause bleeding. Hemorrhoids are also commonly called piles. It is one of the most common causes of rectal bleeding. Hemorrhoids occur in adults. It can cause significant pain and discomfort if left untreated.
There are two types of hemorrhoids:
- Internal hemorrhoids: They are present deep inside the rectum. They are usually not seen externally or felt and are painless.
- External hemorrhoids: They are present under the skin surrounding the anus. They are painful because of the painful, sensitive nerves surrounding the anus.
Hemorrhoids may go away on their own or with home remedies in a couple of weeks. If the hemorrhoids don’t improve or the symptoms worsen, it is advised to consult a doctor to seek medical treatment.
10 Home remedies for hemorrhoids
- Sitz baths: A warm sitz bath can help relieve symptoms like pain, itching, inflammation, and reduce the risk of infection. It can be prepared at home by mixing one to two tablespoons of baking soda, Epsom salt, and apple cider vinegar in a bathtub. Some sitz bath kits contain a potassium permanganate sachet to be added to 4-5 inches of warm water. It is recommended to sit in the solution for 15 to 20 minutes 2-3 times a day.
- Witch hazel: Applying witch hazel directly to the external hemorrhoids helps provide relief from the symptom. Natural witch hazel is anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant, and astringent (a substance that causes cells/tissues to shrink). A small amount of pure witch hazel may be dabbed onto the hemorrhoids with a cotton ball.
- Coconut oil: Coconut can reduce irritation and swelling, as well as soothe the affected area, and reduce itching.
- Aloe vera: Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties and helps heal wounds. It can reduce irritation, burning, itching, and swelling. It may be applied directly to the anus. The aloe vera may be refrigerated and applied cold to provide more relief. Additives and preservatives in some store-bought aloe Vera gels can worsen, hence the purity of the aloe vera is important.
- Ice packs: Applying ice packs to hemorrhoids can help reduce pain, irritation, burning, and swelling. Ice should not be placed directly over the affected area because it can cause tissue damage. Hence, ice should be wrapped in a towel or cold packs may be used as well. Ice packs may be placed for 15 minutes and repeated hourly.
- Over-the-counter medications: Over-the-counter painkillers (Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen), steroid creams, and hemorrhoid creams can provide symptomatic relief.
- Adequate hydration: Drinking plenty of liquid and being hydrated throughout the day softens the stools, prevents constipation, reduces pain, irritation, and discomfort while defecating (passing stools).
- Fiber-rich diet: A high-fiber diet softens the stools, prevents constipation, reduces pain, irritation, and discomfort while defecating. A fiber-rich diet also helps maintain digestive health. Fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber.
- Psyllium husk: Psyllium is a natural fiber supplement that may be consumed to help increase daily fiber intake to soften stools and reduce discomfort. Adding too much fiber too quickly can cause bloating or stomach cramping. So, it should be gradually increased.
- Wearing appropriate clothing: It is advised to wear loose-fitting, breathable, cotton clothing, and underwear. This helps in wound healing, reduces irritation, and prevents the worsening of inflammation.
8 Home remedies for hemorrhoids while pregnant
If you have symptoms of hemorrhoids while pregnant, consider one of the following eight home remedies:
- Cold therapy (strips soaked in ice water) can help reduce edema and provide comfort for a short period. Apply an ice pack to the affected area (with a cover).
- Several times a day, soak in warm water. If you don’t have access to a bathtub, you can purchase a sitz bath. After getting out of the tub, pat the area dry, and then use a low-heat hair dryer to dry it. It can be quite reassuring.
- If sitting is making you uncomfortable, consider investing in a donut-shaped pillow to relieve the pressure.
- Apply witch hazel pads to the affected region and replace them as needed. Witch hazel provides a cooling effect and aids in edema reduction. However, make sure you are not allergic to it. Do a patch test behind your ear to see if you experience a rash.
- Baking soda can be administered topically, wet or dry, to assist itching relief.
- Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Pure aloe vera without added chemicals and scents, as well as arnica, can help.
- To avoid further irritation in the affected area, keep the area clean by using soft, unscented toilet tissue or wipes.
- Try acupuncture.
Why are hemorrhoids more prevalent during pregnancy?
Although hemorrhoids can arise at any moment during pregnancy, they are most common in the third trimester, about week 28.
The veins that run through the anus can expand due to increased blood supply to the pelvic area, as well as pressure from the larger uterus and growing fetus.
Additionally, constipation can cause hemorrhoids. Bowels slow down during pregnancy due to pregnancy hormones. When your stool is firm, the extra straining to get rid of it might put pressure on your rectal veins, causing them to swell and become irritated.
You’re more likely to get hemorrhoids during pregnancy if you had them before. Postpartum hemorrhoids can develop as a result of pressing during childbirth.
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12 Tips to avoid hemorrhoids during pregnancy
When you’re pregnant, your body goes through several changes, and one of them is swollen veins. During prenatal classes, talk to other expectant moms, share your experiences and ask your instructor about natural therapies.
Hemorrhoids during pregnancy can be avoided by taking the following steps:
- Constipation should be avoided at all costs.
- Consume a diet high in fiber. Fresh avocados, beans, and other fruits and vegetables are good options.
- When you have a bowel movement, don’t put off going to the bathroom. Make sure you don’t sit on the toilet for any longer than is absolutely required because this will put pressure on your rectal area.
- If you’re already constipated, talk to your doctor about taking a fiber supplement or using a stool softener.
- Choose a prenatal vitamin that is based on foods. Constipation can be caused by synthetic vitamins, particularly iron. Prenatal vitamins that are derived from food are more easily absorbed.
- Stay active.
- As long as your provider thinks it’s okay, get regular and safe exercise right up to your due date.
- Exercise your Kegels. They improve rectal circulation and strengthen the muscles surrounding the anus.
- Long periods of sitting or standing are not recommended. Get up and move around for a few minutes every hour or so if your job requires you to sit at a desk.
- Water and other fluids should be consumed in large quantities. If you don’t drink enough water, your body will reabsorb it through your colon, leaving you with dry, difficult-to-push stool.
- When sleeping, reading, or watching TV, lie on your side to relieve pressure on your rectal veins.
- Try not to gain more weight than is recommended because the more weight you gain, the more pressure you put on your rectum.
Medically Reviewed on 4/12/2022
NIH. Treatment of Hemorrhoids. October 2016. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/hemorrhoids/treatment