Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, affect as many as 75 percent of people in the United States at some point in their lives. They most frequently strike when people are between ages 45 and 65.
This common problem occurs when veins in the anus and rectum become swollen and inflamed. A number of factors contribute to them, such as gravity, family history, constipation, a low-fiber diet, heavy lifting, obesity, food allergies, lack of physical activity, pregnancy, and prolonged sitting or standing.
Hemorrhoids are mainly of two types – internal or external. As the terms suggest, internal hemorrhoids develop inside the rectum and external hemorrhoids lie just below the skin around the anus.
Some common symptoms of hemorrhoids are blood clots or lumps around the anus, bleeding during bowel movements, irritation near the anal region, and the urge to have a bowel movement even when there is no stool.
If left unchecked and untreated for too long, hemorrhoids may also lead to complications like chronic blood loss, strangulated piles, tissue death and even anal or colorectal cancer. Fortunately, it is not difficult to treat hemorrhoids and alleviate symptoms with simple, natural ingredients.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for hemorrhoids.
The first home treatment that is highly recommended is ice. Ice will help constrict the blood vessels, reduce swelling and give you immediate pain relief.
Apply an icepack or a partially melted piece of ice wrapped in a cloth directly on the affected area for about 10 minutes. Do this several times a day until the hemorrhoid goes away.
You can even use a small pack of frozen vegetables such as peas or corn. Wrap the pack in a tea towel and then apply it on the hemorrhoid. Do this for 20 minutes at a time, three times a day.
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is one of nature’s best ingredients for treating hemorrhoids. The anti-inflammatory and therapeutic properties of aloe vera help reduce the irritation of hemorrhoids. Aloe vera can be used for both internal and external hemorrhoids.
For treating external hemorrhoids, apply a little bit of aloe vera gel to your anus and slowly massage the area. This simple remedy will give relief from the pain and soothe the burning sensation.
To treat internal hemorrhoids, cut aloe vera leaves in strips. Make sure to cut off the thorn-like parts of the plant. Place the slices in a container and freeze them. Apply the icy cold aloe vera strip to the painful hemorrhoid to relieve the pain, burning, and itching sensation.
3. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice contains various nutrients that can give you relief from hemorrhoids by strengthening the capillaries and blood vessel walls.
Saturate a cotton ball with freshly squeezed lemon juice and apply it on the hemorrhoid. Initially there will be some mild tingling or a burning sensation, but relief from the pain will soon follow.
Alternatively, squeeze half a lemon into a cup of hot milk and drink it. Do this every three hours for best results.
Mix one-half teaspoon each of lemon juice, ginger juice, mint juice and honey together. Take this once a day.
4. Almond Oil
Almond oil, known for its emollient and deep tissue absorption properties, is used mainly for external hemorrhoid treatment. Dip a cotton ball in pure almond oil and apply it on the affected area. It moisturizes and eases inflammation, and will relieve the burning and itching sensation in and around the anus. Do this several times a day.
5. Olive Oil
Olive oil has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is used primarily to treat external hemorrhoids. It will help increase the elasticity of blood vessels, which in turn will help reduce inflammation and shrink the size of swollen blood vessels in the anal canal.
Consume one teaspoon of olive oil daily. It will help reduce inflammation and the monounsaturated fats will improve the functionality of the excretory system.
Crush the juice out of some plum leaves and add it to olive oil. Apply this mixture on your hemorrhoids. It will give you relief from the pain and swelling.
6. Whole Grains
Start eating whole grain products if you suffer from hemorrhoids. Whole grain products contain a good amount of fiber, which is highly effective in relieving hemorrhoid symptoms and bleeding.
This nutrient helps clean out the gastrointestinal system, preventing constipation and allowing the colon to work more efficiently. Fiber-rich foods can soften stool and increase its bulk, which helps reduce straining during bowel movements. Some of the best whole grain products are oats, barley, maize, brown rice, millet, quinoa and buckwheat.
7. Witch Hazel
The mild astringent and healing properties of witch hazel will help ease the discomforts associated with hemorrhoids. The astringent property can help shrink inflamed blood vessels, relieving pain, itching and swelling.
Soak a cotton ball in undistilled witch hazel and apply it to the hemorrhoids. Do this at least three times daily.
Alternatively, you can buy medicated pads that contain witch hazel. These moist wiping pads can be used in lieu of or in combination with toilet paper. This is a good way to protect the anus from irritation and microorganisms.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
Due to the astringent properties of apple cider vinegar, it helps shrink swollen blood vessels and gives relief from swelling and irritation of both internal and external hemorrhoids. Be sure to use unfiltered and unpasteurized vinegar for faster results.
In the case of external hemorrhoids, gently press a cotton ball soaked in apple cider vinegar against the inflamed area. Initially there will be a stinging sensation, but soon you will get relief from the itching and irritation. Do this several times a day until the swelling decreases.
In the case of internal hemorrhoids, add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink it at least twice daily. You can add honey to make it taste better.
9. Black Tea Bags
Tannic acid present in tea is a kind of natural astringent that will help reduce swelling and pain associated with hemorrhoids.
Wet a black tea bag in hot water. Remove it from the water and let it cool slightly. Apply the warm, wet tea bag to the swollen veins for about 10 minutes. Do this two or three times a day.
Alternatively, you can apply cold, used tea bags to the hemorrhoids for five to 10 minutes.
When suffering from either internal or external hemorrhoids, increase your water intake. Try to drink eight to 10 glasses of water per day.
Adequate water intake helps cleanse your internal system and hydrates your entire body. It also facilitates bowel movements and keeps the stools soft, hopefully reducing the need for straining.
When you don’t drink enough water and other fluids, the process of flushing waste out of the body slows down and there can be a backlog in the bowel. The end result is hard stools, which will make the problem of hemorrhoids worse.
If you have hemorrhoids that are persistent, lead to severe bleeding or recur frequently, consult a doctor.