“I saw a sign one time that said 'hemorrhoids awareness week' at the doctor's office. Let me tell you, if you got hemorrhoids, I'm sure you are aware of it” – Movie quote
Life with hemorrhoids can be dismal. People always make fun of them, but they are no laughing matter – if left untreated, they can cause chronic blood loss, tissue death and even colorectal or anal cancer.
The good news? It is easy to treat hemorrhoids with simple, natural ingredients. Read on to learn about some proven home remedies for hemorrhoids!
Causes of Hemorrhoids
The veins around the anus tend to stretch when they are under pressure and may swell up. Hemorrhoids are actually swollen veins around the anus.
They can develop from increased pressure in the lower rectum due to obesity, straining during bowel movements, pregnancy, lack of physical activity, sitting for long periods of time on the toilet, low-fibre diet, chronic diarrhoea or constipation, anal intercourse, food allergies, heavy lifting, gravity, family history, and prolonged standing or sitting for occupational reasons.
They tend to occur more frequently as you get older because the tissues that support the veins weaken and stretch with time.
Signs and Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
Obviously you are not going to be able to see them – if you could, your hemorrhoids wouldn’t be the issue at focus – and you’re not likely to get anyone else to look at them either, so please keep reading to find out what the signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids are!
- Painless bleeding during bowel movements — there may be small amounts of bright red blood in the toilet or on the tissue paper
- Pain or discomfort
- Swelling around your anus
- Itching or irritation in the rectal and anal region
- A lump near the anus, which may be painful to touch.
Generally, hemorrhoid symptoms depend on where the hemorrhoid is. There are three types of hemorrhoids: internal, external and, in the worst case, thrombosed.
Internal hemorrhoids are located inside the rectum. You usually can't feel them and they rarely cause discomfort. Straining during bowel movement or irritation can damage a hemorrhoid's surface, making it bleed.
Sometimes straining can push internal hemorrhoid out through the anus. This is very painful.
External hemorrhoids are located under the skin in the anal region. When irritated, these itch and bleed.
When blood pools in external hemorrhoid, a clot or thrombus can form, resulting in severe pain, inflammation, swelling and a hard lump near the anus. This is a thrombosed hemorrhoid.
The most common sign is bleeding during a bowel movement, but that does not in itself mean that you have hemorrhoids.
When are hemorrhoids more than just a pain in the ass?
If you are over 40 and are experiencing a dramatic change in bowel habits or your stools change colour, you should see a doctor. The doctor will do a physical examination and other tests to establish if the bleeding is due to hemorrhoids or not.
Rectal bleeding can occur with other diseases, including anal and colorectal cancer.
If you experience heavy rectal bleeding or feel lightheaded and faint, you may need emergency medical assistance.
If you do have “just” hemorrhoids, read on and try some of our quick and easy home remedies!
1. Ice – Yes, it IS that easy
The first and most highly recommended home remedy is ice. It will help reduce swelling and provide immediate pain relief. When you apply ice on the anal region, it numbs the area while reducing inflammation at the same time.
Ice anesthetizes the entire rectal region so that you don’t feel pain. It is also recommended to apply this home remedy right after a warm sitting (sitz) bath. The warm water makes the anal veins wider, and the cold contracts them. By alternating these, you will help your veins become stronger and more elastic, ultimately doing away with the hemorrhoids.
This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get rid of irritation and pain.
- An ice pack or ice cubes
- A clean cotton cloth
Wrap the ice pack or cubes in the cloth and apply to the affected area for about 10 minutes. Do this several times a day, every day until you feel relief. You can use a small pack of frozen vegetables instead of ice – if you choose this option the compress has to stay on for twice as long, i.e. around 20 minutes, four times a day.
Note: If your symptoms do not go away within ten days, try another one of our home remedies or see a doctor.
2. Lemon Juice – Immediate Relief
Lemon juice contains various nutrients that can provide relief from hemorrhoids by making the capillaries and blood vessel walls stronger. They have a myriad of amazing health benefits, among which treatment of throat infections, dental problems, indigestion, constipation, bleeding, rheumatism, obesity, respiratory disorders, high blood pressure and even cholera.
Lemon juice also benefits the hair and skin. It helps purify the blood, strengthen the immune system and cleanse your stomach.
The health benefits of lemons are due to its many nutritious properties. It contains loads of vitamin C, protein, iron, zinc, copper, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium and much more.
- The juice of one lemon
- ·A cup of milk
Squeeze the lemon into the cup of hot milk and drink it. Do this five times a day for best results. Alternatively, you can mix one-half teaspoon of lemon juice, honey, ginger juice and mint juice and take this once a day.
3. Aloe Vera – The Gift of Nature
Aloe vera is one of the best natural ingredients for treating hemorrhoids. The therapeutic and anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera help reduce the pain hemorrhoids cause. Aloe vera can be used for all three types of hemorrhoids.
Required ingredients for external hemorrhoid remedy
- Gel from real natural aloe vera
Apply a little bit of aloe vera gel to your anal region and slowly massage it in. This simple remedy will provide relief from the pain and minimize the burning sensation.
Required ingredients for internal hemorrhoid remedy
- Aloe vera leaf strips
Cut some aloe vera leaves in strips / slices and freeze them. Apply the icy slices to the painful hemorrhoid to reduce the burning, pain and itching.
Note: Do make sure that you cut off the thorn-like parts of the plant! If you forget, it’ll make your pain worse.
4. Almond and Olive Oil – a Delight for the Senses
Almond oil, known for its deep tissue absorption and emollient properties, is used mainly to treat external hemorrhoids. Dip a cotton ball in almond oil and apply it on the anus. It will moisturize and relieve inflammation, and will stop the burning and itching sensation in and around the rectal area. Do this several times a day.
Olive oil has a host of amazing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is also used mainly for treatment of external hemorrhoids. Olive oil and almond oil pack a double whammy! Olive oil helps increase the elasticity of blood vessels, thereby minimizing inflammation and shrinking the swollen blood vessels around the anus and in the rectal canal.
- One teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
- One teaspoon of pure almond oil
Mix the two teaspoons of oils and drink several times a day. This will also help treat the inflammation. The monounsaturated fats in the oils will also aid the excretory system.
Note: You can also crush the juice out of some plum leaves and add it to the almond and olive oil. Apply this mixture in the affected area for fast relief from the pain and swelling.
5. Witch Hazel Is a Great Astringent
Witch hazel is a natural astringent and proven home remedy that works. Its healing properties will help ease the pain and discomfort hemorrhoids cause. The astringent property can help reduce the size of inflamed blood vessels, relieving itching, swelling and pain.
- Undistilled witch hazel
Soak a cotton ball in the witch hazel and apply it to the painful area. Do this at least four times daily.
Note: You can also purchase medicated pads that contain witch hazel. These moist wiping pads can be used with or instead of toilet paper. This is a great way to protect the anus from bacterial infection and irritation.
6. Chamomile – Can’t do without it
Chamomile has a host of curative properties. It is a natural tonic, calms the nerves, improves digestion, and treats rheumatism and inflammation. Chamomile is very effective in relieving hemorrhoids – read on to learn more!
- 10 grams of powdered chamomile
- The petals of two roses
- 250 milliliters of wheat germ oil
- 20 grams of bee wax
- 20 grams of lanolin
Put the oil, chamomile and rose petals in a pot and cook them on slow heat for about an hour. Strain the mix and then add the bee wax and lanolin to it. The ointment should be kept in a sterilized jar with hot boiled water until it cools to room temperature and becomes solid. Apply on your hemorrhoids once a day until the pain is gone.
Remedy 2: Chamomile Infusion
This is great pain relief. This tried and true remedy relieves irritation and makes the hemorrhoids go away.
- A handful of chamomile flowers
- Two litres of water
Prepare a chamomile infusion by adding the flowers to the boiling water. Let it set for 10 minutes. Then filter it and mix with the warm water from the bidet. Take one 15-minute bath daily until you feel improvement.
You can also wet a chamomile tea bag in hot water, then let it cool and apply to your hemorrhoids for about 10 minutes. Do this three times a day until you feel better.
7. And Saving the Best for Last…Coconut Oil!
Coconut oil has many uses, and it is a fantastically effective home remedy for hemorrhoids.
Coconut oil is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, which is why it is the perfect internal and topical method of soothing pain and quick healing.
- Natural coconut oil
Apply it to the affected area several times a day to reduce the pain and swelling. We have been told that hemorrhoids heal within days as a result.
Alternatively, you should try to consume as much coconut oil as possible. It kills “bad” bacteria that can cause indigestion, diarrhoea, constipation, and other digestive problems.
How to Prevent Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are more likely to afflict people with infrequent bowel movements. To avoid this, stock up on fiber! Adding fiber to the diet recommended by both GPs and gastroenterologists. On the downside, you’ll get more gas, but I think that’s worth chancing.
Try to eat at least 30 grams of fiber per day. Below are some super sources of fiber:
- Raspberries, apples, pears and bananas
- Lentils, black beans, baked beans
- Artichoke, broccoli, peas, Brussels sprouts
- Brown rice, barley, oatmeal, bran flakes
Drink a lot of water and get exercise. Exercise helps colon functions, so that your bowel movements are regular. This is a simple and effective hemorrhoid prevention strategy. However, not all exercise is beneficial - activities that increase abdominal pressure like weightlifting can actually cause hemorrhoids to develop.
Spending excessive time sitting will put pressure on the veins in your rectal area. Moderately intense physical activities like yoga, swimming, or walking are highly recommended by experts.
Adequate hydration is the key to a healthy bowel! Drink a lot of water – this helps prevent constipation and decreases straining as a result. The recommended quantity is around 7 glasses of water a day. Make sure you do this - your body will thank you!
Did you enjoy our list of home remedies for hemorrhoids? Did anything on it surprise you? While they usually aren’t life-threatening, they are aggravating and sometimes you feel like life with them is not worth living. Make sure you try our home remedies, tell us what you think in the comments and share this article so you can help people out there who may, both figuratively and literally speaking, be in deep sh**!