Has hemorrhoidal pain, itching and burning got you sitting uneasy? Here are 12 tips sure to bring you fast, safe relief. Best of all, you can take care of the symptoms right in your own home.
- Hygiene Helps: To rinse away debris that can cause itching and pain, clean anus thoroughly with gentle soap and a stream of warm water.
- Put it On Ice: To ease painful swelling, apply an ice pack or cold gel pack directly to the anal area.
- Soak Your Sitz Bones: For long-lasting pain relief, sit with knees elevated in a tub with three or four inches of warm water. Doctors recommend sitting no longer than fifteen minutes at a time, but you can take the sitz bath several times per day. Most clinicians do not recommend adding any ingredients to the bath water. However, a hot Epsom salt bath, effective for relieving severe bruising and sprains, may have some benefit for hemorrhoids as well. Adding a quarter to half-cup of salt to the bath will not harm your hemorrhoids, and may give some relief.
- Tea Tree Decree: Vitamin E oil or even plain petrolatum mixed with a drop or two of tea tree oil relieves itching and burning hemorrhoids. Apply with a clean cotton applicator or gloved finger. Tea tree oil gives a pleasant sensation of warmth without burning or stinging. Its antiseptic properties can also help keep an irritated hemorrhoid cleaner and promote faster healing.
- Cushy Tushy: To minimize compression on hemorrhoidal veins while sitting, make a temporary doughnut cushion out of rolled-up towels or blankets.
- Going Commando: Ditch the underpants. Wear loose trousers to maximize comfort and circulation.
- Find Some Fiber: To relieve constipation that can aggravate hemorrhoids, take a stool softener containing psyllium husks or ground flaxseed. Start with one teaspoon nightly followed by a full glass of water. The water is important to prevent choking and/or further constipation from the fiber. With adequate water intake, the fiber will swell, making your next bowel movement larger but softer. No fiber stool softener in the house? Eat fruit with skin: pears, apples, grapes.
- Wash Down Some Water: To continue constipation-free and help heal your hemorrhoids, sip on clear fluids throughout the day.
- Just Say No: Avoid narcotics such as codeine, percocet, and oxycodone. Even though they relieve pain quite effectively, they are notorious for causing constipation. Taking narcotics for hemorrhoid pain will end up making your symptoms even more miserable. So if your doctor prescribes narcotics for hemorrhoid pain, be sure to ask his or her advice on what to drink or take to relieve the resulting constipation.
- Prudent Pain Palliation: Use plain ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) to relieve hemorrhoidal pain. Caution: ibuprofen thins the blood, which may lead to heavier blood on the toilet paper during bowel movements.
- Exertion Assertion: Avoid intense abdominal exercise during flare-ups. These also create abdominal pressure that often aggravates hemorrhoids. Ask a personal trainer or physician for alternative workouts to keep your abs firm. If you must lift anything heavy, ask for help. Remember: don’t hold your breath while lifting–exhale! Exhaling on the « lift » keeps you from creating excess pressure in your abdominal cavity that can make your hemorrhoids bulge and get worse.
- Shun the Runs: Avoid diarrhea during a hemorrhoid flare-up: don’t take laxatives or too much fiber supplement. Bananas, rice, tea and potatoes are all foods that help stop diarrhea.