Hemorrhoids, commonly known as piles, are perhaps one of the most uncomfortable conditions in anybody’s life. Hemorrhoids are blood vessels found in the walls of the anus and rectum. They are part of body anatomy and control bowel movements. But sometimes due to issues, like irregular bowel movement, constipation, sedentary lifestyle, pregnancy, and other causes, Hemorrhoids swell and get irritated when feces leave the body. They usually resolve on their own but can become an issue only when they begin to swell, causing itching, pain, and bleeding. The last resort in such cases is surgery. During its early stages, people often ask how to get rid of Hemorrhoids naturally? Natural Hemorrhoid treatment options include usage of witch hazel wipes, sitz baths with apple cider vinegar, essential oils, apple cider vinegar, etc. Changing your lifestyle for good and inclusion of fibrous foods, such as avocados, figs, lentils, Rutin, flax seeds, chia seeds, quinoa, etc., in your diet plan can provide you a lot of relief from Hemorrhoids symptoms.
A hemorrhoid is very common and can occur to anyone. When ignored, it can develop and start causing severe discomfort and pain. Let us see how to get rid of Hemorrhoid in detail and answer common related questions such as what do hemorrhoids look like, what do hemorrhoids feel like, etc.
What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are essentially blood vessels which are located in the smooth muscles of the walls of the rectum and anus. Hemorrhoids form a part of our normal anatomy and are situated in the arteriovenous junction, which helps in controlling bowel movement.
They become problematic when they get enlarged (swell) and cause symptoms such as bleeding, itching, mucus discharge, and pain.
Their location classifies Hemorrhoids in accordance to the pectinate line, which is an essential anatomic distinction because of different cells that line Hemorrhoid.
What are the types of Hemorrhoids?
Internal Hemorrhoids are located above the pectinate line and are covered with cells which form the lining of the intestines. Sometimes an internal Hemorrhoid prolapse, as it leaves the rectum and extends past the anus protruding from the body.
This prolapse puts pressure on the nerve endings around the anus (1). Prolapsed internal Hemorrhoids tend to get painful with time. Prolapsed Hemorrhoids feel like puffy skin pads with reddish pink appearance.
Often, they recede into the rectum on their own, but sometimes surgical intervention is necessary.
External Hemorrhoids are located below the pectinate line and are covered with cells which resemble the skin. A thrombosed Hemorrhoid is a type of external Hemorrhoid which has prolapsed and formed a clot.
Thrombosed Hemorrhoid is very painful as they become swollen, may turn purple or blue, and burst during defecation (2).It is best to avoid irritation around the perianal region and keep it as clean as possible.
Surgery will be required if the pain becomes excruciating and it turns uncomfortable to sit.
What causes Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are seen more commonly in pregnant women because the enlarging uterus puts pressure against the veins in the colon, causing it to swell. The extra weight of the uterus during pregnancy also puts pressure on the rectal veins.
Hormonal changes also cause hemorrhoidal vessels to expand. Constipation is common among pregnant women; all these factors together lead to Hemorrhoids.
Irregular bowel movements
Strained bowel movement, taking too long or too much force, also contribute to the development of Hemorrhoids. Postponing or delaying the bowel movement, if adopted as a habit contributes to the development of Hemorrhoids.
Frequently controlling the urge to defecate leads to drying of fecal matter within the intestines and gradual hardening. Postponing bowel movements leads to straining, and consequently, lead to Hemorrhoids (3).
Diarrhea and constipation
Chronic constipation requires straining to pass the stool which puts additional pressure on the walls of the blood vessel. Constipation also leads to hardening of stools, which irrevocably results in Hemorrhoids.
Diarrhea causes an increase in the bowel movements where stools might be watery. The excess stool discharge damages the veins around anus and rectum due to excess and continuous pressure during defecation and leads to Hemorrhoids.
Diet lacking fiber and fluids
A diet that mainly comprises of processed food, junk food, food with high trans fat content is a major contributing factor that causes Hemorrhoids. Also, consumption of refined flour, animal proteins, and low-fiber carbohydrates leads to a decline in roughage.
Processed food lack fiber which is essential for motility, the lack of which causes the stools to harden and difficult to pass.
Diseases such as rectal cancer cause you to defecate which puts too much pressure on the rectal veins due to unnecessary and frequent straining. Consequently, this leads to swollen and grouchy Hemorrhoids.
An inactive and sedentary lifestyle which lacks agility causes muscles to lose their elasticity. Lack of flexibility poses a significant threat to the smooth bowel movement, leading to straining, which causes Hemorrhoids.
The onset of obesity invites a lot of problems, and Hemorrhoids are one of them. Too much weight applies pressure on the pelvic veins, causing Hemorrhoids.
- Staying in a seated position in a toilet for long periods of time can cause Hemorrhoids.
- Anal intercourse puts excessive pressure on the muscles which will cause new Hemorrhoids to worsen existing ones.
- Hemorrhoids are most common among adults aged 45 to 65 years and toddlers who are still in the potty training stage.
- Genetics also play a role in causing Hemorrhoids as the weak wall of veins may be inherited.
How to prevent Hemorrhoids?
The risk of developing Hemorrhoids is significantly reduced when stools are kept soft. Eating plenty of foods rich in fiber, such fruits, and vegetables, as well as whole grains will help soften the stool.
Similarly, drinking plenty of fluids and staying hydrated will also help keep stools soft. Include horse Chestnuts, Buttermilk, black plum, prunes, pomegranate fruit juice, dry fig, probiotics are cheese, yogurt, sauerkraut, etc. in your diet.
When using the toilet, avoid straining. Also, avoid sitting on the commode for an extended period creates pressure in the veins of the rectum which leads to swelling of Hemorrhoids.
Delaying the use of toilet and making it a habit will lead to hardening and drying of stools which results in straining during defecation.
Adequate physical activity
Sitting or standing for extended periods puts pressure on the veins. Regular exercise, swimming, and other physical activities help stool move through the bowel, so bowel movements tend to get more regular.
Sedentary lifestyle leading to obesity increases the chances of Hemorrhoids.
Conventional Hemorrhoid treatment
Over the counter, topical creams and ointments or suppositories, which contain hydrocortisone provide relief from itching (5). Ice packs and cold compresses on the area may help with the swelling.
A sitz bath using warm water will alleviate the burning or itching symptoms. Pain medication such as aspirin, ibuprofen will provide relief from pain.
Hemorrhoid treatment options that are natural
Witch hazel is one of the most popular Hemorrhoid treatment. Witch hazel has astringent properties which help in reducing the swelling of Hemorrhoid veins which start shrinking (6).
It has active ingredient tannin which offers anti-inflammatory properties and reduces symptoms such as irritation, bleeding, and burning sensation.
Soak some cotton balls in witch hazel liquid and apply these cotton balls to the affected area. Repeat the process each time you defecate. Alternatively, you can also opt for witch hazel pads or wipes.
Sitz bath is an excellent home remedy for patients suffering from Hemorrhoids. In sitz bath, the patient sits in the lukewarm water to ease the pain around the perianal area and the rectum. Sitz bath increases blood circulation and accelerates the healing process.
It also alleviates symptoms such as itching, irritation, and minor pain (7). Fill some water in a shallow tub, probably up to 2-3 inches. The temperature of the water should be lukewarm, sit in the water for about 15-20 minutes.
You can also use essential oil, Epsom salt or baking soda in the bath. Repeat it after every bowel movement.
The essential oil is one of the best remedies for Hemorrhoids. Soak the essential oil and apply it on the affected area after every bowel movement. You can also dilute it with coconut or olive oil.
It possesses anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive properties pertaining to active compounds flavonoids, terpenoids. It not only reduces the swelling in Hemorrhoids but also has a numbing effect, reducing the pain. It also boosts the immune system and improves the blood circulation.
Tea tree oil has potent anti-inflammatory properties which help toning tissues and dilating the blood vessels. The active ingredient terpinol works effectively to reduce the inflammation and discomfort associated with Hemorrhoids.
It has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, astringent, and healing properties. It helps in relieving pain and agitation caused due to Hemorrhoids. It also accelerates the growth of new and healthy tissues.
It pisses its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial, antiseptic properties. The active ingredient mainly consists of menthol contributes to a soothing effect Hemorrhoid. It also aids in reducing the pain and swelling.
This essential oil is famous as a stimulating, balancing, purifying, restoring, cleansing, and revitalizing agent. It helps prevent the itching and pain accompanying Hemorrhoids.
Incorporating coconut oil in your diet can significantly help you to put an end to constipation and diarrhea caused by bacteria. It also provides lubrication to the rectum. Coconut oil when applied topically decreases the inflammation and produces a soothing effect on the blood vessels which accelerates the healing process (8).
Coconut oil contains molecules of medium chain fatty acids that give great relief from the delayed bowel movements and indigestion. Coconut oil helps reduce the pain and agitation in the affected region.
Transfer some virgin coconut oil to the cotton and apply it to Hemorrhoids for about 5 to 10 minutes for 3 to 4 times a day. Alternatively, you can also include coconut oil in your diet.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is perhaps one of the best natural remedies to get rid of Hemorrhoids. It possesses anti-inflammatory and astringent properties due to the presence of lactic and malic acid.
It causes the Hemorrhoids to shrink by decreasing the inflammation and significantly reduces agitation of the skin (9). The method of applying apple cider vinegar varies with the type of Hemorrhoid. Also, apple cider vinegar is consumed orally for treating the internal Hemorrhoids.
The process can be repeated every day until the symptoms associated with the Hemorrhoids subside. Sitz bath and topical application are more useful for the treatment of external Hemorrhoids.
Psyllium is a type of soluble fiber which helps soften the stool and ensures smoother movement. It also contains various amino acids, proteins, tannins, oils, and flavonoids which keeps constipation at bay and reduces the excess pressure exerted on the veins (10).
Psyllium is available as husk or seeds. Mix one teaspoon of psyllium seeds with 8 ounces of water and drink it empty stomach.
Repeat the procedure till desired results occur. You can also increase the frequency in subsequent weeks to prevent stool hardening and gradually taper the dose.
Epsom salt is a compound of magnesium and sulfate which is absorbed by the skin. The magnesium present in the Epsom salts stimulates the proper functioning of enzymes present in the body.
It also prevents blood vessels from hardening, reduces inflammation, and helps the muscles and fibers of the nerves to function efficiently.
The sulfate present in Epsom salt aids the proper absorption of nutrients and helps detox the body. Regular Epsom salt baths decrease the swelling in the perianal area along with reducing the pain. It also heals the damaged and bleeding Hemorrhoids.
Black tea bags
A black tea bag has proven useful in the treatment of Hemorrhoids. The tannic acid present in the tea has astringent properties which play a vital role in the treatment of Hemorrhoids. It proves efficacious for reducing the swelling and pain caused by the Hemorrhoids.
Tea also has antioxidants and flavonoids Take a cup of lukewarm water and dip a black tea bag in it. Apply the warm and wet tea bag to the affected area and leave it for at least 10 minutes. Repeat the procedure twice daily till the symptoms are alleviated.
The pure aloe vera gel is glycoproteins and polysaccharides which reduces inflammation and helps to ease the pain. It also aids in stimulating skin repair. Both of these compounds help reduce swelling around the perianal region.
The active ingredient, anthraquinone glycosides acts as a laxative and helps soften the stools and smoothens the bowel movements. Massage fresh aloe vera generously on the rectum and perianal area. Repeat the procedure for two to three times in a week.
Aloe vera gives instant relief from pain, itching, and irritation, along with decreasing the swelling. Alternatively, you can consume aloe vera juice every day.
Flax seeds are a rich source of both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. The high amount of fiber in flax seeds acts as a stool softener and helps in smoother bowel movement. This prevents constipation and causes less straining.
It can be either ground or eaten as a whole. Consuming whole flax seeds is not beneficial as our body is unable to process it completely. Ground the flax seed and consume it within 24 hours of grinding. In crushed form, you can take one tablespoon empty stomach, followed by lukewarm water.
Rutin has proven to be extremely beneficial in curing Hemorrhoids. Rutin is a form of complex sugar primarily found in buckwheat, blackberries, prunes, apricots, cherries, and citrus fruits such as lemon, oranges, and limes.
It helps strengthen the blood vessels and capillaries which aids in the healing process. You can include the fruits rich in rutin or consume rutin capsules orally.
Garlic exhibits anti-inflammatory, bactericidal, astringent, and detoxifying properties. It is rich in amino acids, minerals, and peroxidases. The active ingredients alliinase myrosinase boosts the blood circulation and providing rapid healing.
It is also an excellent source of sulfur, which helps reduce the inflammation and itching with Hemorrhoids. Fry fresh garlic cloves in coconut oil and apply the warm oil around the perianal area and leave it overnight. Repeat the procedure till symptoms are alleviated.
Final words on natural Hemorrhoid treatment options
Prevention is the best treatment for Hemorrhoids because once established the chances of recurrence is reasonably high. Lead a healthy lifestyle and eat a lot of fibrous foods to get rid of Hemorrhoids in the early stages.
Also, people suffering from this condition should stay hydrated and avoid delaying and straining during bowel movements. There are also pads which contain witch hazel or a numbing agent, apply that post every bowel moment. Sitz bath is also an excellent remedy.