What are two types of hemorrhoids?
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 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 help 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 is can reduce irritation, 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.
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NIH. Treatment of Hemorrhoids. October 2016. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/hemorrhoids/treatment