Several nonsurgical treatment methods can relieve hemorrhoid pain, itching, and burning. These include creams, ointments, and suppositories. Drinking water and eating fiber-rich foods can soften stool, improve constipation, and prevent new hemorrhoids from forming. Your provider may use a proctoscope device to find the source of your symptoms and determine whether you have external or internal hemorrhoids. They might also perform a non-surgical procedure, such as rubber band ligation.
Hemorrhoids are caused by pressure on blood vessels in the area of the anus and rectum. They are usually not serious, but if they become inflamed and cause itching, bleeding, or other symptoms, they may need to be treated. Home hemorrhoids treatment, over-the-counter medication, and dietary changes can often relieve mild symptoms. Adding fiber to your diet helps soften the stool and reduce straining. Foods to eat include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
Drinking plenty of water is essential, as it prevents dehydration. If hemorrhoids do not improve with dietary changes, over-the-counter medications, or home treatment, your doctor may recommend rubber band ligation. This minimally invasive office procedure involves the doctor inserting a narrow device (Hemorrhoid Banding Ligator) into the anal canal. This squeezing action cuts off the blood supply to the hemorrhoids and shrinks them over time. It has a 95% success rate and is very effective but painful.
Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
Many patients with mild hemorrhoids can find relief from over-the-counter (OTC) medications. These include gels, ointments, and wipes that contain ingredients such as witch hazel or petroleum jelly to create a protective barrier and numb the area. Other common OTC ingredients are astringents and steroid creams to reduce inflammation, which relieves pain and pressure. Some OTC options contain vasoconstrictors like phenylephrine (added to Preparation-H) that actively shrink inflamed tissue.
In addition, sitz baths are recommended for many patients. Sitting in a tub of water for 20 minutes after a bowel movement can help reduce itching and burning. It’s important to gently pat rather than rub the rectal area after a sitz bath. If dietary changes, OTC medications, and sitz baths don’t relieve your symptoms, it may be time to discuss hemorrhoid treatment with your doctor. Your doctor might recommend a rubber band ligation or sclerotherapy procedure, depending on your symptoms and situation.
A sitz bath is an at-home treatment that can help patients with hemorrhoids. They work by promoting blood flow and loosening muscles. A sitz bath can also recover after an episiotomy and treat certain infections and diseases. A sitz bath can be taken in a plastic basin that attaches to a toilet or bathtub. The water may contain additives like salt or medication to promote healing. Hemorrhoids cause swollen veins in the anus and rectum, and they can increase anal pressure. Sitz baths can help relieve pain and itching and heal swollen blood vessels. Hemorrhoids can also lead to anal fissures, which are tears in the lining of the anus and cause itching, bleeding when you poop, and spasms of the anal sphincter. A warm sitz bath can help relax the anal sphincter and reduce pain and itching.
Regular exercise can expedite healing, while hemorrhoids are itchy, painful, and uncomfortable. Exercise stimulates the area, increases circulation, and strengthens abdominal and rectal muscles. This can reduce itching, improve bowel movements, and prevent future outbreaks. However, specific overly strenuous exercises can worsen the condition, so knowing what activities you can safely undertake is essential. Swimming, water aerobics, and walking are great cardiovascular options that don’t place strain on the anal area. In addition, avoiding straining during bowel movements is critical to preventing new hemorrhoids from developing. This means sitting for shorter periods and trying to avoid squatting or riding a bike while having a bowel movement.
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