An estimated 75% of Americans will suffer from hemorrhoids at some point. Most important to remember when talking about your pelvic floor is that it is made up of muscle. And I think we can agree that straining any muscle is not healthy for it or any surrounding tissue. So the #1 natural remedy would be to avoid straining or damaging the area in the first place. Common causes of hemorrhoids, such as chronic constipation and repetitive straining can be avoided. Yet, not always avoidable, such as during prolonged pushing with vaginal delivery, here are some ideas to treat it naturally before electing for surgical interventions which can negatively affect the strength and coordination of the muscle at the anal sphincter. It is important to listen to your body and talk with your healthcare team to help you make the best decision for you.
Prevention first: Be aware of your habits and how they affect ease of bowel movements.
- Exercise in ways that you enjoy ideally 30 minutes 3-5 times a week
- Eat a rainbow. It is recommended that we eat 25-35 grams of fiber a day, balancing soluble and insoluble fiber. ” Studies suggest that plant fibers such as psyllium husk can reduce the frequency of bleeding.”
- Sip water throughout the day
- Avoid sitting all day
- Don’t delay the urge to poop
- Avoid “hyper-wiping.” While it is important to clean the area of stool constant wiping and itching can create more problems.
- Be relaxed and don’t rush when toileting. Try slow deep breathing instead of straining.
Try these after checking with your medical team:
- Warm baths with Epsom Salt can help soothe the irritation. Try a sitz bath, which is a small plastic tub that fits over a toilet seat, or take a full-body bath in your tub. “According Harvard Health, taking a warm bath for 20 minutes after every bowel movement will be most effective. Adding Epsom salts to the bath can provide further relief by reducing pain.”
- Witch hazel is a natural anti-inflammatory and can reduce itching and pain- two main symptoms of hemorrhoids. It can be purchased in liquid form and applied directly to the hemorrhoids. It can also be found in products like anti-itch wipes and soaps.
- Aloe Vera used in its pure gel form, historically is known to effectively treat hemorrhoids and other vulvar and rectal skin conditions. It can help relieve inflammation. “Although there isn’t enough clinical evidence on the effectiveness of aloe vera gel for hemorrhoids, the National Center for Complimentary and Integrated HealthTrusted Source lists it as likely very safe for topical use. The gel can be found as an ingredient in other products, but you should only use pure aloe vera gel on hemorrhoids.”
- Cold Compresses can help immediately soothe discomfort, especially with larger hemorrhoids. Apply ice packs (such a bag of frozen peas) or cold compresses (such as a frozen gel pack) to the anus (over clothes and/or towels) to relieve swelling for 10-15 minutes at a time. Never apply frozen objects directly to your skin
- Soothing Wipes can give relief or avoid further skin irritation and breakdown. Avoid wipes that have irritating additives such as alcohol or perfume. Give the skin time to airdry after wiping.
- Wear cotton and more loose fitting clothes to keep the anal area clean and dry. Wearing cotton underwear and pants and avoiding clothes with irritating seams during flare-ups can potentially reduce symptoms. Avoid using perfumed detergents or fabric softeners as this can further irritate already irritated tissues.