Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, occur when the veins in the rectum and anus become inflamed and swollen. In many cases, hemorrhoids go away on their own, but other times they may cause lingering pain, bleeding, discomfort and itching. Many over-the-counter treatments are available, but home remedies often work equally well for relieving pain and speeding the healing process. If your symptoms do not improve within two weeks, however, consult your doctor immediately for further treatment.
Distilled witch hazel extract, available at drug stores and natural health stores, may help shrink hemorrhoids and alleviate pain when applied topically, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Many over-the-counter medicated pads formulated for hemorrhoids contain witch hazel, as the herb cools and soothes inflamed tissue. For the best results, soak a clean cotton cloth in witch hazel extract and apply directly to the affected area several times a day as needed for pain relief. Adding 1/4 cup witch hazel to 4 or 5 inches of bath water and soaking for 15 minutes at a time up to three times a day also provides relief.
Butcher’s broom, an astringent herb often used to treat inflammation, may expedite the healing of painful hemorrhoids, according to Bill Gottlieb in his book “Alternative Cures.” Make a hemorrhoid ointment by combining 10 to 15 drops butcher’s broom tincture or the powder from five capsules with 1/4 cup beeswax. Apply the ointment generously to the area of discomfort as often as necessary to relieve pain. If desired, add 2 to 3 drops vitamin E oil to the ointment to help speed healing. While using the ointment, taking butcher’s broom supplements may also help heal hemorrhoids from the inside. Take two 200mg capsules three times a day for the best results.
Epsom Salt Sitz Bath
A sitz bath, or a bath in which the hips and buttocks are submerged in water, soothes the pain caused by hemorrhoids. Simply using warm water may provide relief, but adding Epsom salts helps constrict hemorrhoids, according to the Reader’s Digest Association in the book ” 1,801 Home Remedies.” Fill the bathtub with 4 to 5 inches of warm water, add 1/2 cup Epsom salts, and then sit in the water with your knees raised for at least 10 minutes. The warm water increases blood flow to the affected area, which also helps shrink swollen veins. You can purchase a sitz bath basin at your local pharmacy if you don’t want to fill up the bathtub for each application. Repeat the treatment once or twice a day as needed to relieve pain.
Vitamin C Bath
In her book “Healing Remedies,” Lydia Wilen recommends using vitamin C to speed the healing process of painful hemorrhoids. Fill the bathtub with cool water and add 1 cup ascorbic acid powder for each 5 quarts of bath water. You can find ascorbic acid powder at your local health food store or in some drugstores. Sit in the tub for 15 minutes at a time, two or three times a day. If you have a sitz bath basin, use 1/2 cup ascorbic acid powder to 2 1/2 quarts cool water and sit in the solution for 15 minutes at a time.
About this Author
Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe’s work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.