Hemorrhoids, also known as Piles, are dilated varicose veins of the anal canal. Increased pressure on the veins of the lower rectum and anus causes the development of hemorrhoids. Putting too much strain during a bowel movement and pregnancy are the most common reasons for such pressure. Basically, there are two types of hemorrhoids: internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids are those that are not visible and are usually painless but may be quite painful once they prolapsed and exited the anal canal. Prolapsed hemorrhoids may not be manually pushed back. External hemorrhoids, on the other hand, are visible brown lumps along the rim of the anus. This type is more painful than other types due to the naturally occurring friction in its location. External hemorrhoids may cause bleeding and itchiness. In some cases, it may deteriorate, thrombosed hemorrhoids, and cause blood clots.
Do Hemorrhoids Go Away on Their Own?
One of the most frequently asked questions regarding this condition is if they go away on their own. Unfortunately, they don’t. However, there are treatment options available to help ease the pain and remove hemorrhoids.
How Long do Hemorrhoids Last?
There is no specific time frame on how long hemorrhoids last. Some may feel better in a week or so while others may be uncomfortable and feel pain longer. The number of times one has had hemorrhoids recur may also determine how long it will take for them to fade. Even so, medical intervention may be required to totally ease the pain and prevent recurrence. Depending on the treatment, hemorrhoids may last up to three weeks or more such as in infrared coagulation. Surgical removal of hemorrhoids, known as Hemorrhoidectomy, make take several weeks to fully heal. The fastest way for hemorrhoid to heal is through ligation which may only take 7-10 days.
Tips that You Can Do to Ease Hemorrhoid Pain:
Easing hemorrhoid pain is always directed towards the management of swelling and reduction of pressure on the anal canal. Here are some helpful tips to relieve hemorrhoid pain:
- High Fiber Diet. According to Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, as cited in Harvard Men’s Health Watch, “the most important thing is to add fiber to your diet.” However, in some cases, supplements may be needed to achieve the daily requirement of 20-30 grams of fiber. One of the most popular brands is Metamucil which is readily available in drugstores. You may also try a supplement that contains wheat dextrin or methylcellulose if you experience bloating with Metamucil.
- Go When You Gotta Go! Delaying bowel movements may worsen hemorrhoids. When you feel the urge, go to the bathroom immediately.
- Allow for easier passage of stools. Use a foot stool to change the position of the rectum, thereby facilitating easier passage of stools.
- Hot Sitz Bath. Soaking the affected area in lukewarm water may cause blood vessels to relax providing instant relief. Doing this for 15-20 minutes daily effectively reduces hemorrhoid pain.
- Lubricate. This technique may only be used for a short period of time as prolonged usage may cause loose bowel movements. Mixing mineral oil with applesauce or yogurt for breakfast will do just the trick.
- OTC products. Over the counter creams such as Preparation H and witch hazel infused pads will help soothe that hemorrhoid pain. Apply directly on the affected area regularly to help reduce itching, pain, and bleeding.
These tips work best with continued application. Consulting a physician is also recommended for even detailed and more appropriate treatments.
Home Remedies to Treat Hemorrhoids:
Most home remedies directly address the cause of pain, which is inflammation. These remedies focus on reducing inflammation for longer pain relief and possible complete healing of hemorrhoids.
- Olive oil. Olive oil is a known anti-inflammatory substance. It acts by relieving pressure on the anal canal, thus, reducing pain during bowel movements. Consume Olive Oil with meals regularly for best results.
- Lemon juice. Another substance known to reduce inflammation is lemon juice. It works best when mixed with ginger and honey. Lemon juice, on its own, may also aid in the treatment of external hemorrhoids. Apply directly on the affected area using cotton balls.
- Tea tree oil. Tea tree oil, as the two above mentioned, has an anti-inflammatory property which is known to cure hemorrhoids. It must always be mixed with another type of oil because it is very strong in nature. Mix 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil with sweet almond oil or castor oil and apply directly on the affected area using cotton balls. Regular use may completely cure hemorrhoids.
- Aloe vera. One of the fastest ways to relieve hemorrhoid pain is through oral consumption or topical application of aloe vera. Drink aloe gel mixed with water and honey for internal hemorrhoids and apply aloe gel directly on the affected area for the external ones.
- Cold compress. Place an ice pack directly over the affected area to relieve pain and itchiness. Cold compress not only has an anesthetic effect but also helps shrink hemorrhoids.
- Apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is very helpful in treating both internal and external hemorrhoids. Apply cotton balls soaked in pure, raw apple cider vinegar directly on the affected area for immediate relief. Consuming 1 tablespoon of vinegar mixed with warm water provides relief from the pain of internal hemorrhoids.
- Hydration. Hemorrhoids may worsen with dehydration. To prevent this, put a vitamin E capsule in the opening of the anus. This will help rehydrate and prevent friction on the affected area. Make sure to use non-medicated or alcohol-free wet tissue when cleaning the area.
- Lifestyle modification. As easy as it may sound, lifestyle is probably one of the most overlooked causes of hemorrhoids. Modifying your lifestyle will help prevent, relieve pain and heal hemorrhoids. Avoid sitting for prolonged periods, stay active and exercise regularly.
In every disease, treatments shall always be specific to an individual. One treatment may work with you but not with another person with the same disease. If this is the case and you have tried all the tips recommended above, consult a doctor about medical procedures to remove or reduce hemorrhoids. Your doctor may give you three choices, two of which are minimally invasive, namely rubber band ligation and laser, infrared or bipolar coagulation. These procedures shrink internal hemorrhoids. Your third option is the surgical removal of hemorrhoids or hemorrhoidectomy.