Hemorrhoids Treatment: What Works?

Many hemorrhoids ease up independently, especially if you are well-hydrated and avoid straining during a bowel movement. Consider using soft and gentle wipes instead of rough toilet paper for a more soothing and comfortable experience after a bowel movement. Applying ice can be highly effective for immediate relief of the affected area.

You can also soothe inflammation with ointments and creams that contain witch hazel, lidocaine, or hydrocortisone. Or try sitting in a warm bath, called a sitz bath, several times a day.

Over-the-Counter Ointments

Hemorrhoids are a frequent disorder that causes pain, swelling, itching, and even bleeding from enlarged veins in the anal canal. Over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams and suppositories containing zinc oxide, witch hazel, hydrocortisone, and lidocaine can relieve relief. However, these medications do not cure hemorrhoids, only mask symptoms, and can thin the skin if used over a long period.

Home treatments that can ease itching and pain include sitz baths (filling a tub with water and sitting in it with your legs bent for 10 to 15 minutes, two or three times a day) and cold compresses (holding an ice pack against the area for a few minutes twice daily). In some cases, hemorrhoids get better on their own. If they don’t, a colorectal surgeon can treat them with rubber band ligation or sclerosant injection. Both hemorrhoids treatment procedures work by cutting off the blood supply to internal hemorrhoids, which causes them to shrink. They can be performed in a doctor’s office or an outpatient clinic.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

You can soothe pain, itching, and swelling from external hemorrhoids with creams, ointments, or suppositories (medicine that you put in your rectum) made for the condition. These usually contain drugs such as lidocaine to numb the area, hydrocortisone, or witch hazel to reduce swelling and itching.

You may also find relief from a sitz bath, in which you sit in a bowl that fits over your toilet for about 20 minutes to soak and soothe the anal area. Add baking soda or Epsom salts for a soothing bath to relieve irritation and inflammation.

A surgery known as rubber band ligation, in which the doctor wraps a little rubber band around an internal hemorrhoid to cut off its blood supply and force it to shrink and come out in approximately a week, maybe tried by your doctor if over-the-counter medicines prove ineffective. This treatment works best for prolapsed hemorrhoids, which have pushed out from the anus.

In some cases, a doctor, most often a surgeon, may need to perform a hemorrhoidectomy under anesthesia to remove large external or prolapsed internal hemorrhoids that don’t respond to other treatments. This surgery requires a few weeks of recovery.

Over-the-Counter Coagulants

Using creams, ointments, or suppositories (medicine you put in your rectum) explicitly made for hemorrhoids can help soothe the pain and itching of external hemorrhoids. These often contain hydrocortisone, witch hazel, or other ingredients to reduce itching and swelling. However, it would help if you used these for less than a week. Prolonged usage of the steroid hydrocortisone may raise the risk of rectal bleeding. This steroid can thin your skin.

A doctor should examine hemorrhoids that haven’t improved after two or three weeks. They might recommend rubber band ligation, which involves placing an elastic band over the hemorrhoid to stop the blood supply and cause it to shrink, or sclerosant injection. Changing your lifestyle habits to promote regularity may also help with hemorrhoid management. For example, eat more fiber to soften stool and avoid straining. Avoid irritants like perfumed detergents or fabric softeners, and wash with an unscented soap or a gentle wipe.

Surgery

A few weeks of a high-fiber diet and lots of water usually give hemorrhoids time to shrink independently without requiring invasive treatment. But if swollen veins persist, causing pain, protrusion, or bleeding, it’s time to see your doctor for more options.

Hemorrhoids are brought on by straining during bowel movements and sitting on the toilet for extended periods, both of which compress blood vessels. Eating a healthy, high-fiber diet, drinking plenty of water, and using over-the-counter pain relievers usually reduce or eliminate symptoms and prevent future flare-ups.

In some cases, a surgical procedure called rubber band ligation or infrared coagulation may be necessary. These methods are quick and effective, reducing or eliminating the hemorrhoids and their symptoms in about a week. They are also safer and have a lower recurrence rate than other surgery, such as excisional hemorrhoidectomy. However, this procedure should only be done under anesthesia. It can be painful and is associated with a higher risk of postprocedure bleeding.

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