If you’re among the 1 in 20 Americans with hemorrhoids, take note. At-home interventions can help you find relief from these painful, itchy, and swollen veins in your rectum and anus.
Here are some tips for managing hemorrhoids offered by the team of surgeons at Lakeland Surgical Clinic, PLLC in Jackson, Mississippi.
Constipation can lead to the development of hemorrhoids and make existing ones worse. Eat plenty of fiber from whole-grain breads, cereals, fresh fruit, and veggies. If you have trouble getting enough fiber from food, try a supplement. We can recommend the best one for you.
Strive to stay hydrated, too. The fluid helps your stool move smoothly through your system. Exercise is also key to staying regular; aim, at minimum, for 20-30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity efforts like a brisk walk or bicycle ride.
Shallow warm baths help soothe tender hemorrhoids. Fill a bathtub with just a few inches of warm water and soak for about 15 minutes, up to three times per day. Pat yourself dry (don’t rub) or even use a hairdryer for a more gentle approach.
Some drugstores sell sitz baths that sit directly on your toilet seat, making these soaks easier.
Use ice packs or witch hazel
A small cold pack reduces swelling and dulls pain.
Topical application of wipes or creams containing witch hazel can also ease your discomfort.
Resist the urge to scratch
Although hemorrhoids itch, don’t respond by scratching. You could tear the skin and make the irritation worse.
Wear loose cotton underwear that keeps your backside aired out.
Find an alternative to toilet paper
Toilet paper can be irritating, so use pre-moistened wipes or cotton balls. Baby wipes are always an option, too.
Sit minimally and softly
Use a pillow or cushion if you’re faced with a hard surface. The softness supports the hemorrhoids and may prevent others from forming.
And, when you do sit (even on a cushion), get up every 30-60 minutes and walk around. Chronic sitting is bad for hemorrhoids and your health.
When to get medical help
If these home care measures don’t help your hemorrhoids improve after a week or so, it’s time to consult with one of our specialists to find out how we can help you.
You should also reach out if you notice rectal bleeding along with your hemorrhoids. The bleeding could occur due to the irritation, but if you also have a change in stool consistency or color, it could indicate another underlying condition.
Severe hemorrhoids accompanied by painful clots may require surgical removal or surgical stapling to relieve your symptoms.
Make a call to Lakeland Surgical Clinic, PLLC, in Jackson, Mississippi, to schedule an appointment if you need help with hemorrhoid care. You may also request an appointment using the online scheduler.