Hemorrhoids are are lumps inside and around the anus. Remedies for hemorrhoids can include warm baths, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, and lifestyle changes.

Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, often go away on their own without treatment in a couple of weeks.

This article explores several useful home remedies for hemorrhoids, as well as some steps to take to help deal with or avoid hemorrhoids altogether.

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There are many hemorrhoid treatment options available in the home or in the form of OTC medications. Many of the treatment methods involve simply easing the symptoms of the hemorrhoids until they clear up on their own.

1. Warm baths

According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), sitting in a warm water bath may help to ease the pain and itching hemorrhoids cause. People may also use a sitz bath.

Some people also choose to add other ingredients to the bath in order to help reduce symptoms even further. These ingredients can include a cup of Epsom salts.

People should also note that there is no scientific research to support using Epsom salts to treat hemorrhoids.

2. Witch hazel

People should be cautious about what they place on or near hemorrhoids, as they can easily become more inflamed and irritated. Many people apply witch hazel directly to the external hemorrhoids to find relief.

Adding a small amount of pure witch hazel to a cotton ball and dabbing onto the hemorrhoid may provide relief from many symptoms. If this makes symptoms worse, people should try a less direct method.

People should not dilute the witch hazel with alcohol, as this can dry out and irritate the hemorrhoid.

A 2020 study found that combining a medication called micronized purified flavonoid fraction with an ointment containing witch hazel and other herbal extracts helped to reduce hemorrhoid pain, itching, and swelling.

3. Coconut oil

Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer, which may also help with hemorrhoid symptoms.

Applying coconut oil may reduce the irritation and swelling, and it may also help reduce the urge to scratch.

However, people should also note that there is no scientific research to support using coconut oil to treat hemorrhoids.

4. Aloe vera

Aloe vera has been used by many cultures to treat a variety of issues. According to older 2015 research, the plant has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body and may help heal wounds.

It may provide relief from the burning, itching, and swelling caused by hemorrhoids when applied to the anus. Purity is very important, as additives and preservatives can make symptoms worse.

However, people should note that there is no scientific research to support using aloe vera to treat hemorrhoids.

5. Ice packs

Applying ice or cold packs to the hemorrhoid may also help relieve pain and inflammation. Applying an ice pack while seated or when the hemorrhoid flares up can help numb pain and temporarily reduce swelling.

The NHS notes that people should be sure to wrap the ice in a small towel. A person may try leaving the ice pack on for 15 minutes and repeating the process hourly.

6. OTC medications

In cases where simple remedies are not enough or the pain is too great, OTC drugs and creams may provide some relief.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may help. Applying OTC hemorrhoid creams and ointments to the skin could provide temporary relief as well.

Making certain lifestyle choices can either reduce the risk of developing hemorrhoids or limit the time that a person has them. These include:

Drinking plenty of liquids

According to the NHS, drinking plenty of liquid throughout the day keeps the stool soft.

Softer stool may take less energy to pass and cause less irritation to the hemorrhoids.

Eating plenty of fiber

People can also try eating foods with high fiber content.

Fiber helps to both soften the stool and give it more body. This makes it easier to pass.

Wearing suitable clothing

According to research from 2016, people should consider wearing loose-fitting, breathable, cotton underwear and pants.

This can help prevent the area surrounding the hemorrhoids from becoming irritated by excess sweat, and help reduce symptoms.

Keeping good bathroom habits

There are also a few things to consider when using the bathroom that may help control or avoid hemorrhoids.

People should not force a bowel movement. Straining and pushing may make hemorrhoids worse. If a bowel movement has not occurred after a few minutes, a person should get up and try again later.

Individuals should not ignore or delay the urge to have a bowel movement. Waiting for a less social setting or waiting to use the toilet at home can actually back up the stool and cause more stress and straining. This will only make the hemorrhoids worse.

If toilet paper is too irritating, using damp toilet paper may help. Alternatively, people can purchase wet wipes specific for the bottom, or hemorrhoid-specific wipes, from a pharmacy or online.

A person can also try taking a squatting position while having a bowel movement. The easiest way to do this is to prop a stack of books or a stool near the toilet to rest the feet on during bathroom breaks.

Avoiding certain products and medications

There are also some important things to avoid when treating hemorrhoids in the home:

  • commercial baby wipes
  • perfumed toilet papers
  • washing the anus with soap, while the hemorrhoids are present
  • aspirin, as it can thin the blood and make bleeding worse
  • ibuprofen, if the hemorrhoids are bleeding

Hemorrhoids are swollen and irritated veins around the anus or in the lower rectum.

Possible causes of hemorrhoids include:

  • straining during bowel movements
  • sitting for long periods of time
  • chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • not eating enough fiber
  • pregnancy
  • weakening of the supporting tissues in the anus and rectum due to aging
  • frequently lifting heavy objects

Internal hemorrhoids occur within the rectum or the inside of the anus. They may cause rectal bleeding. Blood may be the only sign that a person has an internal hemorrhoid. This is because there are very few nerves and pain receptors in the rectum.

External hemorrhoids are located under the skin around the anus. There are many more nerve endings here, so external hemorrhoids cause clearer symptoms than internal hemorrhoids, such as:

  • pain or aching around the anus, particularly when sitting down
  • itching around the anus
  • one or more hard lumps near the anus

While hemorrhoids go away on their own in most cases, a person should see a doctor if the symptoms do not improve after a week of trying home care methods.

People should also speak with a doctor if they experience rectal bleeding.

If rectal bleeding occurs along with feelings of dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting, people should seek medical help immediately. The symptoms may be a sign of a more serious disorder.

Home treatments for hemorrhoids may include warm baths, applying ice packs, and taking OTC medications. People may also try lifestyle changes, like drinking plenty of liquids and eating foods containing high amounts of fiber.

Anyone who experiences rectal bleeding, even if they think it is from a hemorrhoid, should see a doctor to rule out other causes of rectal bleeding.