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Hemorrhoid Treatment Guide For External, Internal, Thrombosed and Prolapsed Hemorrhoids

Posted on 19 January 2018

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This comprehensive hemorrhoid treatment guide will discuss all the best hemorrhoid treatment options currently available.

The hemorrhoid treatment options discussed include dietary changes, lifestyle changes, natural treatments, at-home treatments, prescriptions, and surgery. 

We review all the best treatment options for internal, external, prolapsed and thrombosed hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoids have been present throughout human history. Because of their relevance and the development of new treatments, hemorrhoids are a common topic offering a great deal of information and treatment options.

Luckily, if one hemorrhoid treatment doesn’t work for you, there are other options available to try.

Here’s a detailed look at the topic of hemorrhoids and the treatments available to help you live hemorrhoid free once again.

What Are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids, also called piles, are clumps of enlarged blood vessels that present themselves in the anus and lower rectum.

When hemorrhoids swell and become stretched, they can be accompanied by bothersome symptoms.

Hemorrhoids are classified in one of two categories: internal hemorrhoids or external hemorrhoids.

Internal hemorrhoids do not present with many symptoms because they are in an area of the rectum that is void of pain-sensing nerves.

External hemorrhoids are often painful. They can be accompanied by other symptoms, such as hemorrhoid bleeding, itching and burning. Unlike internal hemorrhoids, external hemorrhoids are visible and can be felt.

There are several factors that cause hemorrhoids to become irritated and many different sources that cause hemorrhoids.

What Causes Hemorrhoids?

Although many people feel that hemorrhoids are abnormal, the truth is we all have them. It is when clumps of vessels enlarge, and problems arise that hemorrhoids become abnormal.

Abnormal hemorrhoids are caused by swelling in the anal or rectal veins.

They are often accompanied by irritation. Irritated hemorrhoids can be caused by several different factors.

Causes of Hemorrhoids:

  • pregnancy
  • prolonged periods of sitting or standing
  • straining during bowel movements
  • chronic constipation (1)
  • chronic diarrhea
  • eating a low-fiber diet
  • straining during physical labor
  • eating spicy foods
  • drinking too much alcohol

hemorrhoid alcohol

Hemorrhoids Symptoms

The most common symptom of hemorrhoids is bleeding. Bleeding occurs in both internal and external hemorrhoids.

Bleeding that is present during or after a bowel movement is often an indication of hemorrhoids, especially internal hemorrhoids (2).

Other symptoms include anal itchiness, burning, a feeling of pressure in the anal region, and pain. Severity of symptoms depend on the type of hemorrhoid and its size.

Thrombosed hemorrhoids, for example, can come with excruciating pain. While some small internal hemorrhoids can go completely unnoticed without present symptoms at all.

The most common hemorrhoids symptoms include:

  1. Itching
  2. Bleeding
  3. Irritation
  4. Swelling
  5. Burning
  6. Pressure
  7. Pain
  8. Discomfort
  9. Inflammation

External Hemorrhoids

External hemorrhoids are the most common type of hemorrhoids and are often easily identifiable. They develop under the skin around the anus.

These types of hemorrhoids are usually the most unbearable type of hemorrhoid. They typically come with very bothersome symptoms.

The top layer of the skin becomes inflamed and damaged, leaving nerve-endings exposed. In some cases, external hemorrhoids become thrombosed.

Thrombosed hemorrhoids are characterized by sudden and severe pain. They are caused by a blood clot within the hemorrhoid.

There are several treatment options for external hemorrhoids. Most involve working to alleviate the irritating symptoms that come with them.  

Internal Hemorrhoids

Internal hemorrhoids are generally painless. The most common symptom of an internal hemorrhoid is hemorrhoidal bleeding. This is often the only sign that you are struggling with internal hemorrhoids.

Even with the blood, they remain painless because of the lack of pain-sensing nerve endings in that area of the anus.

Internal hemorrhoids may prolapse, causing them to become visible when they extend outside of the anus. Prolapsed internal hemorrhoids are the most bothersome type of internal hemorrhoid.

Thrombosed Hemorrhoids

Thrombosed hemorrhoids are very painful, swollen external hemorrhoids that are caused by a clot in one or more of the veins in the anal skin. They are often characterized by the bluish color that is from the underlying clot.

Although they are very painful, they are not generally dangerous. If a thrombosed hemorrhoid does not resolve on its own, surgical treatment is often required. Hemorrhoid pain is often severe with a thrombosed hemorrhoid.

Bleeding Hemorrhoids

Bleeding hemorrhoids are common and often not dangerous. Although bleeding is often associated with hemorrhoids, there are other conditions that could cause anal bleeding.

If you experience bleeding during or after a bowel movement, the best option is to contact your healthcare provider.

Bleeding is the most common symptom of internal hemorrhoids. In fact, it is often the only symptom.

If you notice bright red streaks of blood in the toilet bowel after a bowel movement, or visibly on the surface of your stool, the chances are you are suffering from internal hemorrhoids.

With external hemorrhoids, the skin becomes stretched and can bleed. The most common cause of the bleeding is from the bowel movement itself.

While bleeding hemorrhoids can cause panic, they are often quickly resolved and do not cause serious problems. 

Occasional, a hemorrhoid will burst and bleed. The bleeding will typically last for about 10 seconds and should subside gradually over time.

If you do have bleeding hemorrhoids, you should speak with your doctor to make sure it is not a more serious issue, like colorectal cancer. 

What Do Hemorrhoids Look Like?

Hemorrhoids are commonly described as pillow-like clusters that gather around the opening of the anus. Often referred to as piles, hemorrhoids are like varicose veins in the legs, although they present themselves as swollen or distended veins in the anal skin.

Internal hemorrhoids are not seen unless they become prolapsed. Prolapsed internal hemorrhoids can be seen protruding out of the anal opening.

Thrombosed hemorrhoids, a type of external hemorrhoid, present themselves as hardened hemorrhoids. They often have a bluish color because of the blood clot that lies beneath the surface.

Types of hemorrhoids:

  • Internal hemorrhoids
  • External hemorrhoids
  • Prolapsed hemorrhoids
  • Thrombosed hemorrhoids

Because hemorrhoids vary in size, they will appear differently based on each individual occurrence.

How to Treat Hemorrhoids

There are many different approaches available for treating hemorrhoids. The first thing to consider is what type of hemorrhoid has been diagnosed.

Internal and external hemorrhoids require different treatment plans because of their location, severity, and symptoms.

The most common treatments for hemorrhoids include at-home treatments, lifestyle changes, medicated creams and ointments, non-invasive procedures, and, in severe cases, surgery.

Internal hemorrhoids often go undetected because of their location.

You may suffer from an internal hemorrhoid and not even realize it. When internal hemorrhoids begin to show symptoms, or increase in severity, there are several treatment options available.

Full list of at-home lifestyle changes to improve hemorrhoids:

  • Increasing your daily fiber intake
  • Drinking enough water (6 glasses per day)
  • Avoid excessive alcohol
  • Avoid spicy foods
  • Add foods like yogurt or kefir to aid digestion
  • Avoid squeezing or straining on the toilet
  • Avoid sitting on the toilet for long periods of time
  • Keeping the anal area dry and clean
  • Wipe with soft, moist wipes after bowel movements
  • Don't stand or sit for long periods of time
  • Add light exercise like walking to your daily regimen
  • Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing

The first treatment option for internal hemorrhoids involves a change in lifestyle. We are talking diet changes, hygiene habits, and making your basic needs a priority. Let’s take a further look.

Lifestyle changes can help to resolve existing hemorrhoids and prevent flare-ups in the future (3). The most basic lifestyle change involves the way you eat and drink. Increasing your daily fiber intake can have great positive effects on hemorrhoids.

Because constipation is one of the most common causes of hemorrhoids, increasing your daily fiber intake can help ensure you have regular bowel movements.

Additionally, increasing your fiber intake can help to alleviate some of the pain associated with bowel movements when you are dealing with active, painful external hemorrhoids.

In addition to increasing fiber intake, you should make sure you are consuming the right amount of water each day for your body’s requirements. Hydration also helps to prevent constipation.

And, because fiber uses water to help push it through the intestinal tract, hydration is important to support your increase in daily fiber. Besides increasing your fiber and water intake, there are other ways to change your diet and eating habits.

To avoid increased irritation with hemorrhoids, stay away from excessive alcohol consumption and spicy foods. Spicy foods can further complicate your hemorrhoids. Alcohol often leads to dehydration, another cause of constipation.

When changing your diet to resolve or avoid hemorrhoids, you should also be sure to add foods like kefir yogurt to help regulate the bacteria in your digestive system.

Now that we have covered diet, it’s important to touch upon other lifestyle changes that can help treat hemorrhoids.

The main one is to avoid daily practices that may cause your bowel movements to lead to hemorrhoids.

For example, avoid straining during bowel movements. If you feel the urge to go, make it a priority. Don’t wait to go as it often leads to hardened stool that can be difficult to pass.

If you are having difficulties with your bowel movements, try elevating your feet. This can help alleviate the pressure of gravity from sitting. And, be sure to practice proper hygiene. Wipe yourself thoroughly after each bowel movement.

If possible, wash with soap and water instead of wiping. Keep your anal area clean and dry. For symptomatic hemorrhoids, the aim of treatment should be to alleviate discomfort and avoid habits that may cause your hemorrhoids to linger. This is where at-home treatments often come in.

Here's a list of affordable treatment options for hemorrhoids:

  • Bath soak
  • Hemorrhoid supplements
  • Medicated wipes
  • Medicated creams and ointments
  • Hemorrhoid donut or pillows
  • Hemorrhoid ice packs
  • OTC medications like tylenol

Natural treatments include soaks, oils, and supplements. Since many patients avoid going to the doctor because of the topic at hand, at-home treatments can help treat the symptoms while your hemorrhoids heal.

One of the most common at-home treatments are sitz baths, or a variation of them. Soaking the anal area in warm water for a period of fifteen minutes two to three times a day can help reduce swelling and soothe irritation.

On the other hand, treating hemorrhoids with cold can also be effective. Applying cold compresses or ice packs to your anal area can help reduce swelling and numb the anal area, alleviating discomfort and pain.

There are many natural supplements available to reduce the effects of hemorrhoids as well. These can be consumed daily or applied directly to the hemorrhoid to help it to shrink and heal. Aloe vera, Epsom salt, and witch hazel are examples of natural supplements that can treat hemorrhoids.

When using supplements, it’s important to look for ones with natural astringents, anti-inflammatory or antioxidant properties. When natural treatments don’t work, it is probably time to see a hemorrhoid doctor or talk about other medical treatments.

For starters, there are many over-the-counter creams, ointments, gels, and suppositories that are made to treat the symptoms of hemorrhoids and help resolve them. They often work to reduce itching, numb the area, decrease swelling, and protect the anal skin.

Over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications can also be helpful, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When these don’t work, your doctor may be able to prescribe a stronger version of either of these.

If prescription hemorrhoid treatment still doesn’t work, your next option would be minimally invasive procedures that can be done in your doctor’s office.

Most common surgical treatment options for hemorrhoids:

  1. Banding
  2. Sclerotherapy
  3. Cryosurgery
  4. Hemorrhoidectomy
  5. Stapling
  6. Laser Surgery

Banding is the most common procedure performed by doctors to treat hemorrhoids. Also called rubber band ligation, banding involves placing a small elastic band around the bottom of the hemorrhoid. The rubber band makes the hemorrhoid diminish in size.

Eventually, the hemorrhoid shrinks and goes away. After two to four procedures, spaced apart in a span of six to eight weeks, most hemorrhoids are completely eliminated. Complications are rare, but include mild pain, bleeding, and infection.

Other office procedures that are not are effective but are commonly used to medically treat hemorrhoids include sclerotherapy and cryosurgery. These involve the use of chemicals (sclerotherapy) and extreme cold (cryosurgery) to cause the hemorrhoid to shrink.

In worst case scenarios, some patients undergo surgery to treat their hemorrhoids. The most common surgical treatment is a hemorrhoidectomy.

This type of hemorrhoid surgery is generally used for huge, protruding hemorrhoids. In addition, it can be used for chronic external hemorrhoids, or chronic internal hemorrhoids.

A hemorrhoidectomy has a low complication rate and a high success rate. During a hemorrhoidectomy, doctors will administer general anesthesia and make a small incision around the hemorrhoid tissue to remove the blood vessels causing the problem. The surgery is commonly a same-day surgery, but does require a period of inactivity, generally lasting 7 to 10 days.

Another surgical treatment for hemorrhoids is stapling. This is the alternative to hemorrhoidectomy.

Stapling is commonly used for nasty, bleeding hemorrhoids. Another type of hemorrhoid called a prolapsed internal hemorrhoid, is also a candidate for stapling. A doctor uses a device to place and hold the hemorrhoids in their normal position.

Since this type of hemorrhoid surgery is very painful, you will be given anesthesia. The great thing is this is a one day surgery and you are sent home the same day.

How to Get Rid of Hemorrhoids

The truth about hemorrhoids is that everyone has them. They protect our anal area during bowel movements. So, you don’t ever truly “get rid” of them.

Bothersome or abnormal hemorrhoids can be treated to resolve symptoms and heal the area. While many of the hemorrhoids remedies that are commonly used are only a temporary solution to reduce the pain and discomfort associated with symptoms, there are permanent solutions available.

One of the most common surgical options to get rid of hemorrhoids is a hemorrhoidectomy. Literally cutting out the problem blood vessels and healing the area without the bothersome vessels present to cause further problems.

However, there are reports of hemorrhoids coming back after a hemorrhoidectomy. In addition, hemorrhoidectomy surgery is very expensive and extremely painful.

For hemorrhoids that are not as serious, banding, sclerotherapy, and cryosurgery can help get rid of hemorrhoids. Once again these options are costly but slightly less painful than a hemorrhoidectomy.

In most cases, general prevention is both helpful and effective. Increasing your daily intake of fiber and water, avoiding strenuous activities or bowel movements, and practicing proper hygiene are all ways to prevent further flare-ups when it comes to hemorrhoids.

Home Remedies for Hemorrhoids

Simple, home remedies can provide dramatic relief for many hemorrhoid cases. As mentioned earlier, changing your daily lifestyle can help. Increase your daily intake of fiber. If you do not get adequate fiber from the foods you eat, consider taking a fiber supplement.

There are many options available including Metamucil, Citrucel, or Fiber Con. High-fiber foods include nuts, beans, legumes, wheat and oat bran, green vegetables, and fresh fruit.

Your daily fiber intake goal should be twenty-five to thirty grams of fiber each day. In addition to increasing your fiber, increase your water intake.

Proper hydration prevents constipation, helps encourage regular bowel movements, and softens stool. Combining proper fiber intake with proper hydration is often an effective home remedy for hemorrhoids.

Constipation is one of the leading causes of hemorrhoids.

Increasing your weekly exercise, even by a little, can also help keep your body working the way it needs to, so you can avoid hemorrhoids.

A brisk walk 20-30 minutes a day can help stimulate bowel function. Another home remedy for hemorrhoids involves your bowel habits.

Many people hold their bowel movements, even when they really have to go, because they feel that there are more important matters to tend to. When you feel the urge to go, head to the bathroom immediately.

When stool backs up, it can lead to increased pressure, straining, and seriously symptomatic hemorrhoids.

Sitz baths and cold compresses are great home remedies for hemorrhoids as well. A warm water bath, also called a sitz bath, can help relieve itching, burning, and irritation associated with hemorrhoids. It also can reduce spasms of the sphincter muscle.

Pharmacies sell sitz baths that fit over the toilet seat, but sitting in a regular tub of warm water can be just as effective. It is recommended you sit in a sitz bath for at least fifteen minutes two to three times a day.

Once you are finished, be sure to pat the anal area dry instead of rubbing it. Ice packs placed against the anal area for a few minutes can also be effective in reducing pain and swelling.

Other at home remedies include topical treatments. There are many over-the-counter creams that contain a combination of anti-itch medication and local anesthetic. They sooth hemorrhoid pain, reduce itching, and alleviate some of the swelling caused by hemorrhoids.

Wipes, such as witch hazel wipes, are also a great option. They provide relief from the itch and soothe the anal area.

Hemorrhoid Cream

A hemorrhoid cream is a popular and effective treatment for some of the more debilitating symptoms of hemorrhoids. There are many hemorrhoid creams available on the market. And, if they are not effective, there are prescription strength options that you can get from your healthcare provider.

Hemorrhoid creams are designed to treat external hemorrhoids. The active ingredients in both creams and suppositories are the same. Different products contain different combinations of active ingredients to treat your symptoms.

Different products are also created to treat different symptoms of the same condition. For example, one hemorrhoid cream might focus on relieving itching while another might focus on soothing burning.

Most over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams contain one or a combination of multiple of the following ingredients.

  • An analgesic to relieve itching and soothe the irritated area.
  • An anesthetic to temporarily numb the area. Anesthetic help relieve pain, itching, and burning.
  • An astringent to cool and calm the area for relief of itching and burning.
  • A moisturizer to hydrate the skin and help prevent itching.
  • A cream to alleviate dryness that causes itching.
  • A steroid to reduce inflammation. This also helps with pain relief.

A vasoconstrictor reduces blood flow to the area and helps treat inflammation. There are many brands and types of creams available to treat hemorrhoids today.

One of the most popular brands, Preparation H, has greatly expanded their product line to focus on a variety of specific symptoms. They now include pain relief cream, rapid relief cream with Lidocaine, suppositories, ointment, wipes, anti-itch cream, and cooling gels.

While Preparation H is the brand most commonly associated with hemorrhoid cream, generic options and a variety of brands can help as well.

What it comes down to is personal preference and what works for you and your specific issue. If over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams don’t work, your doctor may prescribe a more powerful cream.

For irritating symptoms of hemorrhoids that are not controlled with over-the-counter creams, talk to your healthcare provider for better options to fit your needs.

Hemorrhoid Cure

If you are looking to find a cure for hemorrhoids, you may be out of luck. While opting for surgery may be the quickest way to get rid of your hemorrhoids, it is costly and there is no guarantee your hemorrhoids won't return. In fact, some hemorrhoid sufferers, despite multiple surgeries, have reported that their hemorrhoids keep coming back.

Focusing on prevention, while using at-home treatments to address your symptoms, may in fact be your best bet.

At-home treatments include personal care, like taking a sitz bath or using wet wipes to clean up after a bowel movement. The use of topical medications is also considered an at-home treatment.

Over-the-counter medications, such as creams, ointments, wipes, and suppositories help relieve pain and itching. This allows your body to attack the bothersome hemorrhoid symptoms. Although these are effective in treating symptoms and moving along the healing process, it is important to avoid using these as an ongoing, long-term solution.

Over-the-counter pain medications are another at-home treatment. They help with pain relief. For over-the-counter options, try acetaminophen. Avoid using drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin if you are dealing with bleeding hemorrhoids.

These medications can interfere with the body’s natural ability to make blood clot.

Cold compresses are a very effective at-home treatment. Since the most uncomfortable symptoms of hemorrhoids are caused by swollen and inflamed veins, ice packs and cold compresses can provide fast relief. They also temporarily numb the area, and reduce swelling and inflammation.

Making specific lifestyle changes is a key way to prevent future flare-ups.

Two of the most common causes of hemorrhoids are constipation and straining during bowel movements.

Constipation can be caused by insufficient daily hydration or a lack of fiber in your diet. Sitting on the toilet for prolonged periods of time can lead to straining that ends with hemorrhoids.

It is also important to respond to bowel urges. Use the restroom immediately when you feel the need to have a bowel movement.

Diet and weight changes can also prevent recurrence. Add fiber to your diet so you are getting the proper daily intake regularly. If you do not find yourself eating foods that have sufficient doses of fiber, try adding a fiber supplement. Keep yourself hydrated. Avoid alcohol and excessive amounts of caffeine.

If you find yourself getting constipated, consider taking a stool softener. Exercise daily to lose weight and avoid obesity. Obesity is a major contributor to hemorrhoids. Because additional weight puts pressure on your veins, physical activity is important if you are prone to hemorrhoids.

Alternative medications are also available. Herbal and vitamin options can provide the relief you need to get relief. Talk to your doctor before you add any vitamins or supplements to your diet.

Popular herbal ingredients for hemorrhoids include:

  1. Horse chestnut
  2. Butcher's broom
  3. Witch hazel
  4. Diosmin
  5. Hesperidin
  6. Bilberry

Watch for signs of complications when it comes to hemorrhoids. If your condition is not improving with dietary changes, lifestyle changes, at-home treatments and over-the-counter products, it is important to see your doctor.

Because blood in the stool can be caused by a more serious condition, talk to your doctor if you experience bleeding.

Non-surgical treatment options are available, relatively safe, and effective.

With banding, or rubber band ligation, your doctor will apply tiny rubber bands to cut off blood supply, shrink your hemorrhoids, and eventually cause them to fall off.

Sclerotherapy injections treat the inflamed tissue using chemicals. The chemicals shrink the hemorrhoid and alleviate the symptoms that may be causing you discomfort.

Coagulation is also an option. This uses infrared light to head to shrivel and harden your bothersome hemorrhoids. If all of these treatments don’t seem to work, you still have options. Sometimes hemorrhoids will not respond to nonsurgical treatments. Outpatient surgery is available to treat large, stubborn hemorrhoids.

A hemorrhoidectomy is the most common surgery. It is effective in curing hemorrhoids because the doctor cuts out the blood vessels that are causing the hemorrhoid to become inflamed.

Stapling is another common surgical procedure. This procedure cuts off the blood flow to the affected area. While it is less painful than a hemorrhoidectomy, it often results in hemorrhoid recurrence.

Hemorrhoid Surgery

There are several options when it comes to hemorrhoid surgery. While surgery in not generally the first treatment patients run towards to cure their hemorrhoids, it is an effective option that often serves as a last resort.

Patients who have dealt with recurring hemorrhoids, however, may go directly to this option. Hemorrhoid surgeries can be done in a doctor’s office or a hospital.

Hemorrhoid surgeries that are performed in a doctor’s office and do not require anesthesia include banding, sclerotherapy, coagulation therapy, and artery ligation (HAL).

Banding is the most popular option. It is often used to treat internal hemorrhoids, but can be used with external as well.

During a banding procedure, your doctor will place a tight rubber band around the base of your hemorrhoid. The band works by cutting off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid. It is generally required that you return for two or more procedures, but they need to be spaced over six to eight weeks. Banding is not painful, but it may cause discomfort or the feeling of pressure.

Sclerotherapy is a procedure performed at your doctor’s office where the hemorrhoid is injected with a chemical. The chemical causes the hemorrhoid to shrink. There are little risks to sclerotherapy and most patients have reported little to no pain from the procedure.

Coagulation therapy involves the use of infrared light, heat, or extreme cold to cause the hemorrhoid to retract and shrink. Hemorrhoidal artery ligation, commonly known as HAL, works by locating the blood vessels through the use of an ultrasound and ligating them to close them off.

Hemorrhoid surgeries may also be performed in a hospital and require anesthesia.

A hemorrhoidectomy is used to treat large external hemorrhoids or internal prolapsed hemorrhoids. When these types of hemorrhoids are not responding to other nonsurgical treatment, it may be time to undergo this type of hemorrhoid surgery.

During a hemorrhoidectomy, your surgeon will use anesthesia to ensure you are comfortable and do not experience pain. You will discuss the types of anesthesia available and what option will work best for you. Your surgeon will cut the hemorrhoid out by placing a narrow incision at the site of the hemorrhoid. Patients generally return home the same-day as the surgery.

The most common risks of hemorrhoidectomy are pain and infection, but pain subsides rather quickly, and you can expect to be back to normal activity within 7-10 days.

hemorrhoidopexy is another common type of hemorrhoid surgery. A hemorrhoidopexy procedure is also referred to as stapling. This is also a same-day surgery, but does require anesthesia. The most common type of hemorrhoid that stapling treats is a prolapsed hemorrhoid.

During this surgery, the hemorrhoids are moved back into place and secured by a surgical staple. This simultaneously cuts off the blood supply to shrink the hemorrhoid and reabsorb the problem vessels.

Aftercare for hemorrhoid surgery depends on the particular type of hemorrhoid and the exact surgery used to treat the hemorrhoids. After surgery with anesthesia, rectal pain and some bleeding may linger. Your doctor will generally prescribe painkillers to help ease the discomfort of post-operative pain. You will be required to avoid lifting, pulling, and any other strenuous activity.

While recovery times vary, most patients have fully recovered within ten to fourteen days.

Hemorrhoid Relief

There are many ways to get hemorrhoid relief, even without seeing a medical professional. From easing symptoms to finding fixes for recurring hemorrhoids, the best relief from hemorrhoids is prevention.

Hemorrhoid relief for pain and itching can include warm baths, ice, or over-the-counter medicated wipes or creams, supplements and donuts or pilloes. For very painful hemorrhoids, painkillers such as acetaminophen can be helpful.

Another way to get hemorrhoid relief is to pay close attention to your daily habits. Although it might be very difficult to avoid, do not scratch. Scratching can cause damage to the skin and make irritation worse.

When it comes to hygiene and clothing, try to choose loose, cotton underwear that keeps the area dry and stops moisture. For hygiene, practice good bathroom habits. Limit the time you spend sitting on the toilet. Increased straining can lead to increasingly irritated hemorrhoids.

When it comes to wiping, be gentle. Ensure that you thoroughly clean yourself after each bowel movement. If you feel the urge to go, find a bathroom immediately. Do not avoid bowel movements, as avoiding them can lead to hardened stool that is more difficult to pass.

When facing constipation, bump up your fiber intake and increase the amount of water you drink daily. In addition, make sure you exercise regularly.

Hemorrhoid relief can also come from how you handle strenuous activity. For some patients, strenuous activity is a daily activity. When you are working hard, be sure to breath properly. Holding your breath while pushing, pulling, or lifting can lead to hemorrhoid pain and cause your hemorrhoids to bleed.

If it’s necessary to sit on a hard surface, or for a prolonged period of time, you can find relief by sitting on a cushion or pillow. The use of a softer surface can ease swelling and help prevent new hemorrhoids from forming.

If you do not have access to soft cushioning or you need to sit for prolonged periods of time, take frequent breaks. Moving around can help provide relief from the pressure of hemorrhoids.

How Long Do Hemorrhoids Last?

The length of time that hemorrhoids lasts varies depending on the type of hemorrhoid you have and the severity of your particular case.

Small hemorrhoids can clear on their own within a few days, even without treatment.

Certain hemorrhoids do take longer to heal. Internal hemorrhoids that become enlarged and stick out of the anus are called prolapsed hemorrhoids. Prolapsed hemorrhoids often take longer to heal. They generally require medical treatment, which will extend the length of time this type of hemorrhoid lasts.

External hemorrhoids that become symptomatic can take weeks, or even months, to heal depending on how they are treated.

Many people start with minimal treatment at-home treatment. If treatment isn’t successfully, they are likely to go through the different stages of treatment. This extends the life of hemorrhoids, as patients begin with natural treatments, move to lifestyle changes and at-home remedies, then to medical treatment, and finally surgery.

The longest lasting hemorrhoids are those that are developed during pregnancy. When women develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy, symptoms may last until you give birth.

Because of the increased pressure in the abdomen, and pregnancy hormones, pregnant women are likely to have swollen veins in their rectum. The pushing required to give birth can also cause hemorrhoids because of the strain on the anus.

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