Hemorrhoids are a small problem that can quickly become a big pain in the butt. Unfortunately, most people consider hemorrhoids such an embarrassing problem that they would rather deal with the discomfort than ask a friend for advice. There is no reason to be embarrassed by hemorrhoids. This is an incredibly common condition, affecting nearly three out of four adults across the United States and Europe—though you may not know it by how often they get talked about.
Pain from hemorrhoids can range from mild discomfort and itching to severe throbbing and bleeding. The best way to treat your hemorrhoid pain is going to depend on the severity of the concern. If you aren’t sure that treating a hemorrhoid at home is going to alleviate your discomfort, then contact your colorectal doctor for support.
Strategies to Reduce Hemorrhoid Pain
Don’t let embarrassment about your hemorrhoids hold you back from treating them the proper way. There are helpful things that you can do at home to relieve hemorrhoid pain.
Try reducing hemorrhoid pain at home with the following strategies:
- Sit on cushions: Since hemorrhoids are caused by damaged veins, sitting down can create an increase in the throbbing and pain associated with hemorrhoids. Try to avoid sitting on hard surfaces as much as possible. By sitting on cushions you can alleviate some of the pressure on your rectal area when sitting down.
- Icepacks or cold compress: Cold therapy helps to reduce pressure in the veins, alleviating swelling and throbbing. This is why you would use an icepack to alleviate pain after an injury to your ankle or knee. Try laying on your stomach with an icepack placed on the affected region for 20 minutes, repeating as needed.
- Over the counter pain relief: You can find hemorrhoid ointment over-the-counter at just about any grocery store or pharmacy. These ointments provide immediate cooling relief and even reduce itching. The ointments can also encourage hemorrhoids to shrink, which will reduce the severity of the pain associated with the problem.
While these solutions are not going to eliminate hemorrhoid pain entirely, by taking steps like these it is possible to significantly reduce discomfort. In addition to these strategies, there are certain bathroom habits that you can change to reduce hemorrhoid pain, as well as reduce your risk of developing more hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids commonly develop as a result of straining, often caused by constipation. Similarly, loose stools and holding the need to go to the bathroom for an extended period of time can also worsen existing hemorrhoids and cause more hemorrhoids to develop. If you are dealing with irregularity, consider taking advantage of a stool softener or probiotic that can improve digestive health.
You can also relieve hemorrhoid pain by taking steps like:
- Washing yourself thoroughly after using the bathroom
- Using gentle wet wipes instead of scratchy tissue
- Taking a warm sitz bath following a bowel movement
- Changing the way that you sit on the toilet, such as squatting instead of simply sitting
As a rule, the more proactive you are about addressing the hemorrhoid pain, the easier the pain is going to be to alleviate. If you let the hemorrhoids grow out of control, then you may find yourself sidelined and in need of medical support. In the most severe cases it is necessary to have hemorrhoids surgically removed, but it is usually possible to prevent hemorrhoids from developing to this point by being proactive and taking steps at home to alleviate the pain and preventing hemorrhoids from getting out of hand.
Hemorrhoids may be embarrassing, but ignoring the problem won’t make the itching, throbbing, and general discomfort they cause go away. Keep yourself educated and do your best to alleviate hemorrhoid pain at home. If you need added help, contact your doctor.