Many of us are leading increasingly sedentary lifestyles, eating all sorts of unhealthy foods, or not getting enough exercise. All of these things, and more, can cause hemorrhoids, a painful and unpleasant condition. There are over 1 million new cases per year in the US alone.
If you’re suffering from this distressing health issue, you’re probably wondering how to get rid of hemorrhoids fast. The good news is that with careful treatment, you may be able to treat them yourself at home, and they should be gone within a few days. Even so, there are plenty of ways you can make things easier on yourself until you’ve recovered.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen or inflamed blood vessels on the inside or outside of your anus. They are caused by increased pressure on the rectal area. This can be a result of, among other things, being overweight, chronic constipation or diarrhea, anal sex, and the later stages of pregnancy.
External hemorrhoids are the worse of the two, generally. They occur on the outside of your anus, and they are usually painful. They can also cause itching and burning. In some cases, they can bleed, most often when you wipe.
Internal hemorrhoids are a bit trickier to diagnose. They’re on the inside of the anus, though if they are particularly close to the exit or particularly large, they can occasionally bulge out when you go to the toilet. The most common symptom is bright red, fresh blood in either your poo or when you wipe. Generally, they don’t cause much pain.
Should You See a Doctor?
In the majority of cases, hemorrhoids will pass by themselves within two or three days, especially if you treat them carefully. However, it’s never a bad idea to consult your doctor if you start bleeding out of your rectum, especially if it’s never happened before. At the very least, they will be able to put your mind at ease that it’s not one of the other conditions that can cause rectal bleeding, such as anal, colon, or rectal cancer.
If the bright red blood changes to a darker red, if the hemorrhoid is still there after a week, or if your symptoms worsen despite your efforts to treat it yourself, you should definitely talk to your doctor.
Home Remedies for Hemorrhoids
There are various things you can do to help alleviate the pain and itching caused by external hemorrhoids, and to try to get them to go away sooner rather than later.
Keep It Clean
First and foremost, you need to make sure that the hemorrhoid and the area around it are as clean as possible, to prevent irritation and infection. Touching them can be very painful, so make sure you’re being gentle. Wash the affected area with a soft washcloth or a wet wipe, mild soap and warm water. Carefully pat it dry with some extra-soft toilet paper or with a different, clean washcloth.
Soak It in Warm Water
Soaking your hemorrhoid in warm water will relieve some of the pain, and will help it to heal. You can use either your bath at home or a sitz bath, which is designed to fit over the top of a toilet. Fill the bath with a few inches of warm water, and sit in it for around twenty minutes.
There are many things you can put in the water to help the healing process, such as chamomile, Epsom salt, or table salt. Do this after defecation, and if you have the time, a few more times throughout the day. Make sure to gently dry the affected area afterward.
There are numerous treatments you can apply to your hemorrhoids to reduce the pain and swelling. The most well known is probably Preparation H, though diaper rash cream, topical painkillers, and creams containing hydrocortisone can all help too. If you want to try a natural remedy, you can apply aloe vera to the hemorrhoid. But if you’re buying it as a gel or cream, make sure that it’s not mixed with other ingredients.
Use Epsom Salt and Glycerin Paste
One of the lesser-known remedies, this paste can help to reduce inflammation and soreness. Simply mix two tablespoons of Epsom salt with two tablespoons of glycerin, and put the resulting paste onto a gauze pad. Apply the pad to your hemorrhoid and leave it there for fifteen to twenty minutes. Reapply every 4-6 hours.
Eat More Fiber, Drink More Water
Increasing your intake of foods that are high in fiber will help to soften your poos and make your digestive system work more efficiently. Leafy green vegetables, nuts, whole grains, as well as supplements containing fiber can all help. But you should add extra fiber to your diet gradually, as too much too quickly can make you gassy and bloated.
Making sure you are properly hydrated is also important for helping to soften your poos, and it will make your life easier in general. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to ensure your body is functioning like it should.
Sit on a Donut Pillow
These specially designed pillows help lessen the pressure on the hemorrhoid, which will reduce the pain and swelling if your job or lifestyle requires you to spend a great deal of time sitting down. If you don’t have a donut pillow at hand, at least make sure where you are sitting is well padded, as hard surfaces can worsen your symptoms. But if possible, take your pillow with you wherever you go until the hemorrhoids recede.
Avoiding the ‘Rhoids
There you have it: our top advice on how to get rid of hemorrhoids fast. They should be gone within a few days, especially if you are keeping the area clean and treating it carefully and gently. Over-the-counter painkillers can also be a boon, especially anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen. But if your symptoms worsen, you should have a chat with your doctor, because it could be a sign of something worse.