Hemorrhoids are a painful or itchy swelling of the veins inside or outside the rectum. When the veins become stretched they can cause severe pain and itching that can be very uncomfortable. You should treat hemorrhoids as soon as you notice them to prevent them from getting worse.
Who is at risk to develop hemorrhoids?
Anyone can develop hemorrhoids as they age. Hemorrhoids are also common in pregnant women. Chronic diarrhea and chronic constipation may cause hemorrhoids as well. Other causes may include straining to defecate, sitting for long periods and anal intercourse. Hemorrhoids may be internal or external. They may cause bleeding which can lead to anemia if left untreated. If a hemorrhoid loses blood flow or develops a blood clot the pain can be quite severe.
How are hemorrhoids treated at home?
Hemorrhoids can be treated at home. If the symptoms persist or worsen, then medical intervention may be required. Although home treatments will not eliminate the hemorrhoids, they can relieve the pain and itch associated with them.
- Over the counter creams and ointments- OTC creams and ointments contain ingredients such as hydrocortisone or herbs which can relieve the swelling.
- Medicated wipes- Medicated wipes containing witch hazel or other herbal remedies may be effective in treating the symptoms. Moist wipes can also be used for cleaning instead of dry toilet paper, which can aggravate the hemorrhoids.
- Ice compress- A compress with ice applied to the are may be effective in reducing swelling in the veins and can relieve the pain associated with hemorrhoids.
- OTC pain relievers- aspirin, ibuprofen and other OTC pain relievers may be effective in treating the pain associated with hemorrhoids.
What if home treatment doesn’t work?
If treating your hemorrhoids at home doesn’t work, it may be time to see your doctor. Some hemorrhoids will require medical treatment for various reasons. Also, don’t assume that unexplained bleeding from the rectum is only a case of hemorrhoids. It could be a sign of something more serious. When in doubt, see your doctor. There are some medical treatment options available to relieve your symptoms.
- Non surgical treatment options include rubber band ligation, where a rubber band is placed around the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off the blood flow, and an injection that caused the blood flow to be cut off. These procedures are done on an outpatient basis.
- Some severe hemorrhoids may require surgery as a last resort.