Hemorrhoids are the result of swollen blood vessels located around the anus. They can cause discomfort and pain. Although some hemorrhoids become serious enough to require surgery, there are other ways to help treat the swelling. Several natural remedies and lifestyle changes can help provide relief from hemorrhoids.
Increase Dietary Fiber Intake
Increasing dietary fiber intake is one of the simplest ways to get long-term relief from hemorrhoids. Fiber improves digestion by adding bulk in the intestines so that less stress is put on the inflamed blood vessels during a bowel movement. It also softens stool so inflammation does not become worse. High-fiber foods include lentils, brown rice, artichokes and whole-wheat pasta. It can also help to take a fiber supplement during the day. Fiber can start relieving pain within a day or two.
Take Epsom Salt Baths
Warm Epsom salt baths can provide instant hemorrhoid relief. Epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate. This helps to soften the sore areas containing the hemorrhoids. The compound will decrease inflammation and pain quickly. Epsom salt is also absorbed into the body where the magnesium sulfate will improve digestion and help to regulate enzymes. It is best to use one to two cups of Epsom salt mixed into a bathtub full of warm water. Soaking for 15 minutes is all that is necessary. Epsom salt is available at pharmacies and grocery stores.
Drink Horse Chestnut Tea or Supplements
Horse chestnut is a type of plant that is used to make herbal supplements and teas. Nearly every part of the plant is used except the roots. The important ingredient in Horse chestnut is aescin. Aescin is a strong anti-inflammatory compound. Horse chestnut products can reduce the swelling and pain from hemorrhoids for a few hours. There are both teas and herbal tablets available. They can usually be found in health food stores or stores selling vitamins.
Apply Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is a clear liquid that is sold in distilled form much like rubbing alcohol. Bottles of witch hazel can usually be purchased from pharmacies or beauty supply stores. Witch hazel is a very strong astringent. It can help to stop the bleeding that sometimes occurs when hemorrhoids are inflamed. The astringent properties can also temporarily relieve hemorrhoid pain, swelling and itching. Witch hazel should be applied to a cotton ball or paper towel and then dabbed on the area that hurts.
Practice Good Hygiene
Something that will help during the day is taking the time to practice good hygiene. Small amounts of stool that stay in contact with the hemorrhoids can actually increase pain, itching and inflammation. It can also increase bleeding in some cases. Good hygiene means using a damp cloth or water to clean the area after a bowel movement. This will reduce swelling and itching.
Dehydration affects the digestive system, the skin and the metabolism. It can make hemorrhoids more painful. Dehydration can also result in bowel movements that cause irritation and bleeding. It is important to stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. Drinking up to eight glasses of water will provide some hemorrhoid relief while preventing issues that could make the pain worse later.