If you’re dealing with painful haemorrhoid symptoms, you might be eager to find a quick solution to get rid of them.
Despite being known by a wealth of jokey names, including piles, roids, bum grapes, and anal speedbumps –yes, really! – haemorrhoids are usually no laughing matter. They’re one the most common health issues for adults over the age of 50 and can be extremely bothersome, taking the form of visible veins around your anus, that can bulge or swell, and bleed.
Haemorrhoids are most commonly caused by childbirth, however, men find they’ve developed them after straining on the toilet. Obesity and a low-fibre diet can also be a factor.
As you age, the tissues that support the veins in your rectum and anus can weaken and stretch, making haemorrhoids more likely. But this doesn’t mean they are inevitable – they are completely preventable and you don’t have to suffer if you do have them.
The most common symptom of haemorrhoids is seeing fresh blood on the toilet paper or in your stool. Other symptoms include:
Several home remedies can provide relief from the pain and discomfort of haemorrhoids. However, it’s important that you consult a doctor if there is bleeding during bowel movements or if the haemorrhoids do not improve after a week of using these remedies.
It’s not just an odd-smelling, strangely-named bottle of liquid that your mother used to use – witch hazel has been used for hundreds of years for its medicinal purposes. The liquid is great for soothing haemorrhoids and decreases bleeding, as well as pain, itching, and swelling. Apply on a cotton pad and leave for 10-15 minutes before taking it away.
Believe it or not, a strong pelvic floor can help improve constipation problems. According to physiotherapist Michelle Kenway, pelvic floor exercises can help to increase your awareness of your muscles in the area and promote anal sphincter control. Improving your anal sphincter control helps you relax during bowel movements, alleviating haemorrhoid problems.
While the anal sphincter relaxes during normal emptying, other muscles in the pelvic floor contract to support the pelvic floor and assist in complete emptying. Strengthening these pelvic floor muscles can help some women to overcome constipation, improve emptying and reduce straining.
Aloe vera is well known for its anti-inflammatory and therapeutic properties and can be used to treat both internal and external haemorrhoids.
If you have internal piles, take an aloe vera ‘leaf’ and cut off the thorns so only the soft flesh is left, then into strips. Freeze these overnight, then insert them to relieve your pain. If your haemorrhoids are external, rub the area with the aloe vera gel.
Olive oil’s soothing properties can help to treat inflamed and swollen blood vessels in and around the anus. Dab on some olive oil and gently massage into the haemorrhoids.
Like olive oil, coconut oil is effective in treating haemorrhoids. Coconut oil has saturated oils that contain many nutrients which your body requires to prevent swollen veins. Apply using a cotton ball and repeat once a day.
The tannic acid present in tea has a natural astringent property that helps to reduce the swelling and pain associated with haemorrhoids.
Dip a black tea bag in a cup of hot water and leave for a few minutes before removing. Let it cool and apply to the swollen veins for 10 minutes, 2-3 times a day. Cold and used tea bags can also help.
Now that you are aware of some natural home remedies for treating haemorrhoids, it’s equally important to understand how to prevent their recurrence in the future.
Adding fibre to your diet is important for not only your overall health but your digestive and bowel health.
When you feel the urge to go, go immediately. If you put off going to the toilet, it can aggravate haemorrhoidal veins.
Science shows that if you squat and make an easier passage for your stools to go, you will have fewer piles and better overall bowel health. If you can’t feasibly squat over your toilet, put a high stool in front of your toilet to elevate your feet.
This haemorrhoid prevention strategy is easy and cheap, yet so few of us over 60s actually do it.
Exercise keeps your colon in good health and makes your bowel movements more regular.
Laxatives should be avoided if possible by eating a high-fibre diet but if you have to, use osmotic laxatives that work by filtering more water into the gut and reducing constipation.
Gently blot the anus with wet toilet paper or wet wipes after each bowel movement. You could also rinse off in the shower or use a bidet instead of rubbing the anal area or wiping yourself with toilet paper. Also, use soaps that don’t contain perfumes or dyes.
Fill your bathtub with warm water sufficient to cover the buttocks and repeat the same several times a day, particularly whenever you have a bowel movement.
Haemorrhoids can be a real pain in the bum (quite literally), but fortunately, in most cases, symptoms tend to go away within a week. However, if you find those haemorrhoid symptoms last longer than a week or if you experience intense pain or bleeding, seek immediate medical attention.
It’s worth noting that sometimes what appears to be haemorrhoid-related symptoms may indicate a more serious underlying condition.
While less common, rectal bleeding can be a potential indicator of diseases like bowel or anal cancer. If you notice significant bleeding or notice changes in your bowel habits, such as alterations in stool colour or consistency, it’s important to get checked out by a healthcare professional.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.