When the veins in the anus and lower rectum get inflamed and swollen, the condition is called as Piles or Hemorrhoids. It is caused when there is a lot of strain exerted while defecating or even during pregnancy when there is excess pressure on the veins during pregnancy. Hemorrhoids can be internal or external. When they are present inside the rectum, they are referred to as internal and when they appear around the anus, under the skin, they are external hemorrhoids.
Best Treatment for Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids do not get completely cured on their own and usually a procedure is required. Some treatments can make it better and conventional as well as alternative medical practitioners believe that dietary modification is the best treatment for hemorrhoids.
1. Dietary Changes
The diet should include high-fiber foods and processed foods should be reduced as much as possible. Around 6-8 glasses (8 ounce) of fluids should be taken a day. In case there is any other underlying condition, it is better to check the fluid requirement with the doctor. Even when a surgery or medication is recommended, dietary modifications are required.
2. Fiber Supplements
The fiber requirement per day is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men, however, it is not usually met from diet alone. Fiber supplements which are available OTC help in reducing the symptoms associated with hemorrhoids, by keeping the stools soft and regular. A person taking fiber supplement should ensure that they drink plenty of fluids otherwise it can cause constipation.
3. Sitz Baths
One of the best hemorrhoid treatments is a sitz bath, which helps in reducing the pain and itching. It has been recommended since many years and is routinely suggested. The person should sit in warm water of around 3 inches level, for 15 minutes. This should be done several times in a day, especially immediately after a bowel movement. The swelling is reduced as well as helps in relaxing the spasms of the sphincter muscle. In case of pregnancy, this should first be discussed with the doctor.
Over the counter medications to relieve pain can be taken. Tylenol, Aspirin and NSAIDs like Ibuprofen and Naproxen also help in reducing the pain and swelling. However, medications should be taken with caution and all instructions should be read properly.
5. Proper Underwear
Moisture buildup in the genital area can cause irritation of the hemorrhoids. Cotton underwear should be worn, along with loose clothing, which helps in moving freely and reducing pressure in the anal area
6. Healthy Bowel Habits
After bowel movements, blot the anal area with moistening toilet paper using a mild cleansing agent or use baby wipes. You can also rinse the area in shower or a bidet and pat dry with a clean absorbent towel or cloth. Never rub the anal area. Use unscented soaps or cleansing agents.
A dry toilet paper should not be used to clean the anal area. Moistened toilet paper or unscented wipes should be used.
7. Topical Creams
Another best treatment for hemorrhoids is applying OTC creams for hemorrhoids or the ones containing hydrocortisone. Pads which contain witch hazel or numbing agent can be used.
8. Cold and Warm Compress
Apply ice compress on the anal area for 10 minutes followed by a warm compress for 10-20 minutes, several times a day.
9. Avoid Anal Pressure
When the hemorrhoids are irritated, the best hemroid treatment is to avoid sitting or standing for a long time. If sitting is essential, a pillow should be used to sit on. Heavy objects should not be lifted.
When to See a Doctor
When some of the best treatment for hemorrhoids given above are tried, the symptoms often go away in a week’s time. If they persist for more than a week or if the pain gets severe, along with bleeding, the doctor should be consulted. The doctor will suggest getting one of the procedures mentioned below, some of which can be performed in the doctor’s office as well:
This is usually done for internal hemorrhoids, where a solution is injected in the internal hemorrhoid, which causes scarring and closes the hemorrhoid. It hurts just as much as a regular injection will.
Hemorrhoids which are prolapsed are secured with a small rubber band using a special tool. This cuts off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid, causing it to shrivel and fall off within a week. It is called rubber band ligation.
3. Cauterization or Coagulation
The end of a hemorrhoid is sealed by a painless burn using a laser beam, an electric probe or an infrared light. The hemorrhoid closes and shrinks and is the best treatment for hemorrhoids which are prolapsed.
A traditional surgery called hemorrhoidectomy is performed for internal hemorrhoids which are large as well as thrombosed external hemorrhoids which are uncomfortable and painful.
The treatments for removing hemorrhoids are effective, but they need to be supported by changes in lifestyle as well as diet, otherwise the hemorrhoids recur.