So, let's talk about hemorrhoids, or piles, as they are commonly known. It isn't a subject everyone wants to discuss, yet it affects 36 million men and women in the US annually.
Because it's an embarrassing topic that people don’t want to talk about, many people prefer to Google how to get rid of hemorrhoids naturally. So to ensure folks are properly informed, we'll take a closer look at what natural remedies actually work and discuss what doesn't.
So let's get right into it.
Firstly, remedies that work:
Hemorrhoids typically develop due to increased straining in the lower rectum. Straining during bowel movements can also exacerbate an existing hemorrhoid problem. Therefore, consuming a diet rich in fiber can help to soften stools, making them easier to pass. So, a balanced diet containing foods like oats, avocado, bananas, broccoli, lentils and pulses is perfect for easing painful problems caused by piles.
On the flip side, be aware that too much fiber in your diet can cause the stool to become stiff and, therefore, difficult to expel. For this reason, moderation is most definitely key.
Okay, so sitz baths aren't designed to eliminate hemorrhoids but are used to soothe discomfort caused by problematic piles. Sitz baths are, in fact, less of a bath and more of a device.
Made of plastic or ceramic, they contain hot water and either come as a standalone appliance, primarily in a commode form or are designed to fit snugly into the toilet bowl.
The idea is that as you sit in the bath for between 10 and 30 minutes, while the warm water increases blood flow to the affected area, reducing swelling or pain. It should be noted that a sitz bath only works for external hemorrhoids.
Epsom salts appear to be a cure for almost every ailment, but do they work on hemorrhoids? It seems they do. This wonder cure contains magnesium and sulphate, which, when absorbed into the skin around the anus, can offer relief from hemorrhoids by reducing inflammation and speeding up the healing process.
Epsom salts are usually used in a sitz bath by dissolving the salts in the water. However, the salts can also be used as a paste applied directly to the area or as a soothing compress when mixed with glycerine.
There are a multitude of topical creams, lotions and ointments for treating everything from psoriasis to toenail fungus, but can they help to get rid of hemorrhoids naturally? Research suggests they can.
Aloe vera, for example, is known for its soothing properties and is proven to reduce itching and inflammation. At the same time, witch hazel is an astringent known to soothe and shrink hemorrhoids. For the latter, it's best to apply using a cotton wool pad rather than by rubbing it directly; otherwise, you may find it causes more harm than good.
Coconut oil is another natural remedy for piles as it has well-known anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. So, it too is good for reducing hemorrhoid swelling and easing pain.
As a top tip, use extra virgin coconut oil as it is the less processed type of oil and comes more in its natural state. Again, like Epsom salts, you can add it to a sitz bath or apply it directly.
So, now you know how to get rid of hemorrhoids naturally, let's look at other remedies that don't work.
Apple cider vinegar
Despite some claims, there is no scientific evidence that apple cider vinegar cures or soothes piles. In fact, one of the lesser-known uses for apple cider vinegar is as a weed killer. But while ACV has some fantastic health properties, it is unsurprising that applying undiluted vinegar directly to the anal area is likely to cause further irritation and discomfort.
For this reason, it's probably best to stick to using it in salad dressings.
Garlic is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties and is often packaged as an ingredient in suppositories for hemorrhoids and other anal problems. Yet, just like ACV, there is little to no scientific evidence that it really works. Oh, and definitely, don't try to apply it in its raw state!
While certain essential oils like lavender and tea tree have anti-inflammatory properties, they are highly concentrated and can cause skin irritation when undiluted and applied directly to the problem area.
Although there is no direct evidence to suggest that essential oils eradicate hemorrhoids naturally, many people still use them in conjunction with a sitz bath by adding a few drops to the water. Some say it helps to soothe any itching and pain caused by hemorrhoids, but this is unproven.
How to get rid of hemorrhoids naturally – a conclusion
Natural remedies can be a valuable addition to the fight against problematic hemorrhoids, but you do need to take note of which are effective cures and which are more of an old wives' tale. Hopefully, this post has given you a better insight into treatments that actually work. So you can avoid the ones that don’t.
If you suffer badly with hemorrhoids but don't want to undergo a surgical hemorrhoidectomy, then you might want to consider hemorrhoid artery embolization (HAE).
At the Midwest Institute for Non-Surgical Therapy (MINT), we offer this minimally invasive, ground-breaking treatment that blocks the blood flow to the hemorrhoid causing it to shrink. The result is quick relief with little or no downtime.
Want to know more? Contact the team at MINT today, and don't let problematic hemorrhoids rule your life. We currently have 5 offices in St Louis, MO and Wentzville, MO and Swansea, IL, Evergreen Park, IL and Chicago, IL.
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