On average, 50-75 percent of the population develops hemorrhoids at some point. Hemorrhoids are veins in the anal canal and lower rectum that become inflamed, swollen and stretched out.
External hemorrhoids develop underneath the skin’s surface at the opening of the anus. Internal hemorrhoids can protrude through the anus or create a bulge in the anal canal.
Both internal and external hemorrhoids can cause bothersome symptoms such as itching, pain, burning, inflammation, irritation and bleeding. Medications and surgery can be effective at treating hemorrhoids. However, there are a variety of home remedies that can also bring relief.
Soaking in a warm bath for at least 15 minutes can help alleviate hemorrhoid pain and discomfort. The water should be warm, but not hot. Avoid using bath oils, bubbles or salts, as these can aggravate the condition and cause additional irritation. 2-3 warm bathes per day can significantly reduce symptoms.
A sitz bath is a small container that is filled with warm water and placed on top of the toilet. It has the same effect as a regular bath, but is more convenient for people who do not have the time to fill the tub several times per day. The same rules apply for a sitz bath as for a regular bath; use warm water, no soap or bath additives, and use it for 15 minutes at a time.
An effective way to manage symptoms when you do not have the time to take a sitz bath is to moisten a washcloth with warm water and dab it on the anus for a few minutes every time you use the bathroom. It will not be as effective at relieving swelling, but it can temporarily soothe itching and alleviate pain.
It is important to keep the anal area as clean as possible to prevent additional irritation. Dirt, sweat and fecal matter can irritate hemorrhoids and cause a worsening of symptoms.
Bathe or shower at least once each day and be sure to gently cleanse the anal area with warm water. Do not use soap, as it can cause further irritation. After bathing, use a soft, clean towel to blot the area dry. Never rub the area with the towel. Some individuals prefer to use a hair dryer set on low heat to gently dry the area. Lightly dust the anal area with cornstarch powder after drying.
Skip Toilet Paper
Toilet paper can also cause irritation. After a bowel movement, use over-the-counter pre-moistened wipes that are make specifically for anal cleansing. Alternately, you can use a squirt bottle to cleanse the area with warm water after bowel movements.
Cold compresses can help bring down swelling and numb the area, thereby reducing pain and discomfort. Apply a clean, cotton cloth soaked in cold water to the anal area and hold in place for 5 minutes. Alternately, you can use an ice pack applied to the area.
Warm & Cold Water for Hemorrhoids
- Never use soap to cleanse the anal area. Use only warm water, preferably while standing in a shower. If you are serious about getting rid of your hemorrhoids, forget about bathing in a tub. If you don’t have a shower, get one. OR a bidet, sort of an upside down shower.
- Never use toilet paper. Use a warm wet washcloth instead. If even a warm wet washcloth is too painful, hop in the shower and gently cleanse the area with warm water from the shower. (Hint: Take your clothes off first.) A bidet works in this situation also.
- This rule – it’s a bathing technique, actually – plus the rules above will help you acheive a hemorrhoid-free state or will kill a flare-up in its tracks. Flare-ups will occur occasionally, from sitting for a long time or swinging an axe or sledge hammer all day, or more commonly, from forgetting the above rules! The Technique: Stand in the shower with your rear facing the shower head. Direct the shower flow with your hands directly to the anal area. Run the water as hot as you can stand for as long as you can stand – try for 1 minute. Repeat for each shower you take until relief is obtained. It’s delightfully refreshing and you’ll be amazed at the result.
Cold or Hot Sitz Baths
Cold or hot sitz baths in the emergency treatment of acute anal pain due to anorectal disease? Results of a randomised clinical trial
The popular belief advocates the use of sitz (sitting) baths with cold water for the treatment of acute anal pain, but clinical practice guides recommend the use of hot water for its known effect on the at-rest anal pressure.
The objective of the study was to examine the analgesic effect on the quality of life, manometer data and clinical progress, of the two temperatures in sitz baths in patients with anal pain.
MATERIAL AND METHODS:
A randomised clinical trial on patients with acute anal pain due to haemorrhoids or anal fissures, divided into Group 1: Sitz baths with water at a temperature of less than 15 degrees C, and Group 2: Baths with a water temperature above 30 degrees C. The analgesia was the same in both groups. An analysis was made of the pain at 7 days (visual analogue scale), quality of life (SF-36), anal at-rest pressure and disease progress.
Of the 27 eligible patients, 24 were randomised (Group 1: n=12 y Group 2: n=12). There were no statistical differences in pain, but it remained stable in Group 1, but gradually decreased in the patients of Group 2, the difference being in the pain scores on the first day compared to the seventh in Group 2 (p=0.244). The rest of the variables were similar.
There were no statistically significant differences in pain control from day 1 to day 7 in the Group with sitz baths with hot water.