Bleeding, swelling, and irritation: hemorrhoids are no fun for anybody. And they’re a sore subject – pun intended – that nobody really wants to talk about.
But while it’s a delicate topic, what happens in the bathroom can tell us a lot about our health.
And if you’ve ever suffered from hemorrhoids, you’re not alone. The truth is that hemorrhoids are a problem that most of us will have to deal with at one point or another. In fact, it’s estimated that a whopping 75 percent of the population will suffer from hemorrhoids at some point in their lifetime (1).
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins around the anus or rectum, usually caused as a result of chronic constipation and frequent straining during elimination. They also are pretty common as we get older when our connective tissue weakens and also during pregnancy when pressure increases in the abdomen.
Here are a few signs you might be suffering from hemorrhoids (2):
- Bleeding during bowel movements
- Pain and discomfort
- A lump or swelling near your anus
- Itchy and irritated skin your anal region
While taking over-the-counter medications like stool softeners can work for some people, they don’t always work for everyone. Plus, it’s not always a good idea to get in the practice of relying on medications to provide relief, especially for a problem that can persist for days or even weeks.
The good news is that there are many natural remedies out there to treat hemorrhoids and cure your symptoms, plus prevent hemorrhoids altogether.
Here are a few of my recommendations for how to get rid of hemorrhoids naturally, plus the best way to treat the problem and stop them once and for all.
5 Natural Remedies to Treat Hemorrhoids
1. Aloe vera
Aloe vera is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which is what makes it a great natural treatment for getting rid of hemorrhoids.
This medicinal plant’s use as a natural remedy can be traced back 6,000 years when it was known as the “plant of immortality” and given as a funeral gift to pharaohs in ancient Egypt (3).
Although research is limited on the effects of applying aloe vera on hemorrhoids specifically, it has been shown to be effective in reducing inflammation for many other conditions due to its healing properties (4).
Look for pure aloe vera and apply directly to hemorrhoids to decrease inflammation and aid in healing.
2. Apple cider vinegar
If you’re looking for instant relief, apple cider vinegar is the way to go. Besides being alkalizing, anti-bacterial, and immune-boosting, it’s also super effective in the treatment of hemorrhoids.
In fact, it can help quickly relieve any itching, irritation, and pain caused by hemorrhoids, plus it helps reduce inflammation and ease symptoms.
I recommend soaking a cotton ball or paper towel with apple cider vinegar and applying directly to the hemorrhoid area. Repeat this a few times as the inflammation slowly disappears.
Alternatively, you can add some apple cider vinegar to a sitz bath and soak the inflamed area for 10 to 15 minutes up to three times a day for relief from symptoms.
3. Witch hazel
This anti-inflammatory compound comes from the leaves and bark of the North American Witch-hazel shrub. It’s full of healing components that can help alleviate symptoms of hemorrhoids quickly.
Witch hazel has been used as a natural remedy for hundreds of years. It works so well to treat hemorrhoids because it contains tannins, antioxidants, and oils that can reduce inflammation, lessen bleeding, and tighten tissue to constrict blood vessels.
It is especially effective in relieving symptoms like itching, inflammation, and bleeding (5).
Witch hazel is most commonly found as an alcohol extract, which can be applied directly to affected areas. It is also available as a suppository or an oral supplement.
4. Epsom salts and glycerin
This doctor-approved hemorrhoid treatment reduces pain and inflammation using ingredients you most likely already have on hand (6).
Magnesium sulfate, also known as Epsom salt, soaks into the skin and helps heal inflammation while reducing any pain and swelling.
Meanwhile, glycerin forms a protective barrier over hemorrhoids, which allows them to heal and also keeps them from drying out.
For fast relief, combine 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts with 2 tablespoons of glycerin and apply to a gauze pad. Apply this mixture directly to the affected area and keep it there for up to 20 minutes. You can repeat this every four to six hours until the pain has subsided and hemorrhoids have healed.
This is my personal favorite natural remedy for hemorrhoids because it treats them from the inside out.
Changing your diet and improving your digestion is the key to stopping hemorrhoids once and for all.
Fiber adds bulk to the stool, making bowel movements easier and relieving some of that strain that causes hemorrhoids in the first place. It also eases the digestion process, keeping things running smoothly and efficiently so you can spend less time in the bathroom.
Building your diet up with plentiful amounts of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds will make sure you’re getting the recommended 25 to 38 grams of fiber per day. Or, consider a fiber supplement like psyllium husk if you’re having trouble meeting your needs.
Hemorrhoids don’t have to be a taboo subject and they definitely aren’t something that you should be embarrassed about.
But if you’re one of the millions of people suffering from hemorrhoids and you feel like you’ve exhausted your options at the pharmacy looking for a cure, don’t fret.
Try out a few of these natural remedies for hemorrhoids, figure out what works for you, and you’re sure to find relief from the painful symptoms of hemorrhoids.
And for the long-term, remember that it all comes back to following a healthy lifestyle. Exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet rich in fiber, and drink plenty of water to keep your digestive system in tip-top shape and kick hemorrhoids to the curb … for good.