You may be able to manage your hemorrhoid symptoms with a few lifestyle changes. We often advise patients to:
- Avoid sitting on the toilet for extended periods
- Stay hydrated (drink 8-10 glasses of water a day)
- Decrease the chance of constipation by adding a tablespoon of mineral oil to your food
- Increase the amount of fiber in your diet
- Elevate your feet on a small stepping stool when you’re on the toilet to reduce strain
- Take a fiber supplement such as methylcellulose or psyllium
- Take a warm bath each day to soothe the affected area
- Take stool softeners to ease the strain of bowel movements
- Use over-the-counter hemorrhoid ointments or suppositories
Over-the-counter medications like lidocaine-based ointments and hydrocortisone creams are available to help manage the pain and lessen swelling. Witch hazel is a holistic alternative for hemorrhoids that can also reduce inflammation.
Patients experiencing a hemorrhoid flare-up should avoid using perfumed wipes near or around their rectum. Dry toilet paper can also irritate the affected area, so consider using a damp cloth or water to keep the area clean.
Avoid strenuous exercise—the added strain can inflame the skin and increase discomfort. Try to wear loose clothing and use over-the-counter pain medications to manage symptoms.
Speak with your doctor about your condition before attempting any of these at-home treatments, especially if you are on other medications. A doctor will let you know if these remedies interfere with your current medications and can direct you to the appropriate treatment.
If you experience minor symptoms, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter remedies and at-home therapies to alleviate discomfort. However, severe hemorrhoids may require advanced medical care. Fortunately, there are many available treatments for hemorrhoids.