Home Remedies for Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anus or rectum caused by pressure. External hemorrhoids occur in the veins outside and around the anus, while internal hemorrhoids involve the veins in the lining of the rectum. Hemorrhoids often improve on their own within a few weeks, though sometimes medical intervention is needed.
Read on to learn about at-home treatments that can help soothe symptoms and possibly prevent hemorrhoids from forming or recurring.
Home Remedies for Hemorrhoids
Home remedies are appropriate for most people with hemorrhoids, but only after an accurate diagnosis is made. See your healthcare provider if you are experiencing symptoms of hemorrhoids, such as itching, pain, or rectal bleeding, before beginning any treatments.
Warm baths, either in a fully filled tub or a sitz bath, can help relieve itching, irritation, and sphincter muscle spasms.
A sitz bath is a shallow pan filled with warm water that often fits over a toilet seat. It can be found at many pharmacies. You can also fill a bathtub with a few inches of water and sit in it.
Try taking a 20-minute sitz bath after each bowel movement, with additional sitz baths two or three times a day.
It’s important to keep the perianal area (area around the anus) dry. After each bath, gently pat the area dry without rubbing.
It’s safe to try aloe vera for hemorrhoid symptom relief in most people, but the extra moisture in the area may cause further irritation.
Witch hazel is an astringent (causes skin cells and other body tissues to contract) with anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used topically in the anal area to help relieve the itching, pain, and irritation that can come with hemorrhoids.
Witch hazel can be found in products such as Tucks pads.
A 2020 study explored the use of coconut oil for symptom relief of minor hemorrhoids in pregnant people. It found that coconut oil applied twice daily for two weeks improved symptoms better than lifestyle changes alone.
More research is needed on the use of coconut oil as a treatment for hemorrhoids.
Cooling the perianal area for a few minutes can help reduce pain, discomfort, and swelling.
This can be done using a small ice pack or cold compress. Make sure the ice is wrapped in a towel or cloth; don’t apply ice directly to the skin.
Many over-the-counter (OTC) topical hemorrhoid treatments are available. For some people, these provide temporary symptom relief. They should be used short term, as most have not been studied for safety and effectiveness with long-term use.
These treatments may include one or more of these ingredients:
- Astringents (witch hazel)
- Protectants (zinc oxide)
- Decongestants (phenylephrine)
- Topical anesthetics
Consult a healthcare provider before using OTC hemorrhoid treatments.
Cleaning the anus after each bowel movement can help with symptoms like itching.
It’s important to be gentle when cleaning. Use moistened toilet paper or unscented baby wipes, then pat dry.
Wearing comfortable, breathable clothing, such as cotton underwear instead of nylon, can help prevent perspiration or moisture from building up. Keeping the perianal area dry can help prevent anal itching.
When Should Home Treatments Be Started?
Don’t assume symptoms such as rectal bleeding, pain, or itching are caused by hemorrhoids. Before starting any treatments, including home remedies, talk to your healthcare provider to rule out other, potentially more serious, conditions.
Lifestyle Changes for Hemorrhoids
Lifestyle changes are the most commonly suggested ways to treat and prevent hemorrhoids.
Fiber supplementation has been shown to reduce bleeding due to hemorrhoids by 50%, though it does not appear to improve symptoms of prolapse, pain, and itching.
Increasing fiber intake can be done by adding more fiber-rich foods to your diet. These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
It can also be achieved with fiber supplements, such as:
- Psyllium husk fiber supplements (Metamucil)
- Wheat dextrin (Benefiber)
- Methylcellulose (Citrucel)
Typically, the recommended fiber intake for adults is 20–35 grams per day. Start slowly and work up to this amount to avoid digestive upset.
Drink Plenty of Liquids
Along with increased fiber intake, it’s important to drink enough non-caffeinated, nonalcoholic fluids (ideally water) to help prevent constipation and soften stools. Eight to 10 glasses a day is typical, but the amount needed can differ per person.
Moderate exercise can help stimulate bowel function. Adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and two days of muscle-strengthening activity each week, according to the current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
When to See a Healthcare Provider
See your healthcare provider if:
- You have rectal bleeding, especially if it’s the first time.
- Your symptoms are new or get worse.
- You see more blood than usual.
- You still have symptoms after one week of home treatment.
- You have questions or concerns.
Seek immediate medical attention if:
- You have severe anal pain.
- You are losing or have lost a lot of blood.
- Your symptoms are accompanied by abdominal pain or discomfort, diarrhea, or fever.
- You feel dizzy, light-headed, or faint, especially with bleeding.
- You think it is an emergency.
Prevention of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids can’t always be prevented, but some measures that may help include:
- Eating a high-fiber diet
- Getting enough non-caffeinated and nonalcoholic fluids
- Going to the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge to pass a bowel movement (rather than holding it)
- Avoiding straining during bowel movements
- Avoiding regular heavy lifting
Hemorrhoids often improve on their own, but some at-home treatments can help with symptom management and may help prevent hemorrhoids from recurring. At-home treatments include a high-fiber diet, plenty of liquids, exercise, sitz baths, ice packs, or witch hazel and/or other topical treatments.
Always consult with your healthcare provider if you have hemorrhoid symptoms, especially rectal bleeding, and before starting any treatment.
A Word From Verywell
If you’ve been diagnosed with hemorrhoids, at-home treatments are usually a good place to start for symptom relief. Hemorrhoids often resolve on their own, but they can be helped by lifestyle changes and at-home remedies. Try different methods to see what works best for you. If your symptoms don’t improve, consult your healthcare provider.
Frequently Asked Questions
What quickly shrinks hemorrhoids?
Treatments such as ice packs and witch hazel can help relieve swelling related to hemorrhoids.
Are there any home remedies for hemorrhoids I shouldn’t use?
While supplements containing bioflavonoids (such as hidrosmin, diosmin, hesperidin, rutosides) are commonly used in other areas of the world for relieving hemorrhoid symptoms, they are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for hemorrhoid treatment. Don’t use bioflavonoids without speaking to your healthcare provider about them.