Put an end to the discomfort, inflammation and itchiness caused by your haemorrhoids, once and for all. Consider these natural home remedies and surgical procedures to get rid of your haemorrhoids.
Haemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen veins that may be found inside or outside the anus and rectal region. They may be caused by excessive straining during a bowel movement or develop during pregnancy when the expanding uterus puts additional pressure on the anal veins.
Haemorrhoids are very common and, more often than not, go away on their own. However, if you find that their symptoms—ranging from bleeding, itchiness to a painful lump on your anus—are already affecting your quality of life, it may be time for you to consider seeking treatment.
Read more: Are Haemorrhoids Dangerous?
The good news is, there are treatment options that can bring you symptomatic relief, and even remove your haemorrhoids permanently. These are the different ways you can get rid of your haemorrhoids.
Treat Haemorrhoids Naturally
Individuals who prefer natural ways of treatment may find that taking regular sitz baths, applying topical creams with witch hazel and pressing an ice pack on the affected area are helpful ways to alleviate their symptoms.
Sitz Bath. Derived from the German word sitzen meaning “to sit”, this treatment requires only two things: a water container that is large enough for your hips to fit and warm water.
To prepare for this treatment, simply fill the container with warm water. The water should be high enough for you to soak your buttocks up to your hips. Sit for about 15 to 20 minutes. If you are going to sit in a bathtub, make sure to keep your feet out of the water. You may also purchase a sitz bath kit that conveniently fits into your toilet seat.
Having a sitz bath three to four times a day, especially after a bowel movement, will soothe your perineal area and relieve your itching and pain. Afterwards, gently pat the affected area dry using a soft, clean cloth. Avoid rubbing or wiping it to prevent irritation. Clean the bathtub or the sitz bath kit thoroughly before your next use.
Soothing Creams. There are over-the-counter topical creams that help minimise the inflammation and itch caused by haemorrhoids. Creams containing witch hazel are generally considered to be effective remedies for these symptoms. Another advantage these creams have is they do not have any side effects, except for those who are allergic to witch hazel. We recommend testing a small amount of the cream first and waiting for any adverse reaction within 24 hours before applying it on the affected area. To minimise your risk for irritation, use a clean cotton swab or cotton ball instead of your fingers when applying the cream.
Ice Pack. In addition to applying soothing cream, you may also press a small ice pack against the affected area to reduce pain and swelling.
Read more: Treating Haemorrhoids with Your Diet
Get Rid of Haemorrhoids Through Surgery
If you find the above-mentioned home remedies are unable to bring you the relief that you are looking for, or if your haemorrhoids have already become enlarged, here are some surgical procedures you may want to consider.
Sclerotherapy. The purpose of this procedure is to shrink your haemorrhoids by reducing the blood supply to the affected area. It is carried out by inserting a proctoscope (a short tube with a light at the end) into the anus, which allows the doctor to see the inside of your rectum. A solution is injected through the same tube and into the tissues around the enlarged haemorrhoids to contain them. This procedure is usually administered once every few weeks until all the enlarged haemorrhoids have been treated.
Sclerotherapy causes minimal pain to patients, but it does have side effects, including bleeding, mild pain, pressure or the sensation of something inserted in the anus even after the procedure has been completed. A thrombus, swelling or infection may also form in the anal area. Several individuals have experienced the recurrence of haemorrhoids two to three years after undergoing sclerotherapy.
Banding. Also known as rubber band ligation, this outpatient procedure is usually performed by a surgeon. Again, with the help of a proctoscope, the surgeon secures the base of the haemorrhoid with a rubber band to cut off the blood supply, causing it to shrink and eventually dry up. The dried-up tissue, together with the rubber band, comes out of your body when you pass stool.
Side effects of banding—albeit rare—include bleeding, mild pain, the feeling of tightness, infection or thrombosis. When any of these occur, having a sitz bath usually helps bring relief.
Haemorrhoidectomy. Applicable to severe cases of haemorrhoids or those that recur after banding, this surgery involves the removal of affected blood vessels by making a narrow incision around the haemorrhoid tissues. Although this operation can be very painful, it has proven to be a successful treatment option for 95% of haemorrhoid cases.
Surgeons may choose to leave the wound open, partially open or completely closed after the operation. Wounds that are completely closed post-operation heal faster than those that are left open. On the other hand, wounds that are left open or partially open are less susceptible to hematoma or bruising and irritations caused by sutures.
Side effects of haemorrhoidectomy include pain during a bowel movement or while sitting, which can be managed with painkillers. Other complications that may result from this procedure are bleeding, infections, anal stenosis (constriction of the anal canal) and faecal incontinence (inability to control the discharge of feces).
Stapling. Stapled haemorrhoidopexy was recently introduced as an alternative to haemorrhoidectomy. This is usually performed on patients with prolapsed haemorrhoids or haemorrhoids that have protruded through the anus. In this procedure, the prolapsed haemorrhoid is stapled to the lining of the anus where it originally had been. Individuals who have undergone this treatment were found to experience less pain and recover faster than those who opted for haemorrhoidectomy.
Side effects of stapling include the possibility of the haemorrhoid returning sooner and more often.
Healthy Habits Help Avoid and Get Rid of Haemorrhoids
Prevention is always better than cure. While all the treatments we shared with you are considered to be safe and effective in getting rid of haemorrhoids or alleviating the discomfort caused by their symptoms, it is still best if you can lower your risk of developing them in the first place. Live a healthy lifestyle, follow a diet rich in fibre and fluids, and exercise. Avoid sitting for long periods of time and go to the toilet as soon as you feel the urge to empty your bowels to further reduce your risk of developing haemorrhoids.
Read more: What Are the Risk Factors for Haemorrhoids?
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Should you wish to consult with one of our accredited dietitians or nutritionists, you may book an appointment by phone on (07) 3071-7405 between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday or send us an enquiry. You may also want to read up on how we can help you improve your Gut and Bowel Health.