There are many ways to treat hemorrhoids. Around 40 percent of people in the U.S. suffer from hemorrhoids at some point during their life. External hemorrhoids are painful prolapsed veins that lie within the anus as well as protruding externally. Sometimes, a blood clot forms within the hemorrhoid leading to the uncomfortable condition called a thrombosis. When an external hemorrhoid becomes thrombosed, it is bluish or purple in color, very painful, and it may bleed. Thrombosed hemorrhoids are not serious, but have a concerning appearance and cause great pain. The sooner you treat hemorrhoids, the better the outcome will be for you. Some will resolve by themselves in a couple of weeks, but others need treatment.
The exact cause of external hemorrhoids is not known, but researchers believe that weak veins are hereditary. One thing doctors are sure about is that exertion pressure is known to cause them. This can occur from straining on the toilet, standing or sitting for long periods of time, sneezing, coughing, vomiting, or laboring during childbirth. Diet also has a pivotal role in the cause and prevention of external hemorrhoids.
Fiber – A diet that is fiber-rich is necessary to treat hemorrhoids, as well as prevent them. Constipation occurs when your diet is low in fiber, and this contributes to external hemorrhoids in two ways: It encourages straining on the toilet and it also irritates the hemorrhoids when hard stool aggravates the swollen veins. Some high-fiber foods include beans, wheat or oat bran cereal, broccoli, and fresh fruit. If you dislike foods high in fiber, there are fiber supplements available, such as Metamucil. These are commonly used products to treat hemorrhoids as well as prevent them. Be sure to start slowly with these solutions and gradually increase your intake to 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day.
Fluids – Another important way to prevent and treat hemorrhoids is to drink lots of fluids each day. This results in softer, bulkier stools that are easier to pass. Eliminating straining will also prevent the hemorrhoids from protruding. The Mayo Clinic recommends 8 glasses of non-alcoholic liquids each day. Alcohol should be avoided, as it can lead to dry, small stools.
Most doctors will try conservative measures before taking action to treat hemorrhoids. When lifestyle modifications and diet does not help, there are several minimally invasive procedures that can be done in your doctor’s office or other outpatient setting to remove the hemorrhoids.
Rubber Band Ligation – With the rubber band ligation procedure, your doctor places a few tiny rubber bands around the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off the blood flow. Hemorrhoid banding allows the hemorrhoid to wither and fall away in a week or so. Sometimes, it may take two to four additional bandings to effectively treat the hemorrhoids, depending on the size and severity.
Injection – Also called sclerotherapy, the injection technique involves your doctor injecting a chemical solution into the tissue to treat the hemorrhoid. This procedure causes little or no pain and is more effective than the rubber band ligation.
Coagulation – Coagulation techniques can be achieved by using laser or infrared light or heat. With this procedure, the laser, light, or heat is applied to the hemorrhoid, causing it to shrivel and harden. The downside to coagulation is that it is associated with a higher rate of recurrence than the rubber band ligation method.
Hemorrhoidectomy – Complete removal of the hemorrhoid is called a hemorrhoidectomy. During this measure to treat hemorrhoids, the surgeon removes the excessive tissue and the offending blood vessels. While this procedure has the highest rate of effectiveness, it also has the highest rate of complications. These could include a painful recovery, difficulty emptying your bladder, urinary tract infections, and excessive blood loss.
Hemorrhoid Stapling – With a stapled hemorrhoidopexy, staples are used to block blood flow to the tissue and shrink the hemorrhoid. This stapling procedure can be performed as day surgery and is less painful with a quicker recovery than the hemorrhoidectomy.
Natural And Herbal Remedies
Bioflavonids – Bioflavonoids are a type of plant compound that stabilizes and strengthens blood vessel walls and decreases inflammation. Many find that they reduce the anal discomfort associated with external hemorrhoids. Bioflavonoids are found in citrus fruits, herperidin, oxerutin, and diosmin.
Butchers Broom – A well-known herb used to treat hemorrhoids is butcher’s broom (Ruscus aculeatus). It has anti-inflammatory properties so it shrinks the hemorrhoids. You can either take capsules of butcher’s broom or make a tea from the plant. It is recommended that the tea be taken 2 to 3 times a day for effectiveness. Other names for this herb are knee holly, box holly, and sweet broom. If you have high blood pressure, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or are pregnant or nursing, you should avoid butcher’s broom.
Horse Chestnut – To treat hemorrhoids, many chose the herb horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum). Like butcher’s broom, horse chestnut can be consumed as a tea or in capsule form. Researchers believe that it relieves symptoms by decreasing inflammation and swelling and strengthening blood vessel walls.
Dandelion – Another good remedy for external hemorrhoids is dandelion. It is available in capsule for or as a tea. This product softens your stool, making bowel movements less painful.
Pilewort – A beneficial herb for the treatment of hemorrhoids, pilewort is eaten for pain relief and to lessen bleeding.
Grape Seed Extract – To strengthen the blood vessel walls and prevent worsening of external hemorrhoids, grape seed extract is recommended by holistic practitioners.
Creams And Lotions
Hydrocortisone – As your doctor may suggest, over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream relieves painful hemorrhoids, shrinks them, and controls itching. Be sure to choose one that is made with natural herbal ingredients so that there will be minimum side effects such as tissue atrophy and skin thinnin.
Witch Hazel – Witch hazel reduces the swelling associated with hemorrhoids and is good for bleeding control. This natural astringent is available in prepared soaked pads that can be applied on the hemorrhoid directly. You can also buy a bottle of witch hazel and soak it into cotton pads to treat hemorrhoids.
Aloe Vera – Once of the best healing and soothing herbal solutions is aloe vera gel. You can either extract it right from the plant or buy it at the store. Aloe vera soothes external hemorrhoids and encourages faster healing.