Hemorrhoids (read hem-uh-roids), also known as “piles,” are swollen veins of your lower rectum and anus, pretty similar to varicose veins. Depending on the affecting area, hemorrhoids are classified as “internal hemorrhoids” (inside the rectum) and “external hemorrhoids” (under the skin surrounding the anus).
It is a prevalent condition affecting almost three out of four adults once or more in the lifetime. Underlining the exact cause of hemorrhoids is not very easy, but a combination of factors like a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet is usually responsible. Luckily, there are some very effective as well as safe home remedies for piles.
You can use these remedies and some lifestyle adjustments to improve the condition, especially in the early stages. But you can’t rely only on these remedies if you are having symptoms of late stages of piles. Symptoms like painful stools and regular constipation can be managed at home. However, if you start noticing rectal bleeding, you should talk to your doctor without any hesitation.
Before we discuss these home remedies, let’s try to answer some critical questions related to hemorrhoids.
How long do piles last?
It deserves entirely on the severity of the condition and related symptoms. We can’t talk of a set duration for how long you can have piles. Small, painless piles without considerable discomfort usually clear up within a few days and don’t require specific treatment. A change in diet, like more fiber and exclusion of oily foods, leading an active lifestyle, etc., is enough to overcome small hemorrhoids.
However, large, external piles causing significant discomfort like very painful stools, constipation, and rectal bleeding, etc., may take longer to heal. In such cases, home remedies for piles may not be enough, and you may have to talk to your doctor for proper treatment.
How long does it take for hemorrhoids to shrink?
Again, it depends mainly on how the rectum and anus are affected by hemorrhoids. Regular hemorrhoids with mild discomfort usually shrink within a week. However, thrombosed hemorrhoids may take up to 10 days to improve if you are not going for the surgery. It may require two to three weeks for the lump to heal completely.
The healing period after getting proper treatment won’t stop you from leading an everyday life. However, your doctor may suggest you against intense exercises and strenuous activities, at least for a couple of weeks.
Is there a natural cure for piles?
Yes, natural remedies are quite effective in improving the condition – but only when you don’t have severe piles complications. Following are some very effective home remedies that can help you overcome mild to moderate piles symptoms.
Home remedies for piles
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera gel has been applied as a natural remedy for piles for many years. The anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera gel may effectively improve inflammation and irritation of the anus and rectum. Although we don’t have enough scientific evidence of aloe vera as an effective treatment for piles, the National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health records aloe vera gel as a very effective and safe topical natural treatment for piles.
You can find aloe vera gel in various skincare products, but using only pure, fresh aloe vera gel is recommended for the best results. Some people are allergic to aloe vera gel. You should avoid using aloe vera gel even if you are allergic to onions and garlic. Rubbing a pea-sized amount of gel on the forearm will help you to check for allergic reactions. If you don’t notice anything different after 24 to 48 hours, the gel is safe for you for topical use.
2. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is also considered among very efficient home remedies for piles. You must be very sure and, at the same time, cautious about what you are going to apply on piles – because the already-affected area may get more irritated and inflamed. Many people use witch hazel to apply directly on external piles to get relief from pain and irritation.
Natural witch hazel is an excellent source of astringent, a substance known for its tissue-shrinking abilities. Thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, witch hazel may give you instant relief from complications, if not treat the symptoms permanently.
Here is how you can use witch hazel as a natural treatment for piles:
- Take a small quantity of pure and fresh witch hazel on a cotton ball.
- Dab the cotton ball on painful areas to get some quick relief.
- You should never use witch hazel diluted with alcohol to avoid an increase in irritation and dryness.
3. Apply Some Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum jelly, Vaseline, in particular, may also be effective to soothe inflammation and pain. For desired results, dab some petroleum jelly on the affected area and get quick relief.
Home remedies for external piles
1. Ice Packs
Applying cold or ice packs to the piles may also be surprisingly useful to improve pain and inflammation. An ice pack may temporarily relieve pain and reduce swelling as well.
Don’t apply ice cubes directly to the skin to avoid tissue damage. Instead, scarf a few ice cubes in a soft, clean cloth and dab on the affected area for fifteen minutes to get relief.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is known for its moisturizing effects and can reduce piles’ complications within a few minutes. You can apply some coconut oil directly on piles to get rid of swelling and irritation. Coconut oil is also very good at reducing the urge to scratch the piles-affected anus.
3. Potato Compress
It may sound very strange, but a potato compress is also among the most effective home remedies for external piles. When you apply grated potato on piles, it works as a soothing astringent and improves the symptoms like pain, inflammation, itching, etc.
4. Warm Bath with Epsom Salt
A warm bath can also give surprising results and can reduce irritation and inflammation. Both a full-body bath and a sitz bath can give you immediate relief from the complication of piles. We recommend taking an Epsom salt bath for fifteen to twenty minutes after a bowel movement for great results. It might sound a bit arduous but is packed with some surprising results. Hence, you should give it a try.
How to get rid of piles when pregnant?
Pregnant women are usually prone to getting hemorrhoids, especially in the third trimester, due to the pressure of an enlarged uterus on rectal veins and reduced physical activities. You can ease the complications with these home treatments:
- Avoid sitting in one position for so long: Sitting aggravates the anus and rectum’s venous pressure. You should avoid sitting in one position for hours. Instead, try to take a stroll or keep changing your sitting position regularly. Standing up every few minutes may also help. Sitting on a hemorrhoid pillow (also known as doughnut and ring cushion) may also be very handy.
- Soak in warm water: Soaking the affected area in a tub filled with warm water may also help reduce complications of hemorrhoids during pregnancy.
- Ask your doctor for an over-the-counter-remedy: Applying witch hazel medicated pads can be immensely helpful. Otherwise, ask your gynecologist for prescribed medication or cream to ease the symptoms.
NOTE: Pregnancy is itself full of different complications. If you get affected with hemorrhoids quite frequently during pregnancy, we suggest you get in touch with your doctor for proper assessment and a change in the pregnancy-care module, if required.
Natural food treatment for piles
Some minor changes in your eating habit can be surprisingly useful to deal with hemorrhoids and related complications. Here are some tempering you can do with your diet.
1. Add more fiber
Diet rich in fiber can play a crucial role in improving piles by positively affecting your digestion. Fiber increases your stool volume and weight and ensures easy and comfortable passage of stools. Oatmeal, nuts, beans, fruits, pears, etc., are some of the best dietary fiber sources.
2. Drink plenty of water and other liquids
Most anal problems, including hemorrhoids, usually develop due to a lack of fluids in the diet.
Quench a lot of water and other fluids such as fruit and vegetable juices, coconut water, etc., can help you keep your stools soft and make them easy to pass through the intestines. A much softer stool means you can pass the stool without putting much pressure on the rectum – and in less irritation to the affected parts.
3. Add more whole grains
Whole grains are the powerhouses of nutrition. Because they are ready to eat with endosperm, bran, and germ – all of which are packed with various health benefits. Whole grains are particularly rich in insoluble fiber and can immensely improve your digestion and reduce the discomfort related to hemorrhoids.
You should keep in mind that whole grains are not only about bread and whole-wheat flour. While these are the best options, the list contains corn, brown rice, oats, whole rye, barley, and quinoa.
In particular, oatmeal can be a perfect natural treatment for piles, and that too, without any side effects. Oatmeal is an excellent source of fiber known as “beta-glucan,” which works like a prebiotic and improves your gut microbiome. Prebiotic also ensure better survival for good bacteria in your diet.
When you visit an online or nearby store to purchase oatmeal, steel-cut oats need more cooking time but are less processed.
4. Add Broccoli and Other Veggies Containing Cruciferous
Cruciferous veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, arugula, kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage, turnips, radishes, etc., can be very healthful home remedies for piles.
These vegetables are known for their anticancer properties, but they are packed with many insoluble fibers. For example, only one cup (76 grams) of raw broccoli gives you about 2 grams of healthy fiber, and the best part is, all of it is insoluble. Broccoli increases your stool’s volume and makes it pass easier. Additionally, cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolate, a plant chemical that is easier for your gut bacteria to breakdown.
A study highlighted that an increased intake of cruciferous vegetables (14 grams per kg) of body weight assorted the gut microbe within a couple of weeks. And assorted gut microbe is directly linked with a healthy, more resilient gastrointestinal system, and at the same time, and improved immunity. This, especially when combined with fiber content, makes cruciferous veggies a go-to option for people struggling with hemorrhoids.
5. Cucumbers and Melons
Cucumbers and melons come from the Cucurbitaceae family. They are not only very delicious, but can be fine home remedies for piles, and can also improve your digestion.
Tip: Instead of consuming peeled cucumber, have them with the skin to get the most fiber content.
Apples also boast a decent amount of healthy fiber. For instance, one medium-sized apple contains about 5 grams of fiber. The apple contains a special fiber known as pectin, which forms a gel-like consistency in your digestive tract.
This improves your digestive system and bulks up the stool, easing the strain during stool and other hemorrhoids symptoms.
Some other very healthy and effective foods that can help you get over piles are pears, raspberries, bananas, stewed prunes, bell peppers, celery, root vegetables, squash, etc.
Foods to Avoid:
You should avoid foods low in fiber, including red meat, dairy products, fried foods, processed meats, salty foods, white flour, etc.
Piles are not a very serious complication, of course, until and unless left untreated for multiple weeks. You can improve mild to moderate symptoms with a healthy combination of a fiber-rich diet and home remedies for piles. Hopefully, we have guided you correctly with some very efficient natural remedies. If you don’t notice any recovery in symptoms even after a couple of weeks, we suggest you talk to a doctor for a proper assessment. Sometimes, doctors suggest hemorrhoidectomy (a surgical procedure to remove hemorrhoids), especially if there is no improvement after long-term medical treatment.