If you experience hemorrhoid pain and discomfort on a regular basis, you’re likely familiar with the over-the-counter remedies that may work well for you. A vein specialist like Dr. Sergei Sobolevsky at the Downtown Vein & Vascular Center, however, can help you get rid of hemorrhoids forever with effective OTC recommendations or minimally invasive procedures. Seek his expertise when your hemorrhoids bleed, since that symptom may lead to more serious complications. If you call at the first signs of hemorrhoids, you get the best advice for how to proceed safely and effectively.
Can Hemorrhoids Be Treated at Home?
While home remedies may work for some hemorrhoids, severe hemorrhoids usually require medical attention. Hemorrhoids are similar to varicose veins, so consult an experienced vein doctor to determine the best form of treatment. In the Brooklyn area, there’s no better choice than the Downtown Vein & Vascular Center.
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal area that cause irritation, itching and pain. Some hemorrhoids don’t have any symptoms besides bleeding, and blood in your stool or on toilet paper after you wipe can indicate another, more serious condition.
Sometimes, hemorrhoids flare up briefly, then go away on their own. At other times, they worsen, leading to dangerous symptoms. So, while there are several over-the-counter (OTC) treatments that may help to relieve the discomfort associated with hemorrhoids, don’t use them until your diagnosis has been verified by an expert vein doctor who then recommends the best quality OTC treatments for your needs.
Are There Different Types of Hemorrhoids?
Doctors determine the different types of hemorrhoids based on which veins are swollen. They also use a grading system to classify hemorrhoids, which guides your treatment.
The types of hemorrhoids include:
- External. These form under the skin around the anus, causing swelling and discomfort.
- Internal. You don’t always know when you have internal hemorrhoids, since they form in the lining of the anus and lower rectum.
Internal hemorrhoids are usually painless, but they may protrude outside the anus and may cause bright red blood with bowel movements. In some cases, blood pools in an external hemorrhoid and forms a clot, which is known as a thrombosed hemorrhoid. It’s possible to have both external and internal hemorrhoids, which may cause you to think that your OTC medicine is helping when in fact it’s not.
What Home Remedies Should I Try to Relieve My Hemorrhoids?
There are several home remedies that may help relieve the discomfort of hemorrhoids while you wait for them to clear up on their own.
Once you get a proper diagnosis, your doctor may recommend:
- Ice packs. Applying ice packs or cold compresses to an inflamed hemorrhoid reduces swelling and numbs pain. Wrap the ice pack in a towel or cloth and leave it in place for about 15 minutes. Don’t apply ice directly to your skin. Repeat every hour, as needed.
- Warm baths. Sitting in a tub of warm water decreases irritation and reduces swelling. Use a bathtub or a sitz bath, which is a small plastic tub that fits over a toilet. Some people find it helpful to add Epsom salts or apple cider vinegar to the bath water to provide additional relief from irritation and pain. Soak for 20 minutes after each bowel movement or when irritation flares up. After soaking, pat dry; don’t rub the area.
- Tea tree oil. You can use tea tree oil as a home remedy for several skin conditions. It reduces symptoms of pain and itching and may help shrink hemorrhoids to reduce irritation.
- Coconut oil. Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory qualities, which relieves intense itching and reduce the urge to scratch.
- Witch hazel. Witch hazel is an astringent that fights many skin problems, from acne to bug bites to rashes. Astringents cause tissues to shrink. Apply a small amount of witch hazel to a cotton ball and dab it onto the hemorrhoid to reduce uncomfortable symptoms. You can also purchase pads infused with witch hazel.
- Aloe vera. Aloe vera has an anti-inflammatory effect, providing relief to the itching and burning associated with hemorrhoids. Look for an aloe gel that’s high in purity since additives can worsen symptoms. Use a small amount and discontinue use if there’s any sign of an allergic reaction such as a rash.
Using a bidet or moistened wipes after a bowel movement provides cleanliness without worsening the irritation. A good choice is alcohol-free baby wipes. Avoid perfumed detergent or fabric softener, and don’t wear tight underwear. Avoid straining during bowel movements and don’t sit on the toilet more than a minute or two, as sitting for long periods of time can cause your hemorrhoids to swell.
What OTC Medications Relieve Hemorrhoid Symptoms?
Over-the-counter hemorrhoid treatments from the pharmacy can’t cure the engorged veins, but fortunately, your doctor may recommend several OTC medications that give you relief from uncomfortable symptoms like pain and itching.
- OTC pain relievers. Reduce discomfort by taking OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
- Topical treatments. Over-the-counter creams, ointments and suppositories include one percent hydrocortisone or lidocaine.
- Medicated wipes. Wipes containing witch hazel provide temporary relief from discomfort.
Hydrocortisone reduces swelling and itching while lidocaine numbs the area. Don’t use products containing hydrocortisone for more than a week, though. Discontinue using any product that causes a rash or causes itching to worsen.
What Lifestyle Changes Can Relieve My Hemorrhoids?
Lifestyle changes can improve your overall health. They may prevent hemorrhoids from developing and reduce symptoms of mild hemorrhoids if they do return.
Your doctor at the Downtown Vein & Vascular Center recommends:
- Drinking water. The importance of drinking water can’t be overemphasized. Water improves digestion, softens stools and prevents constipation. Aim for six to eight glasses of water each day. Add a slice of lemon or lime if you don’t like plain water.
- Adding fiber. Make sure your diet includes plenty of foods that are high in fiber, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and beans. Fiber helps gut motility and absorbs water, which softens stools. If you haven’t been consuming high-fiber foods, add fiber to your diet slowly. Aim for 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories you consume.
- Avoiding highly processed foods. Avoid foods that are highly processed and low in fiber as much as possible since they can trigger constipation. Examples include fast foods, hot dogs, chips and ice cream.
- Exercising. Regular physical activity improves blood circulation and improves your overall health. It also helps keep your bowel movements regular.
If you have occasional constipation, increase your fiber intake with high-fiber foods or take a fiber supplement. Fiber supplements come in several forms including liquids, powders and capsules. Don’t postpone bowel movements, because doing so can aggravate constipation and lead to straining.
When Do I Need to See a Doctor for Hemorrhoids?
Home remedies and OTC medication can be effective to reduce symptoms of hemorrhoids that aren’t severe.
But see a doctor for further hemorrhoids treatment for signs that include:
- Bleeding that doesn’t stop before, during or after bowel movements
- Severe pain in the anal area or lower abdomen
- A hard lump in the anus
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fever and chills
If you’ve had symptoms of pain and itching for more than seven days and your symptoms aren’t improving or they’re getting worse, it’s time to talk to a doctor. Your doctor may be able to remove the hemorrhoid with a minimally invasive in-office procedure called embolization. One of the safest and most effective means of treatment, it’s a specialty of Dr. Sobolevsky. Only a small number of people with hemorrhoids require surgery, but if you do, the benefits include a reduced risk of recurring hemorrhoids. It prevents rectal trauma and incontinence, and your symptoms improve almost immediately.
Dr. Sergei Sobolevsky at the Downtown Vein & Vascular Center provides highly skilled, personalized care for hemorrhoids and other vein diseases. If you’re looking for compassionate, thorough medical care and quick relief from pain and discomfort caused by hemorrhoids, contact his office today to schedule an appointment.
Sergei Sobolevsky, MD, is a leading specialist in endovascular medicine with experience in vascular and interventional radiology. Dr. Sobolevsky has decades of experience in the field, with over 25,000 procedures performed, accumulating extensive experience in image-guided minimally invasive medicine, diagnosing and treating a range of conditions.
Dr. Sobolevsky earned his Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree in 1997 from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He received his specialty clinical training in vascular and interventional radiology at Harvard University. Later, he earned his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Recognized as a Castle Connolly Top Doctor and named to the Top Doctors New York Metro Area in 2020, 2021, and 2022, Dr. Sobolevsky is licensed in multiple states, has delivered presentations at numerous institutions in the US and abroad, and now acts as a clinical advisor for the biomedical industry. He also held multiple positions in the field during his career, including Chief of Vascular and Interventional Radiology at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, NY, Senior Vice President in Clinical and Regulatory Affairs at Artann Laboratories in North Brunswick, NJ, and Medical Director at the American Endovascular and Amputation Prevention Center in Brooklyn.More About Dr. Sobolevsky
Downtown Vein Treatment Center
480 Court Street, Ste 101
Brooklyn, NY 11231