Hemorrhoids are, unfortunately, very common among both women and men, and they tend to become more common with age. In fact, the National Institutes of Health says if you’re over age 50, you’ve got about a 50% chance of developing these painful, enlarged veins.
With offices in White Plains, New York, and Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Michael H. Tarlowe, MD, helps patients relieve the painful symptoms of hemorrhoids with treatment plans customized for their needs. If you have painful hemorrhoids, here’s how he can help you find relief.
Home remedies for hemorrhoid symptoms
If your hemorrhoids are causing only mild, occasional symptoms, Dr. Tarlowe might recommend home remedies and over-the-counter products initially to see if they give you relief.
Take a bath
You don’t need to take a full bath — a sitz bath works just fine. This type of bath uses a special basin you can buy at a drugstore. The basin fits right inside your toilet, making it easy to soak without entirely disrobing. Experts recommend warm sitz baths for 15 minutes at a time several times a day — including right after having a bowel movement.
Eat more fiber
Straining with a bowel movement is a major cause of hemorrhoids and their flare-ups. And a major cause of straining is too little fiber in your diet. Adding whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to your diet is a natural way to increase your fiber intake. You might also try a stool softener made with psyllium husks. Drinking more water can help, too.
Try a drugstore product
Look for hemorrhoid creams and suppositories that contain hydrocortisone, a medicine that helps reduce swelling, itching, and burning. Wipes and pads containing witch hazel might help reduce discomfort, especially following bowel movement. Using moist wipes can also avoid irritation caused by regular toilet paper.
Use pain relievers
Over-the-counter pain relievers may provide some relief for symptoms. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, like ibuprofen, can help decrease swelling, too. Just remember, if your hemorrhoids are bleeding, pain relievers like aspirin could make the bleeding heavier.
Medical treatments for hemorrhoids
Home remedies don’t always provide adequate relief, and they’re not always suitable for chronic hemorrhoids. In those instances, Dr. Tarlowe may recommend a medical procedure for your hemorrhoids.
Rubber band ligation
This simple in-office procedure uses a special device to place a medical rubber band around the hemorrhoid, depriving it of blood. Over the next 7-10 days, the hemorrhoid shrivels up and falls off.
This treatment uses an injection of a special chemical that causes the hemorrhoid to shrivel up. Since there’s no bleeding afterward, it’s a good treatment for patients on blood thinners.
This minor surgical procedure is performed under sedation using a local anesthetic to numb your hemorrhoids so Dr. Tarlowe can surgically remove them. Typically performed as an outpatient treatment, it takes about 2-3 weeks to fully recover afterward.
If your hemorrhoid symptoms are caused by a clot, Dr. Tarlowe can perform an in-office treatment to drain the clot and provide immediate relief. This procedure is most effective if it’s performed within three days of developing symptoms.
Get a diagnosis first
If you’re suffering from painful hemorrhoids, it might be tempting to try a home remedy right away. But before you try any treatment, it’s important to have your hemorrhoids diagnosed first, especially if you’ve never had them in the past. Some serious medical problems, like colorectal cancer or anal fistulas, can cause some of the same symptoms as hemorrhoids, including pain and bleeding. Prompt diagnosis means you’ll get the most appropriate treatment as early as possible.
If you’re suffering from painful hemorrhoids — or if you’re not sure what’s causing your symptoms — early diagnosis is the best way to get fast relief. To find out how Dr. Tarlowe can help you feel better, call the office or book an appointment online today.