Piles, known as haemorrhoids in medical terminology, are characterised by pain, itching, and rectal bleeding due to swollen venous plexus in the anus. Haemorrhoids can be internal, which are on the rectal wall and can’t be seen, or external, which are present on the anal wall and visible to the naked eye. It is a very common disease. One in twenty US residents gets piles at one point or another in their lives.
Common home remedies to ease the discomfort are as follows:
- Warm baths. Warm baths help in easing the discomfort especially after passing stool. Taking a bath after all bowel movements can be infeasible. In such a case, you can try a sitz bath which can be fixed on a toilet seat and only immerses the affected area in the water. If you add Epsom salt into the water, you will feel further relief because it soothes the pain.
- Ice pack. Ice packs or cold compresses are very effective against large troublesome hemorrhoids. Wrap the ice in a paper towel or a bag before applying it to your skin for 15 minutes.
- Witch hazel. Witch hazel is anti-inflammatory. It reduces pain and itching. You can apply the oil or use products containing witch hazel like soaps and wipes.
- Aloe vera. Aloe vera is a natural anti-inflammatory product that you can apply to your skin for its soothing effect. But make sure that you are not allergic to aloe vera.
- Avoid paper towels. Bowel movements and paper towels increase the irritation caused by piles. Try replacing paper towels with soothing wipes which contain aloe vera, witch hazel, or other anti-haemorrhoids agents. Avoid using wipes that have alcohol or perfume in them because they will make the irritation worse.
- Clothing choices. Instead of tight polyester undergarments, use loose cotton underwear to keep your anal region dry. Do not use fabric softeners or perfumes on your clothes as they are irritants.
The pharmaceutical industry and CDMOs like provide several medications for piles. Haemorrhoids are one of the most common causes of rectal bleeding. They often go away on their own. Treatments can also help.
- Creams. Anti-inflammatory ointments and creams are available everywhere, you can use them for pain and swelling. If your choice of cream contains steroids, do not use it for more than 7 days.
- Stool softeners. Passing stools increase the irritation, itching, and pain in the anal region especially if the stools are hard and difficult to pass. It is in your best interest to use a stool softener to avoid unnecessary discomfort.
- Medication. The prescribed medications or surgeries for piles can include nifedipine with lidocaine; prescription corticosteroids; rubber band ligation; sclerotherapy; excisional haemorrhoidectomy; stapled haemorrhoidectomy; and haemorrhoid artery ligation.
If your symptoms change or bleeding get worse, see your doctor and get your symptoms checked. Not all haemorrhoid treatment options are surgical. You may need an assessment to rule out other diseases.
Ellen Diamonds did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.