Home treatment, which mainly involves establishing healthy bowel habits (see the Prevention section in this topic), may keep your hemorrhoids from getting worse.
Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and ketoprofen, can cause bleeding in the digestive tract, which can increase the amount of blood in your stools. These medications can also make hemorrhoids bleed more. If you need to use a nonprescription pain reliever, choose one that is not an NSAID, such as acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol).
If you have hemorrhoids, you may prevent them from getting worse or relieve your symptoms by using the following suggestions. (You may also prevent your hemorrhoids from getting worse by using the suggestions in the Prevention section of this topic.)
Avoid causing irritation of hemorrhoids
You can avoid irritating tender hemorrhoidal tissue by:
- Blotting the opening where stool passes out of the body (anus) gently with white toilet paper moistened with water or a cleansing agent (such as Balneol) after bowel movements. Baby wipes or other premoistened towels (such as Tucks) are also useful for this purpose.
- Avoiding rubbing the anal area. You may rinse off in the shower instead of wiping yourself with toilet paper. After cleansing, gently pat the anal area dry with a soft, absorbent towel or cloth.
- Avoiding soaps that contain perfumes and dyes.
Relieve pain and itching
The following home treatments may relieve your discomfort.
- Apply ice to the affected area several times a day for 10 minutes at a time. Follow this by placing a warm compress on the area for another 10 to 20 minutes.
- Take a sitz bath. Fill your bathtub with just enough warm water to cover the anal area. Do this several times a day, especially after you have had a bowel movement. Bathe for about 15 minutes at a time.
- Apply other forms of moist heat (such as warm, damp towels) to the affected area several times a day.
Use nonprescription medications as recommended by your health professional or pharmacist. (See the Medications section in this topic for information on nonprescription ointments, creams, and suppositories.)
Other comfort measures
The following measures may ease your discomfort when hemorrhoids flare up.
- You may need a day or more of bed rest to take pressure off inflamed, irritated veins. If you are 3 to 6 months pregnant, you may find it helpful to lie on your side. If you are not pregnant, sleeping on your stomach with a pillow under your hips will help decrease swelling of hemorrhoids.
- When hemorrhoids are irritated, try not to sit or stand for prolonged periods of time. If you must sit for a prolonged period of time, sit on a pillow. Avoid lifting heavy objects.
- Wear cotton underwear to prevent moisture buildup, which can irritate hemorrhoids. Wear loose clothing to allow freedom of movement and to decrease pressure on the affected area.
- Do not use a ring ("doughnut") cushion. It will restrict blood flow to the anal area and may make your symptoms worse.