Treatment & Reviews Menu
Treatment & Reviews Menu
I’ve had severe hemorrhoids for nearly a decade so have I have definitely had the opportunity to try a lot of different treatments. Somethings worked better than others and somethings can help at some stages of the hemorrhoids but not others. Below I’ll look through what is on offer to treat hemorrhoids and then also review the ones that I have tried. I’ll start from light treatments, like creams etc., and then proceed to more drastic measures, like surgery.
For a lot of people hemorrhoids can be caused by a low fibre or even just a unhealthy diet. If you have been experiencing low grade hemorrhoids it could be due to this and a change in the food you eat could have a positive effect. Diets that are helpful in lowering the likelihood of hemorrhoids are ones that include a lot of leafy greens, lentils and nuts. Foods to avoid are a lot of meat, processed food, white bread, cow milk, cheese, and alcohol. This can suck at times because if feels like a lot fun stuff is being taken out of your diet, but in the long run it could be super helpful for the improvement of hemorrhoids and overall health. If you’re experiencing any grade of hemorrhoid I would suggest to look at your diet first.
Something that could assist with your fibre intake and not have a detrimental effect on your body are products like Normafibe. This is no way an advertisement for Normafibe, I just haven’t found a product that has done the same thing plus this is what several doctors have told me to take. Normafibe works to make you bowel movements regular and smooth. It creates a soft stool that passes easily and quickly. I previously had taken psyllium husk in addition to the food I was eating but was told by my doctor and nurse that I should stop taking it. This is due to your body becoming dependent and the effect of the psyllium lessening over time. The same does not occur with Normafibe.
The way that toilets are designed today actually makes it harder on our rectum to pass a bowel movement. Shown in the diagram below a kink in the colon is created on a normal toilet with no stool but when the legs are elevated the kink is released and the bowel movement can pass more freely and with less pressure. This is very important for people who have hemorrhoids or a prone to hemorrhoids. The straining during a bowel movement will exacerbate the hemorrhoid on top of it already being irritated from be rubbed by the bowel movement as it passes along. It can obviously be tough to use a stool at work so it could be helpful to try and time your morning motion to be at home so that you can use you stool in peace. The first thing every colorectal doctor will asks you is if you use a stool!
Our bodies need exercise to strengthen, increase blood flow, help the metabolism and create good chemicals in the body. High impact movements may create strain on the anus and inflame a hemorrhoid. Exercises such as squats and weights can apply a lot of pressure to the rectum area and if performed excessively they can cause a flare up. If you notice hemorrhoids appear after you exercise or have done a strenuous exercise, try changing your routine to something that doesn’t apply pressure to the anus. Low impact exercises like swimming and pilates are excellent for the body and doesn’t cause strain in the rectum area.
If you have a low grade hemorrhoid, like a stage 1 or 2, it may be soothed and shrink when using an icepack. Icepacks can help to cool down the inflammation. Be sure to wrap the pack in a tea towel or some sort of fabric, if applied directly to your skin you can get and ice burn. You may want to repeat using an icepack a couple of times a day to help it shrink faster.
Do not use this, I repeat do not use this. I had purchased a hemorrhoid cushion with the hopes of it helping to lessen the pressure on my grade 3-4 hemorrhoids when I was sitting for most of the day at work. Over the period of a few hours I noticed the feeling of my hemorrhoids becoming more inflamed and itchy. I thought that maybe my body wasn’t used to the pillow so I continued to use it for the next few days. The hemorrhoids became worse and I ended up needing to book another surgery soon. When I spoke to my colorectal surgeon about my lifestyle I mentioned that I used the pillow he told me that they do not work and actually apply more pressure to the hemorrhoid area. I asked why the exist and he said it could just be a marketing ploy to make more money.
I personally would not suggest using anything from the shelf at a chemist for hemorrhoids. I find them to not be strong enough (no matter what stage of the hemorrhoid). Go to the doctor and ask for a prescription of hemorrhoid cream. One that works wonders for a flare up is Sheriproct. This cream has steroids in it (don’t let that word scare you) that helps to calm an exacerbated hemorrhoid of any size. I have found that if you do have a grade 3-4 hemorrhoid it will help to keep it under control and may help it go down a bit but you’ll still probably need medical intervention.
Two other creams that I have used are diazepam and amitriptyline. These work in a specific way to relax the muscles of your anus, not by reducing the size of the hemorrhoid. They’re to use over a long period of time, not for a quick fix. Diazepam and amitriptyline will only work for you if your hemorrhoids are caused by constant straining anus muscles. This was the case for me due to an overactive pelvic floor that therefore added constant pressure to my rectum.
Witch hazel is another topical ointment that can be applied to hemorrhoids. It is natural and non-invasive. I find that this only really helps grade 1 hemorrhoid. Best way to apply is by soaking a cotton ball with it and leaving resting against the hemorrhoid for 15 minutes twice a day.
I’ve mentioned Diazepam in the creams section but I also found a great difference in the efficiency of the medicine when it was in suppository form compared to cream form. If your hemorrhoids flare up around times when you are stressed or nervous this could mean that you hold on to pressure unconsciously in your rectum and it therefore creates hemorrhoids. In the past few months I’ve started using Diazepam suppositories during times when I know that I will be stressed for the day. This intervention beforehand made sure my bottom would be relaxed during the high pressure moments and consequently no hemorrhoids would form. Diazepam is a muscle relaxant and works locally in the area that it’s applied to which is great because you don’t get the same woozy feeling that Valium can cause.
Epsom salt baths are an excellent way to help shrink hemorrhoids. It is best to have a lie down bath when using it because the combination of the salt and no pressure on you bottom area whilst floating helps to maximise the shrinking. For this reason I favour the bath but if you’re unable to do so a sitz bath can be easily utilised whilst in a sitting position on the toilet. During any stage of a hemorrhoid that I have experienced I would have an Epsom salt bath (sometimes up to twice a day if I was really bad). I find it to be most helpful on grade 1-3 hemorrhoids.
I’ll just state that I am in no way promoting this program, I’m just mentioning it as something that I have tried. My mother bought this for me when she saw how much I was struggling at one point. Basically it’s a PDF that you receive that goes through what hemorrhoids are, and some general treatments for it. I personally didn’t find it helpful because it didn’t add any new information from what I could find on the internet. It also only really focuses on treatment methods that will help with relief for hemorrhoids in 1-2 stage.
I tried all of these in conjunction with continuing western medicine and found it to be a helpful accompanying treatment. No matter what level of hemorrhoids I had I founds these natural remedies were very useful in boosting immune support and making sure my body naturally had all the vitamins and nutrients it needs to be able to combat hemorroids. I only tried these when I had grade 3-4 hemorroids, so it was never going to completely cure it but there is the possibility that lower grade hemorrhoids could be greatly assisted in their shrinking process by trying out some of these therapies.
I tried hypnosis in the 7th year of having chronic hemorrhoids because I had tried every surgery that existed and still was experiencing extreme pain. Like the above I would use hypnosis in conjunction with continuing western medicine but this one I found to have quite a powerful difference. The hypnosis that I had focused on relaxing the anal area because I would constantly unconsciously strain. Seeing that my hemorrhoids were caused by overactive muscles in the pelvic floor the hypnosis had a great effect and had similar exercises to the physiotherapy I have been trying (mentioned below). This type of therapy may not have an effect on your hemorrhoids if they are cause by diet, over exercising, pregnancy or old age. It would be most helpful if you find that you flare up when you stress. This could be due to your muscles unconsciously tensing from when you stress.
This again might be a therapy that is predominantly helpful if your hemorrhoids are caused by a hypertonic pelvic floor (found in both men and women). If your hemorrhoids are cause by being overweight, straining while having a bowel movement, having diarrhea or constipation, not having regular bowel movements, sitting for a long time, being pregnant or giving birth, not eating enough fibre in your diet, using too many laxatives, certain exercises or over exercising, getting older- as tissues lose strength and elasticity as you age, then this will probably not be the best thing for you to try. This specific therapy targets rectum muscles that are subconsciously over tensing and causing hemorrhoids. I have found this to be super helpful for my specific hemorrhoid problem and have helped my stage 4 hemorrhoids go down to none existent. I do about 40 minutes, twice a day of physio exercises so it does take a bit of time and effort.
This might sound repetitive for a hemorrhoid problem that you don’t have but I did say I would cover all the treatments I’ve tried! Valium can be helpful for you if your hemorroids are caused by over tensing anus muscles. It works by relaxing the sphincter and therefore not applying the pressure that creates a hemorrhoid. This has a short term effects and only lasts for as long as the Valium tablet does. I opted to stop taking this because your body slowly becomes dependent on Valium and it will have less of an effect the more you take.
I bought a thermotherapy machine that has a small rod that you insert in the anus and it heats up to 30-45 degrees Celsius. It last for 20 minutes and actually doesn’t feel too hot in your bottom. I found this device to be a temporary help, it did help to shrink 1-3 degree hemorrhoids in a short period of time. The only problem that I would have was that the machine cause me to have cramps, forcing the rod out if I didn’t hold it in place. You might not experience this and it could be helpful if you only have the occasional hemorrhoid that quickly needs to be shrunk.
I wouldn’t suggest for you to do this unless a doctor asks you to do it because of the cost. An MRI can be helpful for finding out what is going on with the inside of your rectum that couldn’t be viewed with a regular examination. This would probably only be suggested if you have chronic stage 3-4 hemorrhoids and haven’t responded well to banding surgery. I did an MRI to see if the doctor was missing anything because up until that point I had already had 5 surgeries but the hemorrhoids kept coming back. We found nothing through the MRI.
This is another way for the doctor to examine inside your rectum. A flexible fibre-optic instrument is inserted into the anus where the specialist can see more clearly what is occurring. This would generally be performed if you had stage 2-4 hemorroids and was looking at having surgery treatment. The colonoscopy isn’t painful and the days following it you should not feel any pain. The bowel prep is not a lot of fun though. There is a prep kit that in combination with fasting helps to clear out your body. Or you could opt for an enema to clear out your bowel for this procedure.
Biofeedback testing may be suggested to you if you have reoccurring chronic hemorrhoids. They may perform an endoanal ultrasound that give a two-dimensional picture of the anatomy, and an anal manometry that checks the anal pressures and rectal capacity. The test basically helps to find what your rectum is doing and if there is any cause due to function that might be creating the hemorrhoids. This was a super helpful procedure for me because surgery wasn’t solving the reoccurring hemorrhoids so we decided to see how the bowel was functioning. This is where we found that my anal muscle resting pressure was twice as much as a regular persons resting pressure.
The biofeedback nurse will often give you dietary plans, supplements, toilet and exercises techniques to see if they help to alleviate your hemorrhoids. The testing itself is invasive and if you have hemorrhoids at the time it can be very painful. I would still recommend doing it because it will give you a clearer picture of what is going on for your body. I would suggest the biofeedback discussion with the nurse for all grades of hemorrhoids but the physical testing for grades 2-4.
This is a surgical procedure that is performed when topical ointments have not helped to alleviated hemorrhoids and they continue to occur. This is a treatment only for internal hemorrhoids (including ones that have prolapsed). The band is placed around the base of the hemorrhoids, cutting off blood flow to it making it either shrink or fall off. It is a quick day procedure with recovery taking up to 4 days to 2 weeks. This procedure generally has a low grade of pain if a nerve block is administered (medicine injected in the hemorrhoid to numb it). Without the nerve block it can be quite painful and pain medicine will be required. This procedure can be very helpful for grade 1-3 hemorrhoids, making them either disappear or become more manageable. Personally, my grade 4 hemorrhoids had become so bad that this procedure stopped working for me.
I would say definitely use this surgery as a last resort because there is a severe amount of pain you will endure and you still may continue to get hemorroids in the future. A hemorrhoidectomy is a surgery that removes the hemorrhoid. It is very invasive and can take around 3-6 to recover from. You will need a carer for the first few weeks because it will be too painful for you to do much of anything. This surgery did help me not to have hemorrhoids for 2 years but then they came back with a vengeance. My story is not uncommon but positive stories do also exists where people have been happy with the end result and have experience little to no more hemorrhoids. This surgery is a bit of a gamble with great highs or sucky lows as an outcome.
I have not tried this but supposedly a hemorrhoidopexy is a new technique that is still painful to recover from but less painful than a hemorrhoidectomy. According to Wikipedia it involves ‘the removal of abnormally enlarged hemorrhoidal tissue, followed by the repositioning of the remaining hemorrhoidal tissue back to its normal anatomic position’.
I would suggest the hemorrhoidectomy and a hemorrhoidopexy if you have stage 3-4 hemorrhoids, but really consider if this is right for you.
I am in no way a medical professional and all the things I have mentioned above is just advice. Please seek help from a medical professional to see what is right for you.
If there is anything you would like me to cover or go more into depth about please mention it to me on the Q&A page.