Rectal bleeding doesn’t always indicate the presence of hemorrhoids. It is a symptom caused by disorders like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcers, anal fissures, and even colorectal cancer. That is why it is necessary to have a proper diagnosis before opting for at-home remedies for treatment.
Hemorrhoids are often accompanied by rectal pain or discomfort, pressure, burning, and itching. They are swollen veins caused by excessive pressure in the anal area. Passing hard stools increase the intra-abdominal pressure, forcing the veins around the anus to expand. Hemorrhoids may be present internally or externally. Internal hemorrhoids tend to be less painful than external ones, but they can still cause your rectum to bleed out.
Some hemorrhoids heal by themselves within a few weeks, while the rest need home remedies, lifestyle changes, and in severe cases, medical interventions. As with every other disease, the safest and wisest choice is to set up an appointment with your healthcare provider if the home remedies do not seem to work or the symptoms worsen.
At-Home Remedies for Hemorrhoids
You can opt for any of the following home remedies to help relieve symptoms caused by hemorrhoids.
1. Fluid and Fiber Intake
Sometimes, taking additional fluids and adding fiber to your diet through legumes, fresh fruits, and vegetables is all it takes for the hemorrhoids to heal.
2. Daily Exercise
Include exercise in your daily routine. Our sedentary lifestyles are a huge reason for increased digestive disorders.
3. Sitz Baths
Taking 2 to 3 sitz baths daily can quickly relieve the pain and itching caused by hemorrhoids. Just add regular or Epsom salt to warm water and soak the area requiring relief for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Ice Packs
Ice packs shrink the swollen veins, providing quick relief from pain. Always keep a thin cotton cloth between your anal area and the ice pack to prevent ice burns.
5. Witch Hazel
Pat yourself dry after every bowel movement and apply witch hazel afterward.
Using Heating Pads for Hemorrhoids
We know ice packs work wonders for treating hemorrhoids but do heating pads have the same effect?
Heating pads reduce inflammation, which is integral for treating external hemorrhoids. As discussed earlier, hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels inside the anal area. This swelling hinders blood flow in the rectum and causes pain and itching. Sitting and standing for unusually long periods contribute to this swelling.
When a heating pad is applied to the anal area, the dry heat forces the blood to flow again, relieving the hemorrhoidal pain.
Advantages of Using a Heating Pad
- A heating pad temporarily relieves hemorrhoid symptoms by increasing the blood supply. This reduces itchiness, irritation, and throbbing pain.
- The ease of use lets you use a heating pad at any time of the day. You can apply it whenever you need relief from the pain caused by external hemorrhoids.
- They offer a no- to low-risk approach to treating hemorrhoids. Anal muscles adequately respond to heat application, and more extended applications do not harm them in any way.
- Unlike sitz baths which require longer prep time and then the actual bath that may take up to 20 minutes, you can use a heating pad from the comfort of your bed or sofa or even a chair from your workplace.
Ice Pack vs. Heating Pad
There are no side effects of using ice packs and heating pads. Let’s talk about how they can help you manage hemorrhoidal pain.
Ice Pack for Treatment
Ice packs reduce inflammation. You must have watched lead actors apply a bag of frozen peas against cuts and bruises on their faces in movies. The idea behind that is to counter the swelling and immediately reduce it with the help of cold therapy.
External hemorrhoids are hard lumps around the anus, making sitting down a painful ordeal. Doctors typically advise using an ice pack to treat the tenderness and discomfort caused by external hemorrhoids.
You can use a store-bought gel pack or crush some ice and wrap it with a cotton t-shirt to make a DIY ice pack at home. Apply it throughout the day for quick pain relief.
Heating Pad for Thrombosed Hemorrhoids
When blood accumulates inside an external hemorrhoid, it turns into a thrombosed hemorrhoid. The accumulated blood will make the hemorrhoid look dark purple or red. Thrombosed hemorrhoids make the simple process of sitting and standing seem even more painful than earlier.
A heating pad on its own might not be enough for treating that blood clot inside an external hemorrhoid. Using it in combination with an ice pack has a more substantial chance of alleviating the pain.
Both hot and cold therapies help manage pain to a greater extent. Applying an ice pack to a thrombosed hemorrhoid can reduce the swelling, and a heating pad can normalize the blood flow.
If you have poor bathroom habits, strain during bowel movements, or don’t take an adequate diet, you are more likely to suffer from hemorrhoids.
Simple self-care practices and at-home treatments can make the hemorrhoids go away. Sitting on top of a heating pad or applying it to the affected area can help alleviate the symptoms of external hemorrhoids.
A heating pad is a safe way to relieve hemorrhoid pain and can easily be used by children, adults, and the elderly.