Does Witch Hazel Help Hemorrhoids?

Branch containing witch hazel flower

Hemorrhoids can be an uncomfortable condition affecting the anus and lower rectum. Common symptoms of hemorrhoids include bleeding, discomfort, pain, itching, and fecal leakage. Anyone can develop hemorrhoids regardless of age, gender, and ethnicity. While rarely requiring medical intervention, hemorrhoids certainly cause a lot of discomfort and pain.

Treatment of piles includes controlling inflammation, discomfort, and swelling. Witch hazel is a natural astringent with powerful antioxidant properties that can easily treat these symptoms. It can be ingested orally (only in small quantities) or applied topically to manage some of the symptoms of hemorrhoids.

Unraveling the Benefits of Witch Hazel (for Hemorrhoids)

Witch Hazel has a wide range of health benefits that can be used to manage hemorrhoids. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce swelling and inflammation for starters. The ointment's powerful pain-relieving properties can help with the discomfort associated with hemorrhoids, while its antibacterial properties allow hemorrhoids to heal much faster.

Research also indicates that witch hazel has hemostatic properties, meaning that it can stop bleeding caused due to hemorrhoids. In the case of pregnant women, witch hazel can also heal vaginal injuries following birth and minimize the risk of developing postpartum vaginal infections.

How to Apply Witch Hazel to the Hemorrhoids

You could use commercial witch hazel wipes to deliver the desired results, but you can create home remedies if you're on a budget without added ingredients that might cause side effects.

Mix Witch Hazel with Castor Oil

Castor oil is a popular home remedy for managing the symptoms of hemorrhoids. Its powerful anti-inflammatory effects can be combined with witch hazel for a potent solution. Using a cotton ball, mix two tablespoons of witch hazel with two tablespoons of castor oil. Now apply the cotton ball to the external hemorrhoids for pain relief. Do this several times a day until your symptoms get better.

Create Suppositories of Witch Hazel

You can create witch hazel suppositories by shaping the oil into small pencil-sized cylinders. Freeze these suppositories until they are ready to use. The freezing temperature and witch hazel can be used to provide instant relief (depending on the severity of the case).

Make Witch Hazel Water for Bathing

Use the liquid form of witch hazel for bathing in warm water. Add about 1/2 cup or 1/4 cup of witch hazel to your warm water. Mix using your arm or a stirrer. Now take your bath as you normally would. Stay in the water for as long as possible or until the warmth subsides.

What are the Side Effects of Witch Hazel for Hemorrhoids

Allergic reactions to witch hazel are fairly rare. You should not use witch hazel by mouth because it can irritate the stomach or cause liver problems when taken orally. If you have rosacea, do not use witch hazel. This could worsen the skin conditions and cause swollen bumps to form on the face. Always check with your doctor before using any home remedies, including witch hazel.

It is worth noting that you should use witch hazels for hemorrhoids to manage symptoms, not as a prevention strategy. As such, you should stop using witch hazel once the symptoms abate.

Other Solutions to Manage Hemorrhoids (alongside Witch Hazel)

There are various treatment options that you can use to provide relief. Some of these methods are preventative, such as eating a high-fiber diet or squatting during bowel movements. Other methods focus more on managing the symptoms of hemorrhoids., Topical treatments, such as Preparation H with Witch Hazel, coconut oil suppositories, and oral pain relievers, can also alleviate some of the symptoms of hemorrhoids.

Here are a few tips to prevent hemorrhoid simooms:

  • Increase your dose of high fiber foods and drink plenty of fluids to keep your stools soft
  • Hit the gym and workout to keep your bowel movements on a more regular schedule
  • If you are overweight, try losing weight to alleviate some of the pressure on the veins in your anus and rectum area.

In extremely rare cases, when the symptoms persist and the pain continues to get worse, your doctor may recommend surgery. In the case of persistent bleeding, your doctor might recommend a few minimally invasive procedures. These include rubber band litigation and the use of coagulation techniques. Coagulation is highly effective at causing internal hemorrhoids to harden and shrivel.

Rubber band litigation is the insertion of two small rubber bands around the base of the internal hemorrhoid to cut off its blood supply. The hemorrhoids will wither away and fall off in a week. Hemorrhoid banding can be uncomfortable and cause more bleeding, but the condition isn't severe. However, if the conditions become more severe, it may require intervention.

If witch hazel and other techniques have proven to be ineffective, you may have to undergo surgery. The most popular hemorrhoid surgeries include the following:

Hemorrhoid Removal: This procedure is called hemorrhoidectomy and involves the removal of excessive hemorrhoids that are causing the bleeding. The surgeon will administer anesthesia in combination with sedation to start the surgery. Hemorrhoid removal is the most effective method of treating severe hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoid stapling: Also known as staple hemorrhoidopexy, this technique blocks blood circulation to excessive tissue. It is mostly used for treating internal hemorrhoids. Stapling is less painful and allows patients to return to regular activities. With that said, it has a higher risk of recurrence and even rectal prolapse. Complications from the surgery include bleeding, urinary retention, and even sepsis (a life-threatening blood infection).

Note that not all home remedies are backed by scientific research, so you should always talk to your doctor before implementing them.

Wrapping Up

Thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of witch hazel, you can use it as a suitable home remedy to combat hemorrhoids and uncomfortable symptoms. However, if witch hazel or similar home remedies have not alleviated the symptoms after two weeks, you should visit a doctor to rule out any serious medical conditions and discuss your treatment options.