Hemorrhoids occur when excessive pressure on the anal/rectal veins causes them to stretch, bulge, and expand. Internal hemorrhoids form inside the rectum, while external hemorrhoids can be seen on the skin around the anus.
For a person dealing with hemorrhoids, their sleeping position can play a significant role in managing the disease effectively. Your posture during a nap, as well as the behaviors you adopt after contracting hemorrhoids, can either heal or aggravate the problem.
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
Following are some common causes of hemorrhoids:
- Pregnancy and the pressures exerted on the anal veins during childbirth
- Anal sex
- Unhealthy bowel movement
- Heavy lifting
Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
Pain during bowel movements and blood clots are some common symptoms of this disease, especially in the case of external hemorrhoids. Others include the following.
- Swelling in anal veins causing small and hard lumps to form on the outside of the anus
- Itching, burning, and irritation on the skin around your anus
- Anal bleeding during a bowel movement but no pain
Sleeping with Hemorrhoids
For hemorrhoids and piles patients, sleeping on their side (instead of on their back) is a good way to manage the symptoms. This position doesn’t put any pressure on your back, especially the lower back area close to the hip and anus.
If you still prefer sleeping on the backside, put a soft pillow under your knees. This will relieve pressure on the anal canal. It will also help reduce the stress your pelvic floor might be under because of your abdominal weight.
In short, whatever you do, maintain a sleeping position that doesn’t put any pressure on your anal veins. To that end, here are a few simple tips you can use:
- Arrange a soft mattress to sleep on. Harder mattresses can aggravate the condition of a hemorrhoids patient.
- Avoid sleeping on your back as much as possible. Even if you put a soft pillow under your knees, it’s still better not to sleep in this position at all.
- Make sure your sleeping dress is loose and comfortable. Tightly fitting clothes tend to make sleep a real struggle. Sleeping in them may also lead to skin irritation and rashes.
- Try not to eat excessively spicy food shortly before going to bed. It would be best if you didn’t eat anything about three hours before nighty-night time. Spicy items are likely to make you go to the toilet more often during the night. And that isn’t good for your hemorrhoids.
- Don’t wear any underwear or panties while sleeping, especially of the tighter varieties. The space around your anal area needs breathing room. It’s also important to let the area loose so your hemorrhoids can heal properly.
Time to Bust the “Sleep on Your Stomach” Myth
A common misconception is that hemorrhoids patients should sleep on their stomachs to take care of the disease. However, sleeping this way (also known as a “prone position”) does nothing to mitigate your hemorrhoids.
There are better and more effective ways of doing that. In fact, you might end up damaging your spine by sleeping on your stomach. So, avoid this sleeping position as much as possible.
Tips to Sleep Comfortably with Hemorrhoids
Getting a good night’s sleep might seem impossible when you have hemorrhoids. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can sleep well by adopting a few simple personal care home remedies and making some lifestyle tweaks.
These are listed below.
A “sitz bath” refers to the practice of soaking your backside in warm water. This is done to clean the crevasses within hemorrhoid formations, where stool may get stuck. The result is itchy and irritated skin.
With a sitz bath, you can easily clean that area without excessive rubbing. Your muscles relax in the warm water as well. This improves blood flow and eases hemorrhoid pain. Taking a sitz bath before going to bed is a nice way to ensure sound and uninterrupted sleep.
*Remember not to rub the anal area after a sitz bath and pat it dry with a soft towel.
Push Them Back In
Some hemorrhoids tend to protrude from the anus as you strain during a bowel movement. While most acute hemorrhoids go back in once you stop straining after passing stool, others may continue to pop out. This can be painful and uncomfortable.
To avoid this situation, you can gently push the hemorrhoid back into the anus. Doing so will keep the skin protected, and you will be able to sleep much more peacefully.
Hemorrhoid Creams & Ointments
Hemorrhoid creams and ointments (containing aloe vera) work well on many patients. They are easily available (suppositories and OTC) at any decent pharmacy. You can use them to numb the pain in your anal region. For the best results, apply a hemorrhoid cream or ointment after getting out of a warm bath, especially a sitz bath.
Hemorrhoid cleansing pads are also available, which you can use during the day. They can lower irritation and reduce skin discomfort. Itching is another problem that can be effectively managed using hemorrhoid creams/ointments and cleansing pads.
If the pain is excruciating and hemorrhoid creams/ointments haven’t worked, consider taking an OTC (Over-the-Counter) painkiller. An effective one is NSAID. This is an anti-inflammatory and non-steroidal drug that reduces the severity of pain and lowers inflammation. Moreover, if the pain in your hemorrhoids is excessive, you should consult a doctor at the earliest.
Summing It All Up
Acute hemorrhoids (internal) tend to heal by themselves within a couple of weeks, unless the pressure on the anal veins is huge and they develop into chronic (external) hemorrhoids. In the latter scenario, it’s best to consult a doctor right away.
Self-help home remedies are fine, but you should always prioritize being examined by a qualified medical practitioner, especially if the pain and irritation aren’t going away. Any arbitrary home remedy in such situations might end up aggravating your hemorrhoids instead of fixing them.