Hemorrhoids, or piles, are one of the most common gastrointestinal conditions globally. They are swollen anal or rectal veins that can cause itching, irritation, soreness, pain, and even bleeding. Hemorrhoids are usually of two different kinds, internal and external.
Internal hemorrhoids tend to form inside the rectum, while external hemorrhoids develop on the outer part of the anus. Internal hemorrhoids can protrude from the rectum and become external hemorrhoids in some cases.
Aside from the symptoms mentioned above, hemorrhoids can make bowel movements extremely painful. Prolapse (hemorrhoids creeping into the anal canal) is another common symptom. Even though hemorrhoids aren’t dangerous or life-threatening in any way, living with them isn’t easy. Therefore, it’s essential to seek proper treatment and get rid of the issue once and for all.
Dealing with Hemorrhoid Pain
Hemorrhoid pain can cause plenty of discomfort. It can also seriously disrupt your everyday routine by turning simple chores into monumental challenges. While the uneasiness levels may vary throughout the day, hemorrhoid pain is usually worse at night compared to the morning, afternoon, and evening.
Why Does Hemorrhoid Pain Increase at Night?
Hemorrhoid pain increases at night due to various factors. For one thing, anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol levels naturally decrease as the day comes to a close. Moreover, your muscles and joints can stiffen up due to the body lying in one position for a long time.
Hemorrhoidal pain may sometimes change in the wee hours of the night. However, people dealing with this condition tend to experience a fair bit of discomfort while trying to sleep every night. Given how elusive deep sleep can be, with or without hemorrhoids, what can you do to make things easier for yourself?
Following are some tips to help you deal with hemorrhoidal pain, itching, and flare-ups.
Be Mindful of What You Eat
A healthy diet containing lots of fiber is a must if you’re dealing with or vulnerable to hemorrhoids in any way. Food items rich in fiber include apples, beans, avocados, and lentils. If this isn’t possible, consider taking a fiber supplement. This should fulfill the minimum requirement of 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day.
Effective supplement options include Metamucil, a psyllium husk fiber supplement, or its generic equivalent. However, this may not be for everyone as it can cause bloating or gas to some people. If you’re one of them, consider taking a supplement containing methylcellulose or wheat dextrin.
Lubricate Your Digestion Process
Start consuming a tablespoon of mineral oil mixed with yogurt or apple sauce at breakfast or lunch every day. This will help stool pass by your hemorrhoids with ease. While some consistency will be needed with this self-help trick, remember not to do this for very long. A few weeks should be good enough. Moreover, if you do try this particular domestic hack, we recommend adding a liner within your undergarments. This will take care of any oil leakage.
Take Regular Sitz Baths
Many hemorrhoid patients underestimate the relief provided by a sitz bath. Don’t make that mistake. If you want your hemorrhoids to become less of an inconvenience, make sitz baths a prominent part of your routine.
For a soothing and comforting sitz bath, take warm water in a tub or basin, preferably one that can fit under a toilet seat. After that, soak your inflamed anal and rectal areas in this warm water for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat this exercise two to three times a day for effective results.
Don’t Put Off Going to the Bathroom
Try not to put off visits to the restroom. Go immediately when you feel the urge. Delaying bowel movements is a surefire way to cause and worsen constipation. This, in turn, can lead to mild and severe hemorrhoids.
Consider Taking OTC (Over-the-Counter) Meds for Hemorrhoids
Doctors often recommend OTC medicines for hemorrhoids. These include different creams/ointments/balms like PreparationH and cleaning pads/wipes infused with witch hazel and other beneficial substances.
Of course, these solutions aren’t for everyone. If these don’t improve your hemorrhoidal situation, you can always ask your physician for prescription drugs.
Raise Your Feet During Bowel Movements
Raise your legs somewhat by putting your feet on a step stool while you’re sitting on a toilet. This slight adjustment can change the rectum position to make bowel movements easier and smoother.
Cold treatment is an effective way to reduce the swelling, pain, and soreness caused by hemorrhoids. For this purpose, you can use an ice pack, a frozen water-filled condom, or a single ice cube wrapped in a clean cloth.
Whatever you choose, apply it against the outside of your anus for about 10 minutes and then dispose of the used stuff immediately. Gently pat your anal area dry with a soft towel or wipes that don’t feel rough on the sensitive skin around the anal/rectal region.
Avoid Straining as Much as Possible
Straining during bowel movements can significantly aggravate hemorrhoid pain and prolong the swelling and discomfort. It’s also one of the major causes of hemorrhoid formation in the first place.
So, keep yourself hydrated and consume enough fiber through your daily meals. This will keep you from constipating or developing a hard lumpy stool. As a result, you won’t have to strain more than necessary during a bowel movement.
Another reason for straining is incorrect toileting technique. This can also put pressure on the anal and rectal veins, worsening your hemorrhoids in the process. Therefore, it’s crucial to adopt the correct posture and technique when sitting on the toilet.
Stay Away from Rubber Ring Cushions
You won’t reduce hemorrhoidal pain and uneasiness by sitting on a rubber ring. Doing so can aggravate the pain and swelling. When you sit on a rubber ring cushion, pressure increases within the anus. This hinders blood flow in and around the pelvic floor.
Instead, get a doughnut-shaped cushion to elevate your backside when sitting. A foam wedge strip or towel roll placed length-wise can also work. The idea is to raise the buttocks while sitting so that the pelvic doesn’t come under additional pressure. You can also make foam wedges at home using foam cutoffs.
Your sleeping position and the natural reduction of anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol levels can lead to greater hemorrhoid pain during nighttime. However, the tips mentioned in this piece can help you reduce discomfort and sleep relatively soundly.