Myths and Facts about Home Remedies for Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are common, but they can be an embarrassing health problem. The good news is, you can treat your hemorrhoids at home. However, not all home remedies for hemorrhoids work as well as some internet sites may claim.

Dr. Betsy Clemens, our board-certified family physician at Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center in St. Louis, Missouri, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of hemorrhoids and wants to share some of the myths and facts about home remedies so you can get the relief you need without making things worse.  

Myth: All I need is a fiber supplement

Fact: Fiber is an important part of your at-home hemorrhoid treatment plan, but not from a pill or powder

Though a fiber supplement may soften your stool and alleviate constipation that causes hemorrhoids, we recommend you focus on food for fiber instead of a supplement. Adding more fiber-rich foods to your diet may help keep things regular, preventing a recurrence of your hemorrhoids. Additionally, many healthy, high-fiber foods contain other nutrients that benefit your health overall. 

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, and peas are excellent sources of fiber. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says women need 25 grams of fiber a day and men 38 grams. 

When adding fiber to your diet, whether from food or a supplement, be sure to drink plenty of water. Upping your fiber intake without enough fluids may exacerbate your constipation and worsen your anal discomfort. For general health, the Mayo Clinic recommends women drink 11.5 cups of water a day and men 15.5 cups. 

Myth: Apple cider vinegar cures hemorrhoids

Fact: Apple cider vinegar can’t cure your hemorrhoids

From weight loss to diabetes, apple cider vinegar seems to be the cure-all for whatever ails you, including hemorrhoids. Proponents of the home remedy claim that it provides instant relief from anal pain and itching. However, the Cleveland Clinic warns that the acidity of the apple cider vinegar may worsen your condition and increase inflammation and pain.

If you’re looking for a home remedy to alleviate pain and itching, we recommend a sitz bath (soaking your bottom in warm water for 15-20 minutes) several times a day. You can soak in your tub or invest in a sitz bath kit, which fits right over your toilet bowl. 

Myth: Tea tree oil relieves anal itching

Fact: Tea tree oil is unlikely to provide any relief from your anal itchiness

Also called melaleuca oil, people claim tea tree oil has antibacterial properties and they recommended it for the treatment of many common conditions, including acne and lice. For hemorrhoids, they profess that the topical antibacterial agent reduces itching and swelling. However, there’s little evidence to support these claims, and as a result, we don’t recommend using tea tree oil for your hemorrhoids.

To alleviate the pain and itching, we recommend you try witch hazel or over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams or medicated wipes.

Though at-home remedies can be effective treatments for hemorrhoids, it’s important to know the difference between myth and fact. In addition, if your symptoms persist after a week of DIY treatments, or if you have rectal bleeding, we recommend you schedule an appointment so we can step up the treatment regimen. Give us a call at 636-228-3136 or contact us online today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What Could Blood in My Stools Mean?

Seeing blood in your stool may trigger all your alarm bells and cause you to wonder: What could this mean? Though bloody stools are often a minor health issue, you shouldn’t ignore the symptom.

Can Anything Stop My Anal Itching?

The itch is intense and the urge to scratch is hard to resist. Can anything stop your anal itching? Not scratching is the best place to start, but treating the underlying cause of your anal itch may provide the long-term relief you need.

What Caused My Thrombosed Hemorrhoids?

Thrombosed hemorrhoids cause severe pain, inflammation, and swelling that may make it nearly impossible to find a comfortable sitting position. When dealing with this level of pain, you may wonder "what caused my thrombosed hemorrhoids?" Learn more.

Shrink Hemorrhoids with Infrared Light

Many people suffer from hemorrhoid symptoms for a long time before they seek medical help. But there’s no need to prolong your suffering when there are many treatment options, like infrared light treatment that shrinks hemorrhoidal tissue.

When Your Anal Discomfort Needs Medical Attention

Anal discomfort is an embarrassing symptom you may want to ignore. Though rarely the sign of a serious medical condition, there are times when your anal discomfort needs medical attention. Click here to learn when it’s time to seek medical care.

5 Foods that Promote Bowel Health

When it comes to treating and preventing hemorrhoids, what you eat can help or hinder your efforts. To help you make the right food choices to alleviate your hemorrhoid symptoms, click here to learn what foods promote bowel health.