What are conventional medical treatments for hemorrhoids?
Generally for mild cases, people are told to increase fiber in their diet in the hope that this will help reduce constipation issues. They are also told to drink more water. If they have pain, they are generally they are prescribed Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). Some people also take stool softening agents or eat softer foods like soaked figs.
Sometimes, sitting in a bath with water up to your hips (a sitz bath or hip bath) for 15 minutes at a time can help relieve hemorrhoids pain and discomfort. Others find warm compresses for 10 minutes at time useful. The main idea with these methods is that the increased blood flow will promote healing in the area.
Creams and suppositories are available, but there isn't much evidence to show they are effective. Creams that contain steroids should not be used for more than 14 days, as they may cause thinning of the skin. Sometimes people are allergic to the creams.
For more severe hemorrhoids, sometimes doctors carry out certain procedures in their clinic such as rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy, or cauterization). But although they are generally safe, sometimes they can cause sepsis (e.g. dangerous bacterial infection).
Where other measures fail, sometimes surgery is used. But as with all surgical procedures there are risks involved and it can lead to complications.
What are alternative treatments for hemorrhoids?
Some find that rather than taking fiber supplements, adding ground flaxseed to their diet can help make bowel movements more regular and softer. Regular exercise can also help make bowel movements more regular and easier.
Many find the Ayurvedic herbal medicine called Triphala useful in making their bowel movements regular. Some also find taking aloe vera juice after meals useful.
Some find aloe vera gel soothing when applied to the area. And instead of using toilet paper, some recommend the use of compresses of witch hazel.
Some recommend that you squat instead of sitting on a toilet. Special stools are available to make this easier to do. Most advocates say that although it may take a few months for any noticeable changes to be evident, squatting does help prevent hemorrhoids in the long-term.
Of course, essential oils traditionally have also been used for hemorrhoids. For more information, see the Useful Essential Oils tab.