Hemorrhoids affect many millions of people. The most common symptoms are pain when sitting or during a bowel movement, itching and bleeding. Fortunately, home remedies are often very effective for this problem.
Treatment of hemorrhoids
Almost everyone has hemorrhoids. It is the name for certain vascular cushions that are located on the rectum around the anus. In general, however, the term is usually only used when these spongy vascular cushions swell, become inflamed and also come out, e.g. when they are pathologically changed. Doctors then speak of “haemorrhoidal disease” or “symptomatic haemorrhoids”.
If you have to strain during a bowel movement, the blood vessels lose more and more tension and elasticity. The hemorrhoids appear more and more to the fore and cause increasing symptoms. ( 22 ) But there are a number of home remedies that alleviate the symptoms, and a change in diet (e.g. higher fiber intake) brings relief quickly after a few days to weeks, so that you can take the treatment into your own hands (of course after consultation with the doctor). ( 18 )
At the beginning, when the hemorrhoids only begin to change pathologically, you hardly notice anything, maybe a little burning or a slight itching. There may also be some blood on the toilet paper. According to an Austrian study, a significant number of people with hemorrhoids experience no symptoms at all. ( 5 )
If severe pain sets in, the anal area burns noticeably and bright red blood can be seen regularly on the stool or in the underwear, then the hemorrhoids are advanced, e.g significantly enlarged and usually inflamed Hemorrhoids.
The older you get, the greater the risk of developing hemorrhoids. But even in the teenage years, the typical symptoms can occur. In the age group over 40, however, they are very common. Age is therefore one of the most important risk factors.
Symptomatic hemorrhoids are often triggered by straining too hard when having a bowel movement, i.e. by chronic constipation. Obesity, lung diseases and pregnancy are also among the causes and risk factors. ( 6 ) ( 7 ) ( 11 ) Chronic diarrhea or inflammatory bowel disease and the intake of large amounts of laxatives, coffee, alcohol and hot spices can also lead to haemorrhoids. ( 19 )
From a holistic point of view, unfavorable nutrition, an imbalance in the acid-base balance , impaired liver and intestinal health, disturbed intestinal flora and a lack of vital substances are among the contributory causes of the problem.
Why do hemorrhoids occur during pregnancy?
During pregnancy , hormonal influences ensure that the connective tissue becomes softer, which also affects the vessels including the hemorrhoids. The body is already being prepared for childbirth.
Many women also suffer from constipation during pregnancy, e.g. due to iron-containing preparations that have been prescribed for them and which have a constipating effect.
At the same time, you may also move less, which also promotes constipation and thus hemorrhoids. When you give birth, pushing can make the problem even worse at first.
After the birth, however, the haemorrhoids slowly recede due to the changed hormonal situation, but not always completely.
In order to support the regression, you should take precautions during pregnancy or treat existing hemorrhoids as best as possible with the home remedies and measures presented below in order to keep their severity as low as possible. ( 9 ) ( 10 )
The best home remedies to treat hemorrhoids
The correct naturopathic treatment of hemorrhoids is already evident from the possible causes and should therefore – from a holistic point of view – also take place on all these levels. Therefore, among the best home remedies for hemorrhoids are all the measures needed to address the following ( 12 ):
- Regulate digestion, relieve constipation
- Optimize nutrition
- Relieve liver, promote detoxification
- Strengthen blood vessels
- Inhibit inflammation
- External measures (creams, hygiene etc.)
- The squat position
An enormously important aspect in the treatment of hemorrhoids (also from the point of view of conventional medicine) is to ensure that the digestive activity is regulated again and straining during bowel movements is no longer necessary. Uncomplicated home remedies can be used here in particular:
- Eat healthy (see 2.)
- Eat more fibre as it increases stool bulk, softens stool, stimulates intestinal peristalsis, and thereby relieves constipation. A Spanish study has shown that fibre has a consistently beneficial effect in treating hemorrhoids. ( 17 ) Psyllium husks are particularly recommended. Take a small teaspoon with at least 300 ml of water half an hour before breakfast. Before going to bed, you can take another teaspoon of the powder. Also, drink at least 300 ml of water after. The high liquid intake is extremely important for psyllium husk powder, as otherwise massive constipation would occur. Psyllium husk powder needs water to swell and release its mucilage. ( 8 ) ( 15 ). If you are sensitive to Psyllium, try KFibre (Fibre from sugarcane).
- Drink plenty of water – 50 ml of still water per kg of body weight per day. Because if you forget to drink, the intestinal contents also dry up and constipation becomes more likely. ( 20 )
- Take digestive enzymes to help food digest optimally. In this way, fermentation and inflammatory processes are reduced, the intestinal mucosa can regenerate and the stool can be excreted better.
- Build up your intestinal flora. Healthy and smooth digestion is only possible with a healthy intestinal flora. A healthy intestinal flora also has an anti-inflammatory, detoxifying and thus improving effect on painful and enlarged hemorrhoids. Use probiotics to build up your intestinal flora, e.g. Probioform.
- The home remedies we recommend for constipation can also be extremely helpful.
Optimize your diet
If you stick to the following rules, which also contain numerous home remedies (e.g. apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, bitter substances, etc.), this will also help regulate your digestion, make bowel movements easier and greatly improve your well-being:
- When you wake up in the morning, drink a glass of warm water with 1 tsp naturally cloudy apple cider vinegar, ½ tsp honey and 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice. Lemon juice and apple cider vinegar promote the formation of digestive juices, cleanse the intestines, help the liver to detoxify and speed up the elimination of stools. (15 minutes before taking the psyllium husk powder explained above)
- Eat five small meals a day rather than two or three large meals.
- Eat very slowly and chew carefully!
- Eat vegetables and salads that contain bitter substances, because bitter substances promote digestion and help your liver with detoxification, e.g. Radicchio, rucula and endive salad.
- Use healthy oils and fats as these can make your stool more slippery. Keep eating avocados. Use extra virgin olive oil for cooking and salads and take a teaspoon of extra virgin linseed oil daily. The latter can also be taken on an empty stomach in the morning and has a very good defecation effect.
- Increase your fiber consumption , so always choose whole grain products instead of white flour products. ( 16 )
- Avoid sugar, black tea, coffee, alcohol and soft drinks and reduce your salt intake.
- Also, reduce your consumption of grain products (especially wheat and other grains containing gluten) and dairy products. In sensitive people, grains containing gluten often lead to inflammation and dairy products to congestion and irritation of the digestive system. For some people, a gluten-free diet without any further action leads to a reduction in hemorrhoids.
- It is better not to eat spicy food, since hot spices are very irritating to the mucous membranes.
Eating a healthy diet can reduce the risk of hemorrhoids
Relieve your liver and promote detoxification
The healthier the intestines, the better your liver is – and the better your liver is, the better the digestion, the healthier the intestinal mucosa and blood vessels and the lower the risk of haemorrhoids. Intestines and liver are therefore closely interrelated. If you take good care of both of them, there will be little more reason for illness and discomfort – whether it’s hemorrhoids or something else entirely.
With the measures explained under 1. and 2. (healthy nutrition, healthy digestion) you are already doing your liver a huge favour.
In addition, you can promote and support the detoxification and digestive work of your liver with special food supplements, e.g. bitter substances (e.g. Swedish Bitters), curcumin, milk thistle extract or artichoke extract. Choose one or two at most and take it as a cure for at least three months.
Home remedies for the liver are wild herbs rich in bitter substances, e.g. dandelion, chicory or yarrow and of course turmeric, which you can add to almost any dish. Ginger, green tea and papaya seeds are also home remedies for stimulating liver function. Another detoxification measure that is helpful for the liver is the liver cleanse.
Strengthen your blood vessels
Pine bark extract helps with vascular problems of all kinds, including hemorrhoids. ( 24 ) The extract strengthens the vessels and restores their elasticity and resilience, as an Italian study from 2014 was able to show ( 2 ):
One group of women, some with severe hemorrhoids, took 150 mg of pine bark extract daily for six months, and a second group received conventional medical treatment.
With the usual conventional medical therapy, the problem improved in only half of the women. After therapy with pine bark extract, however, 75 percent of the women were symptom-free.
In particular, the women who suffered from very severe symptoms were able to benefit from the naturopathic measure: the success rate for these women was seventy percent, while conventional therapy was only successful for a third of the women!
Pine bark extract can also be used during pregnancy.
Almost all of the measures listed above also automatically have an anti-inflammatory effect. Curcumin and the indicated intestinal cleansing measures (psyllium husk powder and probiotics) are particularly strong anti-inflammatory agents.
Pay attention to the correct posture on the toilet
A certain sitting position on the toilet can also have a huge impact on rectal health, lead to a regression of hemorrhoids and is, therefore, an essential part of treating hemorrhoids properly.
This is the so-called squatting position, which you should adopt especially when having a bowel movement. The squatting position mimics the position one assumes automatically when having to defecate in the wild.
The angle between the upper body and thighs is much more acute here than in the usual chair position. As a result, the pelvic floor is much more relaxed when you squat. Since the bowel is straight in this position, emptying is made easier and the usual straining, which is a major risk factor for hemorrhoids, is eliminated.
In the sitting position, on the other hand, the pelvic floor muscle is kinked, which makes it more difficult to empty the intestines and promotes hemorrhoids.
This could also explain why the problem has already mutated into a widespread disease, especially in western countries, where almost exclusively seated toilets are found – around 70 percent of all adults are already affected by it at some point. In most other regions of the world, however, there are still the so-called dump or standing toilets, which require a squatting position.
There have also long been scientific studies that prove that the squatting position has a comprehensive effect on the body. As early as 1987, the Israeli doctor Dr. Berko Sikirov conducted a study with 20 patients. All conventional treatment methods had been unsuccessful for them. ( 1 )
After the patients had changed their toilet posture from the usual sitting position to the squatting position, improvements in their hemorrhoid problems could be observed after just a few days. After a few months, most patients were symptom-free. And when they were re-examined 30 months later, they were still asymptomatic, meaning the hemorrhoids had not returned.
On the toilet, you can squat with the help of a stool or a stack of books that you simply place under your feet. You won’t be able to read anymore anyway, as your bowel movements will be easy and quick.
The correct squatting position on the toilet
Ointments, creams and oils for hemorrhoids
You can also do a lot externally to treat and reverse the hemorrhoids, whereby pain and itching are also relieved, e.g. with the following home remedies, which consist of oils, ointments, creams, extracts and suppositories. ( 23 ) According to a US study, there are some medicinal plants that may be helpful, such as: horse chestnut, stinging butcher’s broom, witch hazel and many more. (25)
It is crucial, however, that before using it has been clinically clarified whether it is really a question of hemorrhoids. Because patients often assume that they have hemorrhoids, but in fact suffer from other complaints such as anal folds and fissures, so that the wrong treatment with ointments and the like leaves a lot to be desired. ( 4 ) When it comes to diagnostics, proctologists, urologists, gynecologists or gastroenterologists are the right contacts.
Coconut oil with lavender and tea tree oil
Mix 5 drops each of lavender and tea tree essential oils with 3 tablespoons of liquid (slightly warmed) virgin coconut oil. Pour the mixture into a small glass jar.
Then, dip a small cotton pad in warm water, squeeze the water out so the pad is only slightly damp, dip it in your oil mixture, and rub it on your hemorrhoids after each bathroom visit. However, clean your rectum with warm water before using the oil mixture. After gently drying, apply the oil mixture. Within a few hours you will feel significant relief.
The following herbal preparations from folk medicine can also be tried to prevent and alleviate the problem. They dissolve blood congestion, reduce pain and stop bleeding.
Witch hazel (Hamamelis) relieves pain and itching
A popular phytotherapeutic method of treating hemorrhoids is to place a cloth soaked in witch hazel solution over the affected areas of the anus. Witch hazel (Hamamelis) is a shrub or small tree whose leaves and bark are traditionally used to treat hemorrhoids and varicose veins.
Witch hazel preparations have a haemostatic, anti-inflammatory, astringent and anti-itching effect and these properties seem to be made for naturopathic therapy for hemorrhoids. Witch hazel pads cool and soothe affected skin, reduce blood stasis, shrink hemorrhoids and help rebuild damaged capillaries. ( 3 )
Face Balm of the Smiling Goddess
After many years of extensive practical experience with the production and use of home remedies for hemorrhoids, a concerned naturopath developed a recipe that is supposed to guarantee relief from pain and itching – both in harmless cases and in those that are already bulging outwards in the anus and very painful hemorrhoids.
It’s a homemade cream made from herbal extracts, which got the name “Smiling Goddess Butt Balm”, simply because after using this cream, one suddenly feels like a young god/goddess with happiness and relief.
Tinctures with as low alcohol content as possible are recommended for the preparation of the ointment, as these do not burn. Simply ask your source (pharmacy) which of the available products has the lowest alcohol content.
The ingredients for the hemorrhoid ointment
Mix the following ingredients in a drinking glass or plastic jar: Equal parts of aqueous lanolin cream and cold-pressed olive oil (e.g. 25 ml each) as well as 20 drops each of Arnica mother tincture, marigold mother tincture, horse chestnut mother tincture and witch hazel mother tincture.
Arnica reduces the swelling and pain caused by the hemorrhoids pushing outward. The medicinal plant is a well-known remedy for pain and, when used correctly, has an immediate effect.
The marigold is contained in many ointments and has a calming and health-promoting effect on skin diseases, abrasions, sores, irritations and many other skin problems. Noted homeopathic researcher and former editor of Homeopathy Today, Julian Winston, is reported to have said, “Calendula regulates those parts of the body where the sun doesn’t shine!” And so the marigold can often work wonders even with painful hemorrhoids.
Likewise preparations from the horse chestnut. They also help to relieve pain and also have a vascular, anti-inflammatory and haemostatic effect, which is why they are also used for gastric and duodenal ulcers as well as for excessive menstrual bleeding and especially varicose veins.
Preparation of the hemorrhoid ointment
Mix the lanolin cream, oil and tinctures mixture well to soften the lanolin and distribute the tinctures evenly throughout the mixture. If you want a slightly thicker cream, simply increase the lanolin content. And the ointment is ready! It is very easy to make and at the same time extremely effective.
The ointment lasts a long time but should be stored in the refrigerator. Not only because of the even longer shelf life but because a cool ointment can relieve pain much better. The cream is applied directly to the hemorrhoids.
Of course, this ointment is also suitable for use with painful varicose veins on the legs. Apply a little to your legs regularly before you go to bed.
Suppositories made from herbs and cocoa butter
Another excellent home remedy for hemorrhoids is homemade suppositories made from cocoa butter, comfrey root powder, yarrow herb powder, marigold flower powder and oak bark powder. According to a traditional folk medicine recipe, the ingredients should be mixed as follows ( 26 ):
- 30 g powdered oak bark
- 5 g powdered comfrey root
- 8 g powdered yarrow herb
- 8 g powdered marigold flowers
- 120 grams of cocoa butter
Comfrey root and oak bark have a cleansing and regenerating effect on the veins and capillaries in the rectum. The yarrow has a contractive effect on the vessels, and is antispasmodic and antibacterial. Marigold, on the other hand, reduces inflammation and promotes healing.
The herbal ingredients are available in the pharmacy or online in powder form.
The cocoa butter is now melted in a warm water bath. Then stir in the herbal powder. Now pour the mixture into a suppository mould and let the suppositories harden in the fridge. As soon as they are set, you take them out of the mould and put them in a sealable container, which you label with the contents and the date. We would recommend to not keeping them for more than 3 months. Of course, you can also make half the quantity to try it out.
A suppository is inserted every night before bedtime. The body heat melts the cocoa butter and the active plant ingredients are continuously released into the surrounding tissue. They disinfect and clean the tissue, remove blood clots and have a regenerating and astringent (contracting) effect so that the hemorrhoids can regress.
This process should be continued until complete improvement. In general, with these two phytotherapeutic preparations (balm and suppository) in combination with proper nutrition, the problem is soon permanently resolved.
Sitz baths can be very effective in treating external hemorrhoids. For best results, spend 10 to 30 minutes in the sitz bath several times a day. There should be enough water in the bathtub to cover the buttocks and hips. Salt can also be added to the water (2 to 3 tablespoons per 3 to 4 liters of water) to reduce swelling, pain and general discomfort.
Some patients have found that alternating warm and cold water throughout the day provides the best relief. After the bath, the anal area should be carefully cleaned with a towel. Rubbing should be avoided as this can worsen the condition. ( 21 )
Many of the measures discussed are also very suitable for the prevention of hemorrhoids:
- Avoid constipation at all costs, so make sure you have an easy bowel movement
- Eat a healthy, high-fibre diet
- Take measures against chronic inflammation, e.g. take anti-inflammatory food supplements (curcumin, omega-3 fatty acids, etc.)
- Take care of an efficient liver and strong blood vessels
- Pay attention to the correct posture on the toilet
Thus, the tips 1 to 6 can be used to both treat and prevent hemorrhoids.