You can help prevent the irritating and painful symptoms of hemorrhoids.
- Include fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains in your diet each day. These foods are high in fiber.
- Drink plenty of fluids, enough so that your urine is light yellow or clear like water.
- Get some exercise every day. Try to do moderate activity at least 2½ hours a week. Or try to do vigorous activity at least 1¼ hours a week. It's fine to be active in blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout your day and week.
- Take a fiber supplement, such as Citrucel or Metamucil, every day if needed. Start with a small dose and very slowly increase the dose over a month or more.
- Schedule time each day for a bowel movement. Having a daily routine may help. Take your time and do not strain when having a bowel movement.
Practice healthy bowel habits
- Go to the bathroom as soon as you have the urge.
- Avoid straining to pass stools. Relax and give yourself time to let things happen naturally.
- Avoid holding your breath while passing stools.
- Avoid reading while sitting on the toilet. Get off the toilet as soon as you have finished.
Modify your daily activities
- Avoid prolonged sitting or standing. Take frequent short walks.
- If possible, avoid lifting heavy objects frequently. If you must lift heavy objects, always exhale as you lift the object. Don't hold your breath when you lift.
- If you are pregnant, sleeping on your side will lower pressure on the blood vessels in your pelvis. This can help keep hemorrhoids from becoming bigger.
Home treatment, which mainly involves establishing healthy bowel habits, may keep your hemorrhoids from getting worse. See the Prevention section of this topic for more on healthy bowel habits.
You can use the following suggestions to keep hemorrhoids from getting worse or to relieve your symptoms.
Avoid making hemorrhoids worse
- Blot the anus gently with white toilet paper moistened with water or a cleansing agent (such as Balneol) after bowel movements. Baby wipes or other premoistened towels (such as Tucks) are also useful for this purpose.
- Avoid rubbing the anal area. You can rinse off in the shower or on a bidet instead of wiping yourself with toilet paper. After cleansing, gently pat the anal area dry with a soft, absorbent towel or cloth.
- Use soaps that contain no perfumes or dyes.
Relieve pain and itching
- Take nonprescription pain relievers. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help with pain. Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) can help with pain and swelling.
- Apply ice several times a day for 10 minutes at a time. Follow this by placing a warm compress on the anal area for another 10 to 20 minutes.
- Take a sitz bath. Fill your bathtub with just enough warm water to cover the anal area. Do this several times a day, especially after you have had a bowel movement. Soak for about 15 minutes at a time. Be careful! If the water is too warm, it could burn you.
Use nonprescription medicines as recommended by your doctor or pharmacist. See the Medications section of this topic for information on nonprescription ointments, creams, and suppositories.
Other comfort measures
- You may need a day or more of bed rest to take pressure off inflamed, irritated veins. If you are 3 to 6 months pregnant, you may find it helpful to lie on your side. If you are not pregnant, sleeping on your stomach with a pillow under your hips will help decrease swelling of hemorrhoids.
- Try not to sit or stand for a long time when hemorrhoids are irritated. If you must sit for a long time, sit on a pillow. Avoid lifting heavy objects.
- Wear cotton underwear to prevent moisture buildup, which can irritate hemorrhoids. Wear loose clothing to allow freedom of movement and to reduce pressure on the anal area.