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Can you treat bleeding hemorrhoids at home?

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Quick Answer

Hemorrhoids that cause rectal bleeding often require screening for polyps or cancer in the bowel, but patients with clear screenings treat hemorrhoids at home with added dietary fiber, exercise and topical medications, notes Harvard Medical School. If home treatment is not successful, doctors have additional strategies.

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Hemorrhoids are inflamed veins in the rectum, colon and perineal area. When muscles in the perineal area put strain on the delicate veins of the perineum, the veins bulge, causing itchy, painful inflammation in the vein and surrounding tissue. Occasionally, the sensitive tissue bleeds.

Adding fiber to the diet makes stools softer and eases the process of passing them. Foods such as broccoli, fresh fruit, oat bran and whole grains all are high in fiber. Supplements such as Fiber Con and Metamucil also bolster fiber in the diet. Taken together, these make stools less irritating to the bowel, according to Harvard Medical School.

Exercise as moderate as a brisk 20-minute walk each day helps to boost bowel function, making straining unnecessary. When it's time to defecate, it's helpful to make the time to go as soon as possible. Setting an established time for bowel movements each day makes a habit to which the body adapts. Witch hazel pads soothe discomfort on the hemorrhoid and have no risk of side effects. Suppositories and creams that contain hydrocortisone are safe when used for less than a week at a time and provide pain relief as well, reports Harvard Medical School. Taken together, these treatments help hemorrhoids stop bleeding and gradually disappear.

To reduce swelling, use ice packs on the affected area, and do not sit or stand for long periods of time. The Mayo Clinic recommends using over-the-counter pain killers and a hemorrhoid relief cream such as Preparation H. Creams should be applied after the rectum has been thoroughly cleaned using a sitz bath, an alcohol and fragrance-free wet wipe or damp toilet paper. Dry toilet paper should not be used on the affected area, and wet paper or wipes should be used to dab the area. Wiping may cause further irritation and increase bleeding. If conditions do not improve within a week, seek medical attention.

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