July 4, 2022

Natural remedies for hemorrhoids – Harvard Health

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Harvard Health Blog
Hemorrhoids are painful, unpleasant, and, um, well, difficult to talk about. But they actually are quite common: about half of people over age 50 have had them. However, they’re easy to treat and manage.
“Hemorrhoids can be troublesome and embarrassing, but they often shrink on their own with simple self-help care and over-the-counter remedies,” says Dr. Howard LeWine, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins near the anus. Common symptoms are rectal pain, itching, bleeding, and occasional protruding veins outside the anus.
There are two types of hemorrhoids: internal and external. You can have either type by itself, or both at the same time.
Internal hemorrhoids. These form inside the anal canal and usually are painless. However, they may cause intermittent bleeding with bowel movements, and sometimes discharge mucus. Internal hemorrhoids also can protrude outside the anus and look like small, grapelike masses.
External hemorrhoids. These form just outside the anal opening and can cause swelling, protrusions, and discomfort.
Sometimes hemorrhoids develop for no reason, but often they are associated with chronic constipation or diarrhea, straining during bowel movements, and prolonged sitting on the toilet. You can reduce your risk by following these three easy steps:
First, some very good news: Neither type of hemorrhoid is dangerous, and severe complications that require medical care are rare. Symptoms often can be relieved by trying a few natural and self-care treatments.
You can also take steps to prevent flare-ups.
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
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Hemorrhoids can be unpleasant, painful, and embarrassing, but they’re rarely dangerous. This Harvard Medical School guide discusses simple self-help and over-the-counter remedies to help you find relief. The guide will help you identify the type of hemorrhoids you have and understand why they occur, and then guide you through different treatment options.
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