Hemorrhoid Treatments: Do Home Remedies, and Creams Really Work?

Hemorrhoids are one of the most misunderstood and commonly mistreated human ailments, and it is easy to understand why. Besides the extreme pain, and the idea of a doctor meddling with a shiny scalpel in that highly sensitive area, it is also rather embarrassing.

It’s hardly surprising that home remedies for piles can be found all over the world and in all cultures. Whether old wives’ tales passed down generations or freshly concocted kitchen ingredient recipes, it seems that all civilizations throughout history have had a home remedy for hemorrhoids.

For the less adventurous, there is the option of reaching for over-the-counter analgesic creams to douse the flames of pain. The question is: Are these remedies effective, or do they simply relieve the symptoms while delaying the horrifying inevitable?

Concealed Truth

Surprisingly, many doctors do recommend certain home remedies to help reduce inflammation and thus alleviate the painful symptoms of piles. In fact, some home remedies and over-the-counter creams, when used on the advice of your doctor, can aid in the speedy recovery of first or even second-degree hemorrhoids.

And yes, there is a catch. Even though you may be pretty sure you have correctly diagnosed yourself with simple swollen veins in the anus, there are other, more serious, conditions that may present with the same symptoms as piles.

About 75% of us will have hemorrhoids in our lifetime, but only 4% of that group consult a physician for help.


Most home remedies relate to prevention. For example, you often hear of the benefits of a high fiber diet to prevent hemorrhoids and alleviate symptoms and reduce swelling.

Your sitting position in the bathroom how much you strain when having a bowel movement can affect whether you suffer from piles.

Attempting to avoid a bowel movement when your body is telling you one is necessary can also contribute to the onset of piles or the irritation and aggravation of existing ones.

As far as treating yourself at home, sitz baths and a mixture of Epsom salts and glycerin are encouraged by mothers and physicians.

There are other remedies promulgated by non-medical professionals, such as dabbing the area with apple cider vinegar, that may not be as accepted by the medical community.

Although some over-the-counter substances, like witch hazel, reduce inflammation and are actually included in some over-the-counter analgesic remedies, it is best to get your doctor’s advice before applying them.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Here are some known home remedies. Some work, some don’t, and some may worsen your condition:

  • Sitz bath – Sitting in warm water for about 15 minutes, preferably after a bowel movement, a few times a day is recommended by physicians. Some people also recommend adding a small amount of Epsom salts.
  • Epsom salts and glycerin – The Epsom salts contain magnesium which has anti-inflammatory properties, while glycerin soothes and softens. Mix in equal parts and apply on a piece of gauze to the affected area for approximately 20 minutes. Repeat treatment at intervals of about five hours.
  • Witch Hazel – Available in medicated pads, this natural ingredient is the first resort among over-the-counter analgesic remedies and is a common ingredient in most homeopathic medications. It is believed to reduce swelling in hemorrhoids.
  • Aloe Vera – Available in many creams and ointments, as well as in its purest form, aloe vera has many soothing and healing properties. The best would be to go for pure aloe gel.
  • Tea Tree Oil and other oils – Some physicians would caution against these oils since their effects have not been sufficiently studied to certify them safe or effective. Others advocate their use and even advocate blending different oils.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – While witch hazel has mild enough astringent properties, apple cider vinegar is just too strong and may, in fact, aggravate the problem. This is because it dries out the tissue excessively and can cause even more itching and burning.

Pinpoint the Problem

Should you suspect you suffer from piles, before starting any method of treatment, it is best to get a professional diagnosis. Once you have eliminated any other possible conditions as the culprit, you can then confidently proceed with the treatment prescribed or advised by your physician.

Opting to treat hemorrhoids yourself may work in the case of first, and sometimes even the second-degree hemorrhoids.

However, for the third and fourth degree stages, the intervention of your doctor is highly advisable.

Even in the early stages of hemorrhoids, calling in professional help can reduce the chance of a recurrence of this painful condition.

While some home remedies may relieve the immediate symptoms, medical treatment specific to the stage, coupled with preventative measures, will be infinitely more effective.

Holistic Approach

As with most things to do with our bodies malfunctioning, there are many lifestyle changes we can make to ensure that hemorrhoids are not a recurring problem. This applies in the case of those of us who did need to undergo surgery, as well as those for whom home treatment was sufficient. See this as ongoing treatment of a condition that the majority of us are subject to, whether we are aware of it or not.

Some of these changes could be as easy as including more fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet for fiber or drinking more water for hydration. Others will take a little more conscious effort, like taking a brisk walk of about 20-30 minutes daily to assist blood circulation.


If you do suffer from hemorrhoids, you may want to seek professional help. Give us a call and make an appointment and let us help you find the most effective treatment to meet your needs.