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What are the Best Ways to Shrink Hemorrhoids?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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There are several ways to shrink hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids, also referred to as piles, are veins in the anus or rectum that have become swollen. Marked by inflammation, they can be itchy and painful. They may even bleed and lead to the leakage of fecal matter. Hemorrhoids may be severe enough to require surgical treatment, but often, they can be treated at home.

There are many over-the-counter products that are marketed to those looking to shrink hemorrhoids. They are said to help relieve the accompanying pain and itchiness in addition to the swelling. Such products may be helpful for those with mild cases of hemorrhoids, though the effects may only be temporary. They are available as creams, ointments, suppositories and pads soaked with witch hazel and other substances.

Applying warmth or cold to the area may help as well. For example, a warm bath may help to reduce discomfort in the area, at least temporarily In fact, some people recommend soaking in a warm bath three times a day as an effective way to help shrink hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoid sufferers don’t have to spend hours in the bathtub, however. Fifteen minutes for each soak may be enough to help.

A cold compress is good for helping to shrink hemorrhoids. It may also help to take a warm-water sitz bath. Wiping gently with moistened toilet paper may help to prevent increased irritation of the swollen anal area and increase comfort after a bowel movement.

Constipation and hard stools can lead to or aggravate hemorrhoids. Making sure stools are soft enough to pass freely and without straining can help swollen hemorrhoids to shrink faster, increase comfort, and prevent reoccurrences. Eating plenty of fiber, upping water intake, and exercising can help to make sure bowel movements are easy and regular.

Apple cider vinegar is a common home remedy for helping to shrink hemorrhoids. To use it, a person applies the vinegar to a cotton ball and then swabs the vinegar on the affected area. This can be done a few times a day to help hasten the shrinking process.

Often, hemorrhoids heal in one to two weeks, but they may return in the face of constipation, diarrhea, pregnancy, or trauma to the area. In some cases, hemorrhoids become persistent and increasingly troublesome. When this occurs, medical intervention may be warranted. This may include minimally invasive procedures or surgical techniques, depending on the severity and patient preferences.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison , Writer
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.

Discussion Comments

By anon966087 — On Aug 16, 2014

That much curcumin almost killed me. It caused severe acid reflux, dizziness, vomiting and internal bleeding. Do some research. Turmeric in large doses causes severe adverse effects.

By anon956185 — On Jun 12, 2014

When I still had hemorrhoids, I used cold towels with tea tree oil to pad the area. It disinfected and gave me relief, and also sitz baths helped me a lot. Try to get away with home remedies as long as you can, but if it gets bad don't be afraid to see a doctor. I had mine removed last year with a minimally invasive method, THD, and it really isn't as bad as you might think! I went home the same day and was pretty much okay after a week.

By anon351619 — On Oct 15, 2013

Any wipes will work, because the point is to keep the surface of the hemorrhoids completely clean. A thin, invisible film of fecal matter will irritate the hemorrhoid and make it painful. Wiping with toilet paper is not sufficient.

Keep it clean with baby wipes and the agonizing pain will soon vanish, and eventually the hemorrhoid will shrink and partially disappear.

Witch hazel or not, any wipes such as baby wipes will help. Use them each time you go to the bathroom, very thoroughly, and if it works for you, please spread the word in the forums.

By anon351618 — On Oct 15, 2013

I was in pain for a long time. I was in pain and uncomfortable and was worrying and at the end I was considering the option of surgery until I chanced upon a comment in a thread about just keeping the area super clean with baby wipes, because even a very thin film of fecal matter irritates the hemorrhoids.

After having tried cortisone suppositories, various types of creams, soaking, eating more fiber, drinking more water, the permanent solution for me was just to get into the habit of using baby wipes very thoroughly and religiously after each session on the toilet.

The person who recommended this in the thread also suggested one should follow the cleaning with some vitamin E oil, but for me the cleaning is what made all the difference. The hemorrhoids shrank. I can still feel a little bulge, but it has completely ceased to be painful. This happened three years ago and since I got into this habit, the pain has never been back.

By anon323190 — On Mar 04, 2013

Change the position in which you poo. Check out the squatty potty online. There is a film that will really help us all. It is a very tasteful way of showing how your bowels work, and how with a simple change to your body position you can get relief and stop aggravating the piles (hemorrhoids) but also avoid constipation.

You don't necessarily need a squatty potty - you just need to change the position you toilet - it is amazing the difference you will feel. I don't know if using this will shrink piles, but it sure as heck stops aggravating them and helps you to improve bowel health.

By ysmina — On Feb 17, 2013

I was constantly constipated as a child and we didn't have all the fancy products and treatments that are available now. We had suppositories and I hated those and wouldn't use them.

So to treat my hemorrhoids, my mom would fill a basin with hot water and make me sit in for half an hour several times a week. I rarely get constipated now but when I have hemorrhoids, I still do this.

By fBoyle — On Feb 17, 2013

@feruze-- I have tried it. It's not bad but I think the ointments with witch hazel and aloe vera are better.

The problem with the wipes is that the witch hazel doesn't stay on the piles long enough to reduce the swelling. It cleans the area but that's about it.

Ointments, on the other hand, stay for a long time and shrink piles the best. I prefer the ones with both witch hazel and aloe vera. Aloe vera is soothing and cooling.

By bear78 — On Feb 16, 2013
Has anyone tried witch hazel wipes for an external hemorrhoid? Does it work?

By anon316202 — On Jan 27, 2013

A lot of what's written here is good info. I found a book called, "Don't Panic They're Just Hemorrhoids," and even though it has more info and goes into more detail, I think this article is a great. But still, check out the book. Just search online for it.

By anon285892 — On Aug 18, 2012

Where can I buy Bio-curcumin?

By anon141978 — On Jan 11, 2011

There are too little awareness among hemorrhoid sufferers that there is a super herb called Turmeric that can shrink hemorrhoids. But you have to take it in the form of Curcumin capsules. Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric and comprises only about 2 - 5 percent in Turmeric. Hence for medical purposes, it is not effective enough to consume turmeric the raw herb. You must take the Curcumin capsules.

The best brand that so far I have tried is Bio-Curcumin which is said to be seven times more potent than normal curcumin extract (known also as BCM-95).

I have struggled with hemorrhoids, even prolapse of the rectum with tenesmus for more than a decade and this is the only remedy that is helping me dramatically. Few weeks into taking it, my condition (inflammation and no. of bowel movements) has been reduced by about 30-40 percent, a moderate estimate.

There are almost 4000 reports on the miracle herb Turmeric and its extract Curcumin online.

Please do some research and may be try Curcumin to end your suffering. So far my exhaustive research shows that Curcumin is very safe even up to a dose of 8 gm daily. And by the way if you are taking Bio-Curcumin brand, be aware that it is seven times above that of normal curcumin.

I am not associated with Bio-curcumin, just recommending a good brand. If you prefer less potent Curcumin other brands like the NOW brand are also widely available. All the best!

Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison


Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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