Internal or external hemorrhoids can be a burden on your behind and your mind. While it may take time for your hemorrhoids to heal completely, you are not helpless when it comes to hemorrhoid size and hemorrhoid relief. We cover some ways to make living with hemorrhoids more manageable while they go through the healing process.
Who are we? We’re Doctor Butler’s, experts in down-there care of hemorrhoids and related conditions. We make proctologist-developed hemorrhoid ointments and complementary products to help you quickly leave the pain behind. Dr. Robert Cutler medically reviews all of the information here.
Is it Possible to Shrink Hemorrhoids?
Yes, it is possible to manage and even reduce the size of both internal and external hemorrhoids with the use of specific ingredients, at-home care, and medically assisted size reduction procedures. What shrinks hemorrhoids fast is the right combination of treatment and some preventative measures like diet and exercise changes.
As for preventative treatment, try diet and exercise to avert constipation, resist any strain during bowel movements, and maintain the area to be a clean and dry environment at all times. Successful hemorrhoid care starts with these changes to decrease the risk of temperamental hemorrhoid flare-ups.
But if your hemorrhoids are currently swollen and in pain, the following are some surefire ways for how to reduce hemorrhoid size now.
Best Ways to Reduce Hemorrhoid Size
Witch Hazel (a great natural option)
Witch hazel is a natural powerhouse, containing both astringent and antiseptic properties that relieve the many irritating symptoms that accompany an enlarged hemorrhoid. Numerous research studies have confirmed the efficacy of this ingredient, and whether using topical products that contain it like purpose-made hemorrhoid pads, or soaking a cotton ball and applying it in its pure form, witch hazel can draw tissue back together and begin to shrink hemorrhoids.
For those seeking how to treat bleeding hemorrhoids, it can also slow bleeding, making it a great first choice for anyone experiencing a multitude of symptoms from a swollen hemorrhoid.
OTC Medicine (non-ointment options)
Oral pain relievers are a readily available and fast-acting solution when it comes to the pitfalls of enlarged hemorrhoids. Internal and external hemorrhoids can mean itching, soreness, irritation and swelling, all of which can at least be temporarily tackled with the following OTC options:
While these medications are not how to get rid of hemorrhoids, finding relief for your symptoms will help ensure that you don’t further aggravate the afflicted area while it heals. Plus, a more targeted OTC treatment like a medicated ointment, which we talk about below, will relieve symptoms faster.
Ice Packs (another great natural option!)
The use of ice packs (aka cold therapy) is a proven method for hemorrhoid relief and the reduction of swelling. Applying an ice pack to newly swollen hemorrhoids will curb blood flow to the area, reducing the size of the hemorrhoid. While it may take two to three days for the swelling to subside, the numbing effect of the hemorrhoid cold compress will provide immediate relief from more acute symptoms.
Ice packs should never be applied directly to the skin, and due to the positioning of hemorrhoids, an ice or cold gel pack that is flat will work best, allowing you to gently sit on top of it as a means to apply pressure. Read more on cold therapy as an effective treatment to shrink hemorrhoids here.
Phenylephrine (aka OTC ointment)
Phenylephrine is a potent decongestant that works just as effectively in your cold medicine as it does in hemorrhoid treatment. This active ingredient reduces the size of your hemorrhoids by temporarily narrowing the affected blood vessels. When it is combined with topical pain relievers like it is in our most popular hemorrhoid ointment, it can provide maximum strength shrinking and relief at the same time. When applied as part of an ointment, using a vasoconstrictor such as phenylephrine is a targeted approach to hemorrhoidal healing and size reduction.
In Office Options for Advanced Treatment
Rubber Band Ligation
If at-home methods do not prove effective after a week or two, it may be time for a medically assisted intervention. In rubber band ligation, a doctor places a rubber around the base of a hemorrhoid, effectively cutting off its blood supply and causing the hemorrhoid to shrink and eventually fall off.
Rubber band ligation is typically used on grade 1 and 2 hemorrhoids, which are internal hemorrhoids that have not yet prolapsed or can still retract or reduce spontaneously, respectively. The procedure is relatively painless and commonly treated with OTC medications such as those listed above.
Sclerotherapy is another minimally invasive procedure that is commonly used to shrink grades 1 and 2 hemorrhoids. Chemicals are injected in the area around the hemorrhoid with the intention of damaging the blood vessels feeding the hemorrhoid, thus causing them to shrink and collapse.
The scar tissue left once the hemorrhoid is gone helps prevent the formation of a new hemorrhoid in its place. The injections may need to be repeated every few weeks for full results, though multiple hemorrhoids can be targeted simultaneously. Sclerotherapy for hemorrhoids isn’t as common as it used to be but some providers may offer it.
Smaller, More Manageable Hemorrhoids With Doctor Butler’s
We’ve covered many different options for how to treat hemorrhoids, with the main goal of reducing the size and swelling of the veins. For both internal and external hemorrhoid treatment, it is important to minimize your discomfort so that you are better able to maintain healthy habits that discourage the occurrence of flare-ups. Do hemorrhoids go away? Yes, and whether you choose cold therapy, medicated cream and hemorrhoid ointments, or a medical procedure, a proactive response is always the quickest route to healthy and successful hemorrhoid treatment, reduction, and care.