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There is a great deal of conflicting information about the best way to treat hemorrhoids. Advice runs the gamut from the simple “do nothing,” to complex formulas of herbs that are “guaranteed” to cure hemorrhoids in just a few days. Given the differing opinions about hemorrhoid treatment, most people need a filter of some sort to interpret this data, and the best ones can be a healthcare professional who suggests one or more treatments methods or hemorrhoid medicine strategies to patients. Therefore, the best way to choose is to ask a medical professional to help, which he or she may do over the phone, provided the condition is mild.
There are a few things that will help most cases of hemorrhoids, including changing the diet to a high fiber one so that stools are softer. Harder stools tend to correspond directly to development of hemorrhoids, and they tend to make those already present worse. Most medical experts don't recommended using laxatives to soften stools, but instead they might try adding extra dietary fiber or a fiber supplement, like psyllium husk.
The other issue with hemorrhoids that protrude or surround the anus is pain. Internal hemorrhoids aren't typically painful, but external ones or those that pop out with straining for a bowel movement can get raw or uncomfortable, so pain control of some sort is often needed. Some people turn to products like Preparation H®, which contains ingredients that may interact with certain conditions like high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism. It’s a good idea to check with a healthcare professional prior to using this medication.
Another common suggestion is to use hemorrhoid medicine in the form of witch hazel pads, which can be dabbed on the anus exterior after a bowel movement. These may sting slightly, depending on degree of irritation, but they then produce a numbing sensation, and they help to clean off any fecal matter that might irritate the skin more. For minor hemorrhoid conditions, witch hazel pads or wipes, which may be sold under different brand names, are usually safe to use, though they should not be used as a treatment for interior hemorrhoids.
Other recommendations include using hydrocortisone cream or ointment, although this may not be advisable if the skin is actually broken or bleeding. People are advised to discuss use of this over-the-counter product with a medical professional, and to avoid exceeding the recommended maximum days use. Sometimes, it is the best medicine and medical professionals may actually prefer to prescribe a stronger formulation than the types available in the drugstore.
Certainly, before self-treating, and especially if you notice blood with your stool, a medical professional’s opinion is warranted. Blood in the stool or surrounding may be a sign of a variety of conditions and is not always indicative of hemorrhoids. It makes little sense to treat a condition that might not be present, while ignoring more serious problems. After getting diagnosis, you can follow medical advice on best strategies for treatment. These might include using an over-the-counter medication or, if hemorrhoids are severe or have developed blood clots, surgical removal might be recommended to promote more comfort.
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