The good news is that hemorrhoids are not life threatening and recurrences may be avoided by changing your lifestyle.
“The main thing we push is lifestyle changes,” says Gwyer. “We recommend a high-fiber diet and drinking plenty of water. You also don’t want to sit too long. You want to get up and move around as much as possible.”
The uncomfortable symptoms of hemorrhoids can be eased with at-home treatments.
“Soak in warm bath water, wear loose clothing and don’t use harsh soaps or perfumed lotions to avoid scratching,” she says.
Over-the-counter treatments and prescription-strength suppositories and creams can also help relieve the discomfort of hemorrhoids that produce mild symptoms.
“They are good for taking away the pain and shrinking them,” Gwyer says.
A rubber band ligation is an in-office treatment for persistent, painful hemorrhoids. A rubber band cuts off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid until it shrivels and falls off.
Surgery is another option for more severe cases and involves stapling bulging veins to block the blood supply to them.
Although hemorrhoids are far from pleasant, there is sometimes a silver lining that accompanies them, Gwyer says.
“The lifestyle modifications people often make to minimize the risk of hemorrhoids can have other benefits to health, too,” she says. “So, in some ways, the short-term discomfort of a hemorrhoid can lead to positive changes over the long term.”