My Ass is Killing Me!
January 13, 2007 5:45 PM   Subscribe

I've recently been afflicted with hemorrhoids. What has worked the best for you guys?

I've tried the normal PreperationH routine to no avail; all it left me with was a greasy butt. My doctor has prescribed Anosol-HC, but it hasn't started working yet. Doc said to give it a few days.

What has worked the best for you guys? I know this is the type of question that would be normally asked anonymously, but I'm an open kind of guy.
posted by drleary to Health & Fitness (31 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My utmost sympathies. Not much worked I'm afraid. There were some anusol wipes that were less painful than regular toilet paper, but basically I just ate heaps of fibre and waited for them to go away.
posted by b33j at 5:52 PM on January 13, 2007

My mom had surgery. It was pretty easy stuff, and they went away completely. If you have bad ones, that might be a good route for you.
posted by nursegracer at 6:03 PM on January 13, 2007

Sitz baths have been known to help. Avoid the harsh toilet paper (try and stick with the wet wipe type things) and as b33j said, eat lots of fibre. Straining on the pot is the worst thing for rhoids.

Oh yes, avoid perfumed or colored toilet paper.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 6:06 PM on January 13, 2007

Witch Hazel pads (like Tuck's) and sometimes, just a nice, cool rag helps. And continue to try the Prep H from time to time, sometimes it's effective, sometimes it's not.
posted by headspace at 6:07 PM on January 13, 2007

If the product you mentioned "Anusol-HC" is a suppository then I would think that would work. Suppositories work amazingly well.
Sitz bath give great relief.
posted by JayRwv at 6:12 PM on January 13, 2007

Response by poster: Yeah, Anusol-HC is a suppository with hydrocortisone in them.
posted by drleary at 6:19 PM on January 13, 2007

For immediate relief take a soak in a nice warm tub of water. It will relieve the immediate pain. The pain can be quite intolerable for a few days know that it will go away.

My utmost sympathies...
posted by Octoparrot at 6:21 PM on January 13, 2007

Try geranium essential oil. It has to be the essential oil though, not a fragrance oil. It's expensive. It runs about $30 for .5 fl. oz. Put it on a cotton ball neat and apply to the er, affected area. It burns like a mo fo but it shrinks the tissue. You can usually get it at Whole Foods Market or at a health food store.

Disclaimer: IANAD nor am I an aromatherapist. I read about this in an aromatherapy book. YMMV.
posted by Soda-Da at 6:23 PM on January 13, 2007

Well, if you're having problems that are causing hemorrhoids, taking a couple of Fibercons each day will help.

Don't mix up the Anusol with the Anbesol, either.
posted by IndigoRain at 6:29 PM on January 13, 2007

Lots of fruit and water. Wash carefully everytime you take a dump. Personally, I'm a fan of Proctofoam-HC, although all hyrdocortizone products are pretty much the same though.
posted by yeolcoatl at 6:33 PM on January 13, 2007

The best thing you to do right now is to make sure you're keeping yourself VERY clean. That'll help with the itching. The Tucks wipes are good, but better is a plain old paper towel, folded in quarters, with a good squirt of witch hazel on it (FAR cheaper, too).
posted by deadmessenger at 6:35 PM on January 13, 2007

Some good advice here. Metamucil is a great fiber supplement.
posted by forallmankind at 6:57 PM on January 13, 2007

(I was wondering if I might piggyback on your thread. I'd just like to know how a person figures out they have hemorrhoids, exactly.)
posted by loiseau at 7:24 PM on January 13, 2007

I jam some Preparation H up my butt and take a sudafed pill: hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels, sudafed unswells them. (I've considered trying to spray nasal spray up my ass but haven't been desperate enough yet.) I'll also take an aspirin for the pain, hoping too that it will help relieve the swelling. (Then I sedate myself with something and lay in bed whimpering till I fall asleep; so far it's been gone when I wake up again.)

And I second metamucil and other types of fiber. You might also try squatting on the toilet seat instead of sitting down (something I do routinely now), unless you can find a better toilet.

And joiseau, when you have a hemorrhoid is something you just know, like you know when you've been hit over the head.
posted by davy at 7:39 PM on January 13, 2007

Response by poster: loiseau: When you go #2, it's extremely painful. When you wipe, there's blood on the toilet tissue. After you go #2 it's painful to sit for hours. By the time the pain and itching start to let up a little, it's time to go #2 again.

Even when you're not going #2, it's a constant "uncomfortable" feeling. No matter how you sit, it's like a duch ache.

This has been my experience anyway. YMMV.
posted by drleary at 7:41 PM on January 13, 2007

Name them. I found that naming them made it easier to cope. And when Cheney and Rumsfeld managed to go away for a while, life was so much better.

Still, witch hazel is a palliative, but at least it feels good. The first one I got, I had surgically removed - outpatient procedure from a family practice doctor. This doesn't prevent recurrence.

My spouse, during her pregnancy, got a script for cortisone foam which worked pretty well. We called it "ass mousse". Easier than a suppository.
posted by plinth at 7:45 PM on January 13, 2007

Shower after every crap to stay clean, use baby wipes, the metamucil thing, the prep H thing, and take a long hot bath with ebsom salts in it before bed.
posted by Iron Rat at 7:52 PM on January 13, 2007

All good advice.

Eat a dill pickle every day. Give it about a month or two, they get better and then you can go on the maintenance plan, where you only have to eat a dill pickle a couple of times a week. You won't do this, because it sounds like voodoo, but it does work.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 8:26 PM on January 13, 2007

It's exactly what you don't want to do, but stand up and move around. Sitting is part of what stresses the anus and contributes to the problem.

Also, and this works for non-hemorrhoid type constipation as well, learn about the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber. You need a certain balance of the soluble type to form the, you know, gel that transports all the insoluble fiber out. Switch to oatmeal for breakfast, eat more fruits and veggies and, well, I bet dill pickles are in that column, and so are nuts actually.

You can also get glycol supplements that increase the amount of oil and lubrication, and turn you into a sort of express lane. I don't think they give that to you just for hemorrhoids, but you can always ask your doctor.

The type of fiber I like is a crunchy fruit-flavored pill called Fiber Choice. Just one more option.
posted by dhartung at 10:24 PM on January 13, 2007

Wash your arsehole with warm water after using it, and smear on a little Savlon. This stuff is a general purpose soothing antiseptic, and has worked far better for me than the various specialized arse greases, ans washes off much more easily. Put a little on before bedtime too.

Also, do eat more fibre (brown rice is your friend) and drink more water, and if you're too fat, lose weight.

Finally, pay attention to your posture when you're taking a crap. Don't slump forward as you sit, or lean on your elbows; pull in the small of your back so your upper torso is upright and you feel your seated weight transfer to your thighs instead of your arse. This last is my own discovery and I haven't seen it recommended anywhere else, but for me at least it made the whole crapping process much less painful, and seems to be keeping the piles at bay. I still get occasional small bleeds but since fixing my dunny posture I no longer get outbreaks of swelling and pain.
posted by flabdablet at 11:16 PM on January 13, 2007

i think i've tried everything for this, and what i've found works best for me is to eat lots of good fiber -- veggies, fruits, brown rice, whole grain bread, oatmeal, the works -- and decrease the fat and sugar in your diet, because the cycle from loose to hard stools is one of the worst offenders when it comes to getting hemorrhoids to flare up. sitting in a tub of nice warm water for 20 minutes or so helps to relieve the pain.

i get a bad case of these suckers a couple times a year; that i work at a desk job seems to make matters worse, so i also think adding exercise also helps keep them at bay.

you should also know that once you start getting these, each time seems to be lots worse than the last. that's because they're basically varicose veins, and they just keep stretching out. so do everything you can to keep them from getting worse -- diet really seems to be key.

good luck...
posted by doplgangr at 1:26 AM on January 14, 2007

A simple thing -when you wipe your bottom, stand up and even raise one leg. Give you room to work, so to speak and less likely to be harsh on the H. Never sit down to wipe myself.
posted by A189Nut at 4:00 AM on January 14, 2007

Never had this problem, but two related pieces of advice: you may be tempted to switch to the wet wipe style of tp. Do not flush this stuff...after my plumber unclogged my toilet, he said the introduction of wet tp had been great for his business.

Also, be careful putting essential oils directly on the skin. Consult a book or an expert or something to see if you need a carrier oil to mix the essential with before putting directly on the skin.
posted by gokart4xmas at 4:36 AM on January 14, 2007

lots of water and high water content fruit and veg. i mean lots of water - drink before you feel thirsty. feeling thirsty is your body's last and desperate sign that it is dehydrated.

to have regular & soft #2s you should also try flaxseed. take three tablespoons of ground flaxseed soaked with a little bit of hot water. you can eat this for breakfast - add fruit, nuts or whatever takes your fancy. works very well. stay away from preground seeds though as they go rancid very easily. get a coffee grinder and buy whole seeds and grind them yourself daily.
posted by koahiatamadl at 6:33 AM on January 14, 2007

I don't have anything to add to the advice about diet, personal hygiene and medication. These are definitely the first things to try, and most people will get relief that way.

However, if they don't go away or get worse, there is a common and effective option before proceeding to surgery: rubber bands. Go to a GI specialist and ask to have wee rubber bands wrapped around the haemorrhoids, whether they're inside or out. This robs them of their blood supply and they drop off on their own.

Believe it or not, it doesn't hurt, although it does feel odd to have them applied. My doctor warned me that I'd feel some dull cramping right afterwards, and I did, but it wasn't a big deal. I certainly didn't feel the sharp pinching you might expect. It's possible that women would tolerate this better than men, because it's about as embarrassing and uncomfortable as getting an internal exam and Pap smear -- that is, pretty damn mild for most of us.
So for now, eat right, clean yourself well, and take your meds. But know that you have a pretty tolerable and effective option if those methods don't help you.
posted by rosemere at 8:38 AM on January 14, 2007

Buy a "doughnut" pillow from a drugstore and sit on it until comfortable without it.
posted by Carol Anne at 8:53 AM on January 14, 2007

I have noticed that my hemorrhoids flare up when I am under a lot of stress or have a few days in a row with not enough sleep.

I like the Organic Morning Lite cereal from Trader Joe's . Very high in fiber, quite tasty, and creates an amazingly regular (and easy) bowel movement.

Creams and lotions do very little to help. If I am in a flare-up period I change my diet to include more fiber and they flare back down within 48 hours.
posted by camworld at 9:52 AM on January 14, 2007

loiseau - here's a cartoon. Or you can do a google image search with safesearch turned off to see some truly horrible specimens.

I didn't have my first haemrhoid until I was, like, 21 and didn't have a clue on what to do. Heh, I had to ask one of my (younger but heavier-set) friends, "... uh, dude. I've, uh... hell. Haemroids are little bulges of dislocated blood-vessel-laden tissue, right? They hurt and look swollen. Uh, how do I get rid of them?"

nth-thing the adding fibre to one's diet to prevent them in the future. Also, stay hydrated - either consume more water or decrease diuretics like caffeine.

I've found that "sucking them in" speeds up the recovery, as does not sitting around. I don't have a lot of experience, but being stuck at a desk all day doesn't help the healing process any!
posted by porpoise at 3:23 PM on January 14, 2007

Instead of rubbing magical potions on your butt, wash with water instead of smearing it with dry paper: Amazon search for bidets. You can get cheap aftermarket hose-type bidets that mount to any standard toilet, and you never have to scrape dry paper across swollen tissues again. You can pay anything between $30 and $1000, with price not necessarily reflective of quality. I bought one for each bathroom in my house for about $70 each, IIRC.

They get everything clean, and with no pain. They solved my hemorrhoids pain years ago. You can even get portable handheld models for use on the road in a public bathroom.
posted by Katravax at 3:33 PM on January 14, 2007

I jam some Preparation H up my butt and take a sudafed pill...

Can I suggest washing your hands in between?

In all seriousness, I found that a change in lifestyle was all it took - I had a job where I sat around all day long, I started taking regular 3-5 minute jaunts around the office to break things up, and made sure not to hold my breath or strain on the pot. Never saw 'em again.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:42 PM on January 14, 2007

Mine were so bad that I finally, as soon as I could afford it, had a surgery called "hemorrhoidopexy" last July. I am now 'rhoid-free and delighted. I tried most of the above suggestions, including the dill pickle daily, and found them to be palliative but not curative. Surgery was one of the better decisions I've ever made. I wish you well.
posted by Hobgoblin at 5:05 PM on January 14, 2007

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