When you have hemorrhoids, you know it’s just a matter of time until they flare up again. It might be because you had a stressful few weeks and simply didn’t eat the right foods and are experiencing constipation as a result. It might be that life got in the way and you couldn’t be as active as your body needed you to.
Whatever the reason why your hemorrhoids act up, what’s important is to deal with the flare up and get back to normal life as soon as possible. Addressing an episode the minute it comes about is the secret to living pain-free with hemorrhoids and enjoying good quality of life. Read below to find out what to do for a hemorrhoids flare up.
Address your diet asap.
If your hemorrhoids are acting up, then you know it’s time to get serious about your diet. What you eat 100% affects your hemorrhoids and determines how they respond. As soon as you sense a flare up coming in, focus on eating right. Focus on a predominantly plant based diet for the first few days of a flareup. Make sure you get enough fiber and eat foods that will keep your stools soft and easy to pass.
Cereal such as oats, whether you have them as porridge or rolled oats mixed in your yogurt, or even corn flakes with milk are great for breakfast. For lunch, consider whole wheat pasta with vegetables: tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, sweet peppers, mushrooms, peas or beans. For your midday snack, have raw nuts and seeds or a fruit smoothie with fruits such as kiwifruit, bananas, strawberries, raspberries or cherries. Or a big wedge of red or yellow watermelon since it’s in season right now.
For dinner do have some light protein such as grilled chicken breast or white fish like cod and lots of vegetables. Stewed spinach with boiled or baked potatoes is a good option for softening stools. But you can also make yourself some purple cabbage with white cannellini beans. Or chicken thigs with lots of baby carrots and olives.
Don’t go for laxatives right away! For one, you can’t take laxatives forever or you’ll find yourself trapped in a vicious circle where you’re afraid of dropping the laxatives because you don’t know how to live without using them any more. It’s the same kind of dependency that develops from the overuse of nasal sprays.
Secondly, laxative can backfire and do so in a grand way. Having loose stools or worse, diarrhea, is just as bad for hemorrhoids as constipation. Stools that are too loose and too frequent irritate hemorrhoids and can bring about a flareup themselves.
Drink more liquids. Set a goal for your fluid intake.
Once you feel your piles are acting up, and you tend to know right away after a few episodes, make sure you have a glass of water every few hours to maintain an adequate level of hydration. Set a goal for yourself for the day and keep to it. Flavor your water with mint leaves or a few slices of lemon or even strawberries if that’s what you need to do to drink more.
If you just can’t keep up with drinking water, consider other options. For example, you can have a nice digestive tea in the morning. If you have coffee before lunch, either have a glass of water with it to counteract its dehydrating effects and help with the flare up, or go for half and half, half coffee and half milk. For lunch you can have a fruit smoothie in addition to some water.
For your midday snack you can sneak in some fruit juice or a cup of tea. And there’s still room for tea at dinner time. If it’s really hot or you simply feel dehydrated, consider a quality sports drink full of hydrating electrolytes.
Wash after a bowel movement.
If your hemorrhoids are acting up, then it will feel better to wash after having a bowel movement. While you can’t always do that, if you can, do it. First of all, use baby wipes to gently clean yourself. Then wash with warm water and some soap, making sure you are very gentle. Washing will reduce irritation in the area and help calm the pain and discomfort which aids in reducing the duration of the flareup.
Sit in warm water after a bowel movement.
If you have the possibility to do so, sit in some warm water after you have a bowel movement. This is great for calming hemorrhoids after you poop and can help reduce the duration of the flareup as well as prevent symptoms from getting worse.
You can just sit in the bathtub or in a plastic wash basin or wash bowl filled with a few inches of warm water for 10-15 minutes. If you can’t do so right after a bowel movement, try and do it at night before you go to sleep, for example. Sitz baths provide great relief for hemorrhoids.
Apply petroleum jelly.
Another important thing to do during a hemorrhoids flare up is to use petroleum jelly. After a bowel movement, wash with warm water and some soap, dry the area gently and apply a bit of petroleum jelly to the hemorrhoids coming out and the surrounding area.
Petroleum jelly helps reduce friction which, in turn, reduces irritation and pain. Not just this, but petroleum jelly can also help the hemorrhoids retreat, reducing the duration of the flareup by a few good days. Petroleum jelly does not get absorbed in the skin, but rather sits on top creating a protective barrier that reduces friction. It also has a calming effect that improves quality of life.
Walk leisurely after a bowel movement.
What I’ve found helps when your hemorrhoids are acting up is to not sit down immediately after a bowel movement. Instead, wipe, wash and apply petroleum jelly, and walk for 10 minutes or so. Do not fast walk or run or anything of the likes – simply move. When your hemorrhoids are flaring up, not sitting down after you poop helps tremendously.
Avoid lifting and bending.
When your hemorrhoids are acting up, it helps to avoid lifting or carrying heavy objects, and even bending to pick things up. Ideally, this is best kept up for a few days, but if that’s simply not feasible, make sure you avoid lifting anything particularly heavy for at least half an hour after having a bowel movement. This to to give the hemorrhoids enough time to recover after the bowel movement strain.
Avoid sitting down for too many hours at a time.
Get up as often and as much as you can and just walk. At work you may offer to get lunch or coffee or retrieve paperwork for someone. At home, you may do the dishes standing up or go out in the garden for a stroll or walk the dog or do a bit of dusting. The idea is to sit up and walk. This will help keep the blood flowing for good circulation and also help the hemorrhoids retreat sooner.