There are few things in life that are literally a pain in the butt. Hemorrhoids fit this bill. And if you’ve got one, sometimes using a cream isn’t enough. But there is a simple and satisfying home remedy: taking an epsom salt bath for hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids: it’s an uncomfortable subject to talk about—in more ways than one.
It’s embarrassing to admit you have it. And, it can also be pretty painful, depending on the severity.
Just keep in mind if you’re suffering from this condition, you’re not alone.
In fact, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, 1 out of every 2 American over 50 years of age have hemorrhoids. [SOURCE]
And many people have them again and again.
The most common way to treat them is using an ointment. But the biggest problem with ointments is they’re just too messy.
Sure, an ointment may offer temporary relief. But it’s not very comfortable to sit on your backside when it feels like an oil slick.
Over the counter creams, too, are common for relief. However, it’s not very pleasant to apply cream (or ointment, for that matter) to your backside.
Not to mention the challenging logistics of self-applying to a hard-to-reach area.
A third way to treat it is using a suppository. You probably don’t need an explanation on suppositories. So let’s move on to a more pleasant way of treating ‘rhoids….
Epsom salt bath for hemorrhoids
Taking a salt bath is a well-known remedy for sore, achy muscles. Gardeners also use it for plants.
It turns out that taking a salt bath can also help relieve ‘rhoids. And it’s a very easy, pleasurable remedy.
And taking a salt bath isn’t just some folkloric remedy. Yes, there’s plenty of online tales of relief on natural health website threads and forums.
However, many experts (like this one) also recommend it.
And if your condition is painful, all it takes is sitting in a warm water bath for 15-20 minutes.
For best results, you might want to take an epsom salt bath at least a few times a day. Especially after a bowel movement.
Even if you’re suffering from constipation, you may still feel relief by taking a salt bath.
(Well, technically, it’s not really a salt bath; more accurately: magnesium and sulfate.)
On a side note related to constipation, make sure you’re eating a low-carb diet with lots of leafy green veggies. Sometimes, ‘rhoids are due to lack of fiber in the diet.
If you don’t have a bath tub, though, you can buy a “sitz bath.”
A sitz bath is more convenient than soaking in a tub. It fits right over your toilet.
You don’t have to wait for your tub to fill with water. And you’ll save time by not having to towel dry.
You can buy a sitz bath at stores like Rite Aid, Walgreens or CVS. Or, of course, buy a sitz bath on Amazon.
Epsom salt paste for hemorrhoids
You won’t find many (or any) clinical studies that offer definitive proof that an epsom salt bath for hemorrhoids is effective.
However, as mentioned above, many health experts do recommend soaking for relief. Moreover, there’s a simple home remedy that doesn’t involve soaking but does use Epsom salts.
It’s very easy to prepare.
You’ll need three ingredients: magnesium sulfate (buy a 20 lb bag from a hardware or gardening supply store; it’s far more cost effective than a little bag); glycerin; gauze pads.
To make the remedy, mix a couple tablespoons of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) with the an equal amount of glycerin. Next, apply the mix to a gauze pad.
Leave it on for up to 20 minutes. Repeat a few times during the day.
Keep in mind that there are different types and stages of hemorrhoids. In light of this, your best bet is to see a doctor to make sure the problem isn’t serious.
This is especially true if you are bleeding.
What are Hemorrhoids?
Before further discussing epsom salt bath for hemorrhoids, let’s examine (not with a microscope, ew!) what they are. And let’s see if their root cause can be determined….
Hemorrhoids, aka, piles, are swollen and inflamed veins around your anus. They can also be in your lower rectum.
There are external and internal ‘rhoids. External one form under the skin around the anus.
Internal ones form in the lining of the anus and lower rectum.
The symptoms of ‘rhoids range from itchiness, pain, swelling, protrusion, bleeding, constipation, and difficulty evacuating. Masses or even a prolapse of the entire rectum may occur if it’s left untreated.
Sure, epsom salt bath for hemorrhoids or a paste might be effective. But the reason why you should have it looked at first is the term applies to several different conditions.
It’s not like having a UTI (urinary tract infection), for example. Or, say, acne. Yes, there might be more than one root cause of a UTI or acne.
However, the symptoms of UTIs and acne don’t vary that much.
In comparison, ‘rhoids can cause the symptoms above. In addition, they can produce discharge. Lumps, clots and bowel-obstruction can also occur.
Furthermore, anal fissures may cause rectal bleeding. Thus, you might not actually be suffering from ‘rhoids.
Consequently, an epsom salt bath for hemorrhoids might sound appealing. However, it might not be the complete treatment you require.
In addition, neoplasms and benign polyps may produce the same symptoms of ‘rhoids. So, too, can a carcinoma.
This article’s purpose is to provide a simple at-home remedy for hemorrhoids. But, can you see why this post is emphasizing making sure you get a proper diagnosis before self-treating?
How to prevent hemorrhoids
The two best ways to prevent ‘rhoids are using a Squatty Potty when going #2 and eating a fiber-rich diet.
Also, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. Hemorrhoids usually affects older adults. And older adults tend to lose their sense of thirst. Consequently, older adults are often dehydrated.
In addition, don’t sit on the toilet for very long and strain. A Squatty Potty will help with this.
A couple other helpful tips….
Don’t sit for very long if you can help it.
Besides a high fiber diet the biggest thing that may help prevent ‘rhoids is healing your gut. If your diet has been unhealthy for many years, your digestive system and elimination suffer the consequences.
The link between exactly how leaky gut affects hemorrhoids is the subject of another article. Suffice to say, however, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that poor lifestyle habits, including diet, may be one cause of ‘rhoids.
How do you shrink hemorrhoids?
The number one way to NOT shrink them is scratching them. In fact, the most common cause of itchiness is scratching.
Steroid creams can shrink them.
However, using them for a long time can weaken your skin. Moreover, steroid cream can even make itching worse.
Another common at-home remedy is apple cider vinegar.
However, according to a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic, it may burn the skin with overuse and exacerbate problems.
Epsom salt soak for hemorrhoids
According to the journal, PHYSICIAN, soaking in a salt bath has a soothing effect similar to that of ointment.
Another benefit of soaking: it draws fluid out of the hemorrhoid.
Some people resort to having surgery to remove painful ‘rhoids. And this proctology group in Los Angeles says that one of the best ways to reduce pain and discomfort after surgery is by taking a sitz bath with epsom salt.
If you’re going to have surgery, the group cautions against taking epsom salt bath for hemorrhoids.
Doing so may make your bum too tender.
But if your butt isn’t undergoing the knife, taking a salt bath or applying a paste made out of it may offer the relief you’re desperately seeking.
And if you are battling with a urinary infection, there’s a bath remedy for that, too. Find out how to use an apple cider vinegar bath for UTI treatment.