What Are the Treatments for Piles?

Piles, also called hemorrhoids, are characterized by swollen, inflamed veins in and around the rectum and anus. Piles generally will clear up on their own in one to two weeks if untreated. But most people who experience them prefer immediate relief, especially when the hemorrhoids are painful or bleeding. Treatments for piles attempt to relieve the symptoms, hasten healing and prevent the recurrence of piles.

Pain Relief

Many methods of treating piles aim to reduce the pain they cause. Over the counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin can help make piles hurt less. According to the Mayo Clinic, some people find relief in a warm bath or sitz bath, a small tub purchased at a medical supply store or pharmacy that fits over the toilet to submerge that area of the body.

Over the Counter Medications

A few ointments and creams are available over-the-counter that can help relieve pain, itching and swelling of piles. The most effective ones contain hydrocortisone or witch hazel, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Some formulations also come in a suppository form for internal piles. Creams and ointments work well for external piles and hemorrhoids that have prolapsed out of the anus.

Medical Treatment

A procedure, rubber band ligation, may be used for internal hemorrhoids, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. In this procedure, a small band is tightened around the pile, causing it to wither and fall off within a few days. Sclerotherapy, the injection of a chemical to reduce swelling and destroy the hemorrhoid, is another option. In infrared coagulation, the hemorrhoid is burned off in an in-office procedure at the doctor’s office. Surgery to physically remove the piles, called a hemorrhoidectomy, may be performed in cases of particularly large, stubborn or recurrent piles.

Home Remedies

Home remedies for piles often centers on reducing the pressure to the area to let piles heal on their own and to prevent new ones from forming. Eating a high fiber diet, drinking a lot of water and not attempting to delay making a bowel movement are strategies to keep stool soft and avoid aggravating the area with constipation and straining. According to Baby Center, Kegel exercises for women can increase circulation in the area, promoting healing through improved blood flow. Other methods of home care for hemorrhoids include keeping the area clean, using damp wipes instead of toilet paper and applying an ice pack to stop swelling.

About this Author

Bridget Coila has been writing professionally since 1998 and specializes in health, science and nutrition topics. Some of her articles have appeared in “Oxygen,” “American Fitness” and “Suite 101.” Coila has a B.S. in cell and molecular biology from the University of Cincinnati and 10 years of medical research experience.