For the 50 percent of folks over age 50 dealing with hemorrhoids — swollen, inflamed veins in the rectum — more time spent sitting over winter can trigger a flare-up of pain, itching, and pressure. To the rescue: These three easy tricks that relieve discomfort in a hurry, no doctor visit required!
Ease pain and itching with witch hazel.
When bothersome hemorrhoid symptoms flare, pat the problem area with a cotton ball dampened with witch hazel. It brims with tannic acid, a natural astringent that German investigators say shrinks swelling on contact and dulls inflamed nerve endings that telegraph pain. Need relief on the go? Reach for a pre-moistened, witch hazel–infused pad. One to try: Tucks Medicated Cooling Pads (Buy from Walmart, $7)
Speed healing with Epsom salts.
Research in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care found that taking a five-minute break three times a day to soak the affected area in warm, Epsom salt–infused water relieves pain and itching better than topicals like Preparation H. The warmth boosts circulation to speed healing, while Epsom salts tame pain-triggering inflammation. Tip: For extra relief, opt for salts infused with anti-inflammatory ingredients like aloe, lavender and calendula. One to try: Lansinoh Sitz Bath Salts (Buy from Amazon, $13)
Prevent future flare-ups with citrus.
A 12-cent daily dose of a citrus plant compound called diosmin cuts the chances of hemorrhoid flare-ups by 50 percent. And if you’re having a flare-up right now, it eases symptoms by up to 67 percent , a study in the British Journal of Surgery found. Experts say it helps constrict and heal the overly dilated blood vessels responsible for pain and swelling in as little as four days.
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.