They hurt, they itch, they burn, and they might even bleed when you poop. Yeah, we're talking about hemorrhoids, arguably the most annoying condition that affects your b-hole.
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the rectal area. They can form inside the anal canal (internal hemorrhoids) or outside the anal opening (external hemorrhoids). The external variety tends to cause more severe pain since they get irritated when you sit or wipe your butt after a bowel movement.
Hemorrhoids are quite literally a pain in the ass, so you're probably wondering: Do hemorrhoids go away on their own? Or is there a special game plan you should follow to make them clear up faster?
The answer depends on a few factors, so we broke down everything you need to know about how long hemorrhoids last and when you can expect them to go away.
How Long Do Hemorrhoids Last?
The timeline for hemorrhoids varies from person to person, but it usually depends on how big they are.
Small hemorrhoids can shrink and disappear in a few days with simple lifestyle changes (more on that later). On the other hand, larger hemorrhoids might take up to a week or longer to go away, especially if they're swollen and painful.
Hemorrhoids are notorious for popping up during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester when there's more pressure on the abdomen. So if you're expecting a little DUDE or DUDETTE, expect your hemorrhoids to go away once you have the baby.
Which Lasts Longer: Internal or External Hemorrhoids?
External hemorrhoids usually last longer and are tougher to manage than internal hemorrhoids. That's because they form outside the rectum, making them prone to flare-ups when you wipe your butt or sit for long periods.
However, if an internal hemorrhoid swells enough to stick out of the anus, that can take more than a few days to heal. This is called a "prolapsed hemorrhoid" and might warrant medical treatment.
Do Hemorrhoids Go Away On Their Own?
Yes, in most cases, hemorrhoids go away on their own with a little TLC. You're not stuck with them for life, so enjoy a sigh of relief.
"Hemorrhoids can be painful and embarrassing, but they often shrink on their own with simple self-help and over-the-counter remedies," says Dr. Howard LeWine, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
That's the good news, but the bad news is hemorrhoids can strike again down the road, especially if you deal with chronic constipation or strain a lot on the toilet. These mess up the blood flow to and from the anal area, causing the veins to swell.
How to Make Hemorrhoids Go Away Faster
While hemorrhoids (usually) go away on their own, there are some easy lifestyle changes and home remedies you can use to speed up the healing process. Let's explore a few treatment options.
Ditch Toilet Paper for Medicated Wipes
Wiping hemorrhoids with toilet paper is like rubbing salt on a scraped knee. The dry, rough texture irritates the already-inflamed tissue and might cause rectal bleeding if you get too aggressive.
Flushable wipes are the easiest way to keep your booty clean without irritating your hemorrhoids. Don't settle for baby wipes, though. Grab a pack of DUDE Medicated Wipes, infused with witch hazel: an astringent scientifically proven to reduce inflammation and soothe your skin.
Use a Topical Hemorrhoid Treatment
Your local drugstore will have over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams and ointments specifically designed to treat hemorrhoids. Look for ingredients such as lidocaine to numb the pain and hydrocortisone to reduce swelling.
If you prefer not to rub stuff on your butthole, you can always take OTC pain relievers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin to manage your symptoms.
Take a Sitz Bath
Sitz baths are one of the most common techniques to soothe the symptoms of hemorrhoids. All you have to do is fill a clean bathtub with 3-4 inches of warm water and soak your booty for 10-15 minutes. You can also add Epsom salt and baking soda to the water for extra relief.
What If Your Hemorrhoids Don't Go Away?
If your hemorrhoids don't go away within a week or you develop a "thrombosed hemorrhoid" (hardened blood clots) your doctor might recommend a nonsurgical procedure to clear them up. Here are a few common options:
- Rubber band ligation: A small elastic band is placed around the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off blood supply
- Sclerotherapy: A chemical solution is injected into the hemorrhoid tissue to shrink it
- Coagulation therapy: Heat or infrared light is used to cut off blood supply to the hemorrhoid
These procedures are done in the doctor's office and can take a few days to recover, but they sure beat chronic hemorrhoids.
Treat Your Hemorrhoids Every Time You Wipe
For the millions of people dealing with hemorrhoids, wiping your butt is a living hell. But as DUDES who are dedicated to improving the butt-wiping experience, we knew we had to go into the lab and make a wipe that not only cleaned butts but healed them too.
The result was DUDE Wipes Medicated: a soothing, safer alternative to toilet paper. Hemorrhoids or not, you'll have the healthiest butt in the game after a few rounds with these puppies.