There are dozens of brands of yogurt and other probiotic products on the grocery store shelves that claim to improve regularity and gut health, but can they do anything to dull the pain from hemorrhoids? Some people think so, and there is some reason to believe it. Yogurt and other probiotics can be a part of a healthy, well-rounded diet that reduces hemorrhoid symptoms, help them heal faster and may offer support in preventing a recurrence.
What causes hemorrhoid pain?
Much of the pain associated with hemorrhoids occurs during a bowel movement. The strain of constipation or the prolonged time spent on the toilet with diarrhea causes damage to the veins. This leads to the familiar itching and burning. The hemorrhoids become inflamed. Then, when you use the bathroom there is pain.
When your hemorrhoids become inflamed but you are still struggling to pass hard stools or spending extra time on the toilet, your bowel irregularities are only making your hemorrhoids worse. It is easy enough for me to tell you to avoid straining while using the bathroom and limit the time you spend on the toilet, but that is difficult to do when you are dealing with constipation or diarrhea.
How can probiotics help address these causes?
As a part of a healthy, high-fiber diet, probiotics can help you ease constipation and get back on a regular schedule. And in this way, they may be able to help ease your hemorrhoid pain.
Curing your bathroom woes is key to reducing your hemorrhoid pain. A change in diet can usually do wonders. Add high fiber fruits and vegetables, eat only 100 percent whole grains, and drink plenty of fluids. If you want to add yogurt or another probiotic as well, it may help ease your bowel movements.
Probiotics are good bacteria that can help regulate the gastrointestinal tract. There are many different types of this bacteria, most commonly Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium. Most people can eat foods with probiotics or take supplements with probiotics safely. If you have a compromised immune system, however, you may want to talk to your doctor before you add it to your diet.
Choosing a high-quality probiotic is important, however. Read the labels carefully and try not to choose a product with ingredients that might cause additional intestinal troubles, such as artificial sweeteners.
What are some other ways to reduce hemorrhoid pain?
In addition to a healthy diet and probiotics, there are a number of things you can do to ease your hemorrhoid pain. Over-the-counter medications are often the first thing people reach for to help take the edge off hemorrhoid discomfort. However, there are plenty of non-pharmaceutical options as well.
- Avoid sitting for extended periods
- Do not spend excessive time on the toilet
- Do not use tissue or wear underwear with perfumes
- Sit in a shallow bath of warm water for a few minutes several times a day
If your symptoms do not improve quickly, you can also try an over-the-counter ointment to reduce the swelling. Many of these creams have lidocaine that can give instant temporary pain relief. You may want to talk to your doctor before using these medications, however. They may be able to recommend the best option for you, as well as prescribe a stool softener or bulk laxative if necessary.
When should I see a doctor about my hemorrhoid pain?
If you have hemorrhoid pain for more than a few days despite changing your diet and adding probiotics, you need to make an appointment to see a doctor. You should see a doctor even sooner if you have excessive rectal bleeding, bleeding that will not stop, or feel lightheaded. This type of bleeding could be a sign of a more serious condition, and needs to be addressed as soon as possible.