Coping With Hemorrhoids

How to sit and more tips to avoid hemorrhoid pain

Learning the right way to sit can help ease hemorrhoid pain. This is one of many holistic methods of relieving pain, inflammation, and other hemorrhoid symptoms without the need for drugs. And with a few changes in the restroom, you might also be able to prevent your hemorrhoids from recurring.

This article offers a few tips for sitting with hemorrhoids, reducing strain, and easing your bowel movements. It covers how to soften your stools so they are easier to pass, how to make sitting on the toilet more comfortable, and more.

Types of Hemorrhoids
Verywell / Emily Roberts​

Making changes to your daily routine can help you feel more comfortable, both in the bathroom and out.

Sit Comfortably

The way in which you sit has a big effect on how well you recover from a bout of hemorrhoids.

Do yourself a favor and get a soft pillow or an inflatable "donut" cushion to sit on. The latter prevents the anorectal tissues from stretching. Most drugstores sell them for around $10.

Sitting on a hard surface puts pressure on the gluteal muscles of the buttocks and can cause the area around the hemorrhoids to stretch, forcing the swollen veins to be further pushed out. Sitting on the toilet for a long time can worsen hemorrhoids too, as it causes blood to pool around the area and the veins to bulge.

If you're prone to hemorrhoids, sitting on a hard chair for too long can even trigger them.

Change Position on the Toilet

Try raising your feet with a step stool when you sit on the toilet. Bringing your knees above your hips alters the angle of your rectum. This gives stool a more direct route out of the body.

If you are constipated, you should also avoid sitting on the toilet for a long time. The wide opening of the seat promotes anorectal stress and can make your hemorrhoids far worse.

Instead, get up and move around to help stimulate the bowels. Or, better yet, take a long walk around the block.

Take a Sitz Bath

sitz bath is a practical way to ease hemorrhoidal pain, itchiness, and inflammation.

The bath itself is a plastic tub you can purchase at the drugstore for around $10. It fits over the toilet bowl and is filled with warm water. Some people also add Epsom salt, witch hazel, or baking soda.

  • Fill the sitz bathtub with warm (not hot) water.
  • Soak for 15 to 20 minutes only (over-saturating your skin will not help).
  • When done, gently dab the anal area with a soft cloth to dry.

Sitting in warm water tempers the body's inflammatory response, reducing swelling and pain in your anal area.

Always clean the sitz bath before you use it. A solution of 2 tablespoons of bleach to a 1/2 gallon of water works great; be sure to rinse it well afterward.

You can also do a sitz bath in the bathtub, but it may not be as comfortable as using a sitz tub on the toilet.

Use an Ice Pack

Since hemorrhoids are swollen veins that bulge from your skin, you can reduce swelling by applying an ice pack. This works in the same way that icing a sports injury does.

Place a clean washcloth or kitchen towel between the ice pack and your skin and leave it there for no more than 15 minutes. While it's OK for the skin to feel a little numb, you should remove the pack if you start to feel a sharp, prickly sensation.

The trick with ice packs is to never place them directly on bare skin or leave them in one place for too long. Doing so can cause frostbite and may damage skin tissues.

If you don't have an ice pack handy, a pack of frozen peas wrapped in a towel can also work.

In addition to finding ways to cope with hemorrhoids, two very helpful things you can do include making stools easier to pass and keeping your rectal area clean.

Soften Your Stools

A high-fiber diet is a great long-term solution for constipation.

Prune juice: To get relief sooner, drinking prune juice can help by softening your stool. Prunes are high in fiber and sorbitol, a natural sugar alcohol that works like a laxative. One cup of prune juice daily can work wonders, even if you are heavily constipated.

Avoid coffee, alcohol, and caffeinated drinks: These beverages can dry out your stool and cause excessive urination.

Water: Drink extra water to stay hydrated whenever you're drinking prune juice or using a laxative of any kind. Aim for at least eight glasses of water per day (1/2 gallon).

Get Things Moving

One way to get your stool moving is to use an enema bag or douche ball. You can buy these from drugstores for $10 to $15.

Using either one, gently fill your rectum with warm water to ease out hard, pebbly stools. Just be careful not to overfill your rectum. Doing so can stretch out tissues that are already inflamed.

Wash the enema bag or douche ball inside and out, between each use (or dispose of them as directed).

If you have internal hemorrhoids, you need to be extra gentle.

  • Use a water-based lubricant to ease the nozzle into the rectum.
  • Avoid moisturizing cream or lotion, which can sting and cause irritation.

Practice Good Anal Hygiene

It is crucial to keep your anal area clean, especially after you have a bowel movement.

A perianal irrigation bottle can help you gently clean and soothe your anal area. You can get one from the drugstore for around $10, or you can use any clean, squeezable bottle you have on hand.

  • Use the bottle to squirt warm water on the affected area.
  • Clean your anus by dabbing it with a fresh baby wipe.
  • When bathing, avoid deodorant soaps or harsh cleansers, which can dry out your skin.
  • Wash your anal area with plain water by splashing the water onto your skin or using a shower hose.
  • Dab your skin with a clean towel to dry.
  • Apply aloe vera gel with a cotton ball onto the hemorrhoid. Aloe vera will hydrate your skin and help reduce inflammation.

Like aloe vera, you can try pure vitamin E oil or pure coconut oil too. But avoid creams that have these oils in them because other substances in the creams could bother your skin.

Hemorrhoids Doctor Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide for your next healthcare professional's appointment to help you ask the right questions.

Doctor Discussion Guide Man


There are a handful of steps you can take when dealing with hemorrhoids. They range from drinking prune juice to changing how you sit on the toilet.

The goal is to make stools easier to pass, practice good anal hygiene, and reduce pain and swelling. If you find something that helps you, try to be consistent with it.

A Word From Verywell

The holistic approaches covered here are safe and simple and don't require you to take any drugs. If your hemorrhoids are smaller and not too severe, these approaches might be enough for you.

That said, many over-the-counter (OTC) treatments are safe and effective options as well. If you want to try an OTC product but you're not sure which one, talk to a healthcare provider. They will help you choose a product that works well and feels right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What’s the best way to manage hemorrhoids during pregnancy?

    First, try to avoid constipation by increasing your fiber and liquid intake. You can also use stool softeners. Don’t delay when you need to use the bathroom, but don't sit on the toilet for too long. If you're considering a topical hemorrhoid treatment, ask your doctor if it's fine to use while pregnant.

  • Can you push a hemorrhoid back in?

    Yes. If you have an internal prolapsed hemorrhoid, it may bulge out of your anus. Sometimes, it will go back in on its own, but you can also try to gently push it back in place.

9 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Barbara Bolen, PhD
Barbara Bolen, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and health coach. She has written multiple books focused on living with irritable bowel syndrome.