Preventing Hemorrhoids from Disturbing Your Sleep

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There are many things that can keep us from getting the rest we need at night. Pain - especially pain from a hemorrhoid flare-up - shouldn't be one of them. Unfortunately, hemorrhoids are a fairly common affliction; 1 in 3 adults will develop hemorrhoids in their lifetime. Whether you're currently suffering from a painful hemorrhoid outbreak, or whether you've had them in the past and want to prevent them from keeping you up at night in the future, keep reading to learn how to prevent hemorrhoids from disturbing your sleep.

What to Do If You Have Hemorrhoids Now

Hemorrhoids occur when strain of the pelvic floor muscles puts pressure on the blood vessels inside the anal cavity, causing them to become swollen and irritated. If you are currently suffering from a painful hemorrhoid flare-up, you have our condolences. But if it's keeping you awake at night, don't despair. There are steps you can take to reduce hemorrhoid pain for a sweet, restful nightly slumber.

How to Reduce the Pain Right Before Bed

Hemorrhoid pain has a habit of "sundowning", or getting worse towards the end of the day. The more time you spend sitting and standing as you go about your daily routine, the more pressure you end up putting on your pelvic floor. This pressure, in turn, ends up making hemorrhoid pain worse at the least convenient time - right before bed. But there are some measures you can take in order to eliminate or alleviate some of your hemorrhoid pain.

For immediate relief, you can try a sitz bath, a cold compress, or over-the-counter creams/suppositories. Whether you're using the bath or the compress (or both), make sure you apply the treatment for no longer than 10-15 minutes at a time. Also, with the bath, either use warm water by itself or add a little apple cider vinegar to the mix. Don't use harsh soaps, and don't scrub the area; these can aggravate your hemorrhoid problems.

How to Avoid Hemorrhoid Pain While You Sleep

If you want to avoid hemorrhoid pain at night, you have to sleep in the right position. Sleeping on your stomach is the best position for sleeping when suffering from hemorrhoid pain. You can even put a pillow under your hips in order to elevate your posterior, which takes more pressure off your hemorrhoids.

If you can't sleep on your stomach for whatever reason, then sleeping on your side is an effective compromise. If you have extra pillows, position them around your body to prevent yourself from rolling over onto your back while you sleep. Otherwise, you could wake yourself up in the middle of the night with fresh hemorrhoid pain.

Sleeping on your back is the worst position to sleep in. It puts too much pressure on the pelvic floor, exacerbating the pain and severity of your hemorrhoids. If you absolutely cannot avoid sleeping on your back, try putting a pillow (or several) under your knees. This can help alleviate pressure on your pelvic floor, which can make hemorrhoid pain worse.

How to Reduce Hemorrhoid Pain in the Future

So maybe hemorrhoid pain isn't an issue for you right this minute. But if you're reading this, you've probably had hemorrhoid problems in the past and want to know what you can do to prevent painful flare-ups in the future. Thankfully, there are a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make to your daily routine that will significantly reduce the frequency and severity of your hemorrhoid symptoms:

  • Eat more fiber - between 25-35 grams per day is ideal
  • Drink more water - if you aren't drinking the recommended 64 oz of water per day, now is a good time to start (or up your intake)
  • Get more (light) exercise - strenuous exercise can make hemorrhoids worse, but not exercising at all can lead to weight gain, which also makes symptoms more severe
  • Lose weight - especially if you have a lot of visceral fat stored around your abdomen
  • Go to the bathroom as soon as you have the urge - putting it off can lead to constipation and straining
  • Reposition your body on the toilet - a squatted position, which can be achieved by elevating your feet with a stool or leaning far forward, will make it easier to expel your waste
  • Talk to your doctor - especially if your symptoms are chronic or especially severe. You may need prescription strength medicine or even minor surgery to correct the problem

Modern day stress makes it difficult enough to get good sleep at night. Fortunately, minor health problems like hemorrhoids don't have to make the problem worse than it already is. Just follow our handy tips, and you'll be sleeping pain-free in no time.

And if hemorrhoids aren't the only thing keeping you awake at night, we have solutions for that, too.