Any type of pain will make it difficult for a normal person to fall asleep. Hemorrhoid pain is certainly no exception. For some lucky few, the pain from having hemorrhoids isn’t severe enough to keep them tossing and turning all night. But for most of us, it certainly is. What’s even more horrifying is the fact that one in three adults will eventually develop hemorrhoids during their lifetime.
We know hemorrhoids are embarrassing to talk about for many different reasons. But the more we avoid talking about them, the more precious sleep we lose. According to doctors and other medical experts, the negative health consequences of losing quality sleep are much worse for you than a little bit of embarrassment. So let’s take a minute to talk about – and find solutions for – the literal pain in your butt which is keeping you awake at night.
How to Relieve Hemorrhoid Pain and Get Better Sleep Right Now
It’s not hard to imagine that there is some poor, sleepless soul out there right now reading this post in the middle of the night, desperately searching for answers to this problem. If so, we have good news for you: there are some helpful solutions you can use right now to help alleviate the pain and get at least some sleep tonight.
For starters, if there is a pharmacy open near you right now, you can drive there and pick up some over-the-counter hemorrhoid medication. Obviously, most people have heard of the brand Preparation H. That company produces and sells many different wipes, suppositories, and topical creams designed to help hemorrhoids sufferers just like you. Many people have gotten a significant amount of relief from these over the counter hemorrhoid medications, and they can work for you, too.
For those who can’t (or don’t want to) pick up a hemorrhoid treatment from their local drug store, there are methods you can use in the privacy of your own home to get a similar level of relief. Start by giving yourself a sitz bath. It’s pretty simple: all you have to do is fill a shallow dish with water and sit in it for a few minutes. The water should warm – but not hot – and you may want to include soothing ingredients like apple cider vinegar. You can boost the effectiveness of a sitz bath by alternating between that and a cold compress. You should do 10 – 15 minutes on, 10 – 15 minutes off for as many times as you need before you start feeling relief. Just remember to take it easy and don’t overdo it, or you can do more damage and cause yourself more pain.
How to Keep Hemorrhoid Pain from Waking You up in the Middle of the Night
Once your hemorrhoid treatment has taken away most or all of the pain, you should situate yourself in a good sleeping position if you want to sleep soundly through the night. With regard to hemorrhoids, the best position is to sleep on your stomach. Furthermore, if you elevate your body by placing a pillow under your hips, you can help reduce inflammation of your hemorrhoids during the night. Gravity will pull excess interstitial fluid down and away from those inflamed tissues, which makes them less uncomfortable. You may even wake up feeling less pain than you did the night before – or no pain at all!
If sleeping on your stomach is completely out of the question, there are other positions you can try. Sleeping on your side as the next best thing to sleeping on your stomach when it comes to hemorrhoid pain. The important thing to remember, though, is that rolling onto your back can cause you to put weight on your hemorrhoids. This may cause pain which will wake you up and interrupt your sleep. You can help prevent this by placing a body pillow, a few extra pillows, or even a large pile of bunched-up blankets up against your back. That way, if you roll in any direction, you’ll roll forward. You can even place pillows and/or blankets in front of you to make sure you don’t roll at all.
We mentioned a few sentences ago that sleeping on your back is terrible for avoiding hemorrhoid pain while you sleep. This is because it has the opposite effect of sleeping on your stomach – it contributes to hemorrhoid inflammation which causes the pain that keeps you up at night. If you are a dedicated back sleeper, the best thing you can do is to pile pillows and blankets under your legs and even beneath your hips. It may not alleviate all of the pressure, but it will at least help somewhat. Hopefully, it’ll help just enough to get you to sleep.
Preventing Future Hemorrhoid Pain and Getting the Best Quality Sleep
All of these strategies – hemorrhoid creams, home remedies, and sleeping in the right position – will help you get better sleep despite hemorrhoid pain in the short-term. But you should also be thinking about the long game if you wants to prevent your hemorrhoids from ruining your sleep. This is also good for your long-term colonic health.
Start by trying to get over your embarrassment and talk to your doctor. As we said before, a little embarrassment won’t kill you – but neglected hemorrhoids can have serious health consequences if they aren’t treated properly. Next, you should do things like increasing fiber intake, staying well-hydrated, and using the bathroom as soon as you have to in order to reduce strain. Straining while trying to make a bowel movement is what causes hemorrhoids in the first place. So if you can make small life changes to help you go easier, it’s a good idea. Lastly, you should focus on losing weight and exercising more. A total lack of exercise will contribute towards weight gain, and being overweight puts you at higher risk for developing hemorrhoids. Excessively strenuous workouts can also lead to hemorrhoids, so don’t go crazy with it.
To give yourself a little extra help, you should also consider incorporating a natural sleep aid into your nightly hemorrhoid bedtime routine. Many of the natural botanicals that you’ll find in these formulas have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. We can’t guarantee that they will definitely leave you at your hemorrhoid pain – but at the very least, they will make you feel calm and relaxed enough to notice the pain less and sleep more.