Some people may have hemorrhoids (or piles) without even noticing it. Internal hemorrhoids are generally only noticeable if they start bleeding during bowel movements (pooping), but that’s usually painless. The trouble starts when the hemorrhoids move from inside to outside (prolapse), this can cause pain, swelling, and a burning and/or itching sensation.
In the case where these external hemorrhoids develop blood clots (thrombosed hemorrhoids), it feels like a lump and can be very painful. But what exactly are hemorrhoids? Hemorrhoids are swollen veins around the anus and can be caused by excessive pressure due to pregnancy, constipation, straining when you poop, sitting for too long (especially on the toilet seat), being overweight or obese, anal sex, or chronic diarrhea (1).
Many people are embarrassed to speak about this problem but thankfully you can use apple cider vinegar for hemorrhoids at home instead of getting over the counter creams and ointments that may have side effects.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Shrink Hemorrhoids?
There arenâ€™t any scientific studies that prove whether or not apple cider vinegar (ACV) works for hemorrhoids, all the evidence is anecdotal which is not to say that it doesnâ€™t work, just that scientists havenâ€™t done any clinical trials confirming or denying its efficacy. But letâ€™s see how apple vinegar could be useful:
- The astringent properties of the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar may help to reduce the size of the hemorrhoids.
- There was aÂ study done on the effect of apple cider vinegar on varicose veins. While varicose veins and hemorrhoids are not the same thing, they are similar. Some people experienced an improvement, others didnâ€™t, and a few experienced more irritation and itchiness.
- If you have the misfortune of hemorrhoids with cuts or cracks, you will benefit from the antimicrobial effect of apple cider vinegar.
- If your hemorrhoids are caused by obesity, apple cider vinegar can help you with that. Drinking apple cider vinegar daily actually helps people to lose weight.
So apple cider vinegar can definitely help as has been seen by many people. But the fact is that everyone is different and will respond differently to different remedies. The only way to find out is to try ACV for hemorrhoids for yourself.
How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Hemorrhoids
Raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar is best as it retains more of its beneficial properties, but acetic acid is often thought to be what contains most of the beneficial properties, so if you do have filtered apple cider vinegar, you can still see if it works for you, it may just take longer. Other types of vinegar also contain mostly acetic acid, so you can really try any vinegar for hemorrhoids as long as they arenâ€™t overly acidic.
Due to the highly acidic nature of vinegar, including apple cider vinegar, itâ€™s recommended to dilute the apple cider vinegar before use because undiluted vinegar can do more damage than good. Try one of these remedies a few times a day for relief (for internal hemorrhoids, you will need to try remedy 3):
1. The Most Effective Apple Cider Vinegar for Hemorrhoids Treatment: ACV and Warm Water
Sitz baths are one of the most effective treatments for hemorrhoids. The warmth will ease the pain while the apple cider vinegar does its thing. Sitz baths usually involve sitting in warm water mixed with salt or Epsom salt, but in this case, you will be using apple cider vinegar.
This is how you do it:
- Fill the bath with warm water until you can sit with the water covering your legs.
- Add half a cup of apple cider vinegar to the water.
- Stir it to mix it and then sit in the bath for 15 minutes.
- If you donâ€™t have a bath, you can do this with a large dish (though this will likely be uncomfortable) or buy a medical sitz bath that sits over the toilet. You will use a little less apple cider vinegar, about 2 tablespoons.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar Compresses
If you donâ€™t have any means to try the above-mentioned method, try this:
- Mix warm water and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a bowl.
- Dip some gauze or a clean cloth into the apple cider vinegar solution.
- Then apply this compress to your hemorrhoids for 15-20 minutes.
Note: You can also apply some using a cotton ball instead. Wait 15-20 minutes before rinsing it off.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar and Essential Oils
Essential oils can make the apple cider vinegar solution smell better and some even have anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties (2). Citrus essential oils also have astringent effects just like the ACV.
The best essential oils to use are:
- Lemon balm
You can add 20-30 drops of essential oils to the bath, and 5-15 to the medical sitz bath or dish. For remedy 2 you can add 2-10 drops.
Note: If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a medical condition, or are on chronic medication, first speak to your doctor before using essential oils. They can affect our hormones, thin our blood, and have an effect on our blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Not all essential oils are suitable for everyone.
4. Drink Apple Cider Vinegar
When it comes to using apple cider vinegar for hemorrhoids, topically isnâ€™t the only way. If you have internal hemorrhoids, drinking apple cider vinegar can help. It will also be beneficial for external hemorrhoids too and can be used in conjunction with one of the above remedies.
- Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water.
- Add a little bit of honey if you donâ€™t like the taste.
- Then drink it up. You can have 4 glasses per day of this apple cider vinegar water drink every day. Donâ€™t drink more than this as it can cause your body to become too alkaline.
Note: Always rinse your mouth afterward to prevent your teeth from eroding and never drink apple cider vinegar undiluted.
Tips and Precautions
- If you do find that you are bleeding itâ€™s best to go to the doctor because bleeding can be a sign of a more serious medical condition. The doctor will be able to make sure what exactly the problem is so that you can get the appropriate treatment.
- If your hemorrhoids do not improve with home remedies, it may be best to see the doctor. Hemorrhoids usually take around a week or two to go away.
- Many people report a stinging sensation when first using apple cider vinegar. If it continues, you may need to dilute it more or rather not use apple cider vinegar. If apple cider vinegar makes your hemorrhoids worse or doesnâ€™t help, try one of these hemorrhoid remedies instead.
- Be sure to drink at least 6-8 glasses of water and other helpful liquids such as herbal tea. You need to be well hydrated to prevent constipation or stools (poop) that are hard to pass.
- Eat whole grains, beans, fruit, and vegetables, each day and cut out the processed and junk foods. This will increase your fiber intake. Increase your fiber intake slowly to avoid discomfort as your digestive system gets used to the increased fiber intake.
- Exercise regularly. It will get you up and moving and increase blood circulation. Exercise has also been shown to help prevent constipation (3,Â 4).
- If you have chronic diarrhea, take note of which foods trigger your diarrhea, for example, dairy which is both a trigger in some people and worsens existing diarrhea in most people. You may want to get your doctor to test for food sensitivities. If it isnâ€™t triggered by food, your doctor may recommend more tests to rule out any medical conditions.
Try apple cider vinegar for hemorrhoids and if it works for you, please let us know.