Epsom Salt Bath For Hemorrhoids – All You Need To Know

Did you know that hemorrhoids are extremely common and can affect any member of the general population? Research shows that pregnant women are most at-risk, but other members of society are also likely to get at least one hemorrhoid in their lifetime.

As such, various treatment ideas have been proposed, including the idea of an Epsom salt bath for hemorrhoids. The question is, does this actually work?

Does Epsom salt help with hemorrhoids?

There is evidence to suggest that Epsom salt helps with hemorrhoids and an Epsom salt bath is even recommended as a treatment in this journal from 2022

Why is this supposed to help?

Epsom salt is unlike regular table salt as it is made from magnesium sulfate rather than sodium chloride. For eons, it has been used as a “natural” treatment option for a range of issues. Primarily, athletes are known to take baths in Epsom salts to relieve muscle cramps and muscular pain/discomfort. 

So, how does it help with hemorrhoids?

The main theory is that the salt breaks down into magnesium sulfate in the bath, and this works to soothe inflammation around your body. Because you are exposed to the water, the particles can make their way into your anus, directly targeting the hemorrhoids. Consequently, the reduction in inflammation leads to less swelling and pain. 

While there have been studies looking at the role of magnesium sulfate and inflammation in other parts of the body, we currently do not have a lot of research specifically looking at hemorrhoids. For now, there is more of an observational link whereby many patients have expressed relief when taking Epsom salt baths. 

How to use Epsom salt for hemorrhoids?

There are two different ways you can use this salt to treat hemorrhoids and see some pain relief. We’ve already mentioned one, but here are the two options: 

Epsom salt bath

We have touched upon this a few times, but it’s probably the most popular way of treating hemorrhoids at home as you don’t require much equipment and it’s cheap to do. 

Start by getting some Epsom salt – it is available online or in most grocery stores. Ensure you get Epsom salt with magnesium sulfate as regular table salt won’t have any effect. 

From here, you can choose to have a normal bath or a sitz bath. The latter is a small basin that you can place on your toilet or in your bath to just soak your anus/genital area. Many people opt to use this after bowel movements as it gives relief without the hassle of running a full bath. 

Once you have decided which one to use, follow these simple steps:

  • Fill your bath or basin with warm water – it must be warm enough for the salt to dissolve, but not too hot that it scalds you
  • Add Epsom salt – two cups is recommended for bathtubs, but a cup or less is fine for a sitz bath
  • Soak your anus in the water for up to 20 minutes
  • Rinse off and pat yourself dry

You should experience some relaxation and relief after this, and you can have as many Epsom salt baths as you like per day or week. 

Epsom salt paste

Alternatively, you can make a paste by combining Epsom salt with glycerin. Vegetable glycerin is the best to use, and you can also find this online or at your local grocery store as it is commonly used in cooking. 

The paste is created as follows:

  • Add equal quantities of Epsom salt and glycerin to a bowl
  • Mix together until a paste is formed
  • Apply the paste to a clean pad and place it on your anus
  • Hold it in place, allowing the paste to soak in for up to 20 minutes
  • Remove and repeat the process again in around 5 hours

You could also replace vegetable glycerin with aloe vera gel for a more soothing effect. 

Can an Epsom salt bath make your hemorrhoids worse?

While this treatment is effective, it can make your problem worse. 

However, this only happens if you make one key mistake when running your bath. When the water is too hot, it will exacerbate your hemorrhoids. The excess heat can cause your hemorrhoids to become more inflamed and swell up even larger than before. 

Consequently, this is why your bath needs to be warm or lukewarm at the most. It should be easy for you to sit in right away. If you have to carefully ease yourself in because it’s hot, then it is too hot!

What else can you do to treat hemorrhoids?

You can find other ways of treating hemorrhoids, though studies show that many people with piles don’t require any treatment at all. Instead, switching up dietary preferences and making healthier lifestyle choices can have a significant impact. Eating a high-fiber diet will make your bowel movements easier and less stressful, which negates one of the key causes of hemorrhoids – excessive straining when going to the toilet. 

Topical treatments also exist, such as hemorrhoid cream that eases swelling and irritation. Witch hazel is another topical option, though this works by numbing the area to reduce symptoms. Most topical treatments will only ease symptoms and reduce swelling temporarily – for long-term fixes you need to change your lifestyle habits or seek more invasive treatment options. 

When to see a doctor?

See a doctor if your hemorrhoids are causing lots of pain and disrupting your daily life. Likewise, if you experience excessive bleeding from your hemorrhoid, you should call a doctor right away as you may have a complication. 

Get help from an online doctor

Receive instant medical advice from an online doctor by booking a consultation today. All you have to do is download our app and subscribe to DrHouse, and you will be able to make an on-demand visit with one of our virtual doctors right away. This helps you get the right treatment for your hemorrhoids as soon as possible. 

Key Takeaways

An Epsom salt bath for hemorrhoids is a viable home treatment to relax the anal muscles and reduce inflammation. This can be done multiple times per day and is recommended after bowel movements. Alternatively, Epsom salt paste can be used to treat the issue as well. Be sure to see a doctor if your symptoms worsen or you see no relief after treating the hemorrhoids for two weeks. 

Sources:

DrHouse articles are written by MDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. The contents of the DrHouse site are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.

About DrHouse

DrHouse provides 24/7 virtual urgent care, men’s health, women’s health and online prescriptions.

  • On-demand virtual visits
  • 24/7 care support
  • Prescriptions as needed

DrHouse provides:

  • Virtual Urgent Care
    TreatmentPrescriptions

  • Men's Health
    TreatmentPrescriptions

  • Women’s Health
    TreatmentPrescriptions

  • Virtual Primary Care
    TreatmentPrescriptions

  • Online Prescriptions
    TreatmentPrescriptions

  • Online Dermatology
    TreatmentPrescriptions

  • Online Doctor
    TreatmentPrescriptions

Recent Articles

Hemorrhoids

Yeast Infection Vs UTI

Jessica Guht Sep. 28, 2022

Hemorrhoids

Amoxicillin For UTIs – Everything You Should Know

Jessica Guht Sep. 28, 2022

Hemorrhoids

How To Get Rid of a UTI Fast – Best Home Remedies

Jessica Guht Sep. 27, 2022

Hemorrhoids

Bacterial Vaginosis Vs UTI

Jessica Guht Sep. 27, 2022

Hemorrhoids

Can a UTI Delay Your Period?

Jessica Guht Sep. 20, 2022

DrHouse

Healthcare

on your schedule

Skip the unnecessary waiting room,
see a board-certified clinician now.

Start an Online Visit
Visits are only $19 with membership! Available in NY.

Prescriptions as needed
Renew or get a new Rx.

On-demand virtual visits
See a clinician in 15 minutes.

24/7 care support
We are here to help you.

DrHouse
  • 1

    Start an on-demand virtual visit. Wait time is less than 15 minutes.

  • 2

    Consult with a board-certified provider. Our clinicians are from the top US medical schools.

  • 3

    Get an Rx from your preferred pharmacy. Pick up an Rx nearby or get it delivered to you.

Download our app