This is a short overview in which I’ll be investigating the use of an inflatable cushion to relieve the pain and itching associated with hemorrhoids.
We’ll look at what these hemroids cushions are, what they aim to do for hemorrhoids, and then look at some of the pros and cons of using these cushions for hemorrhoids (aka hemroids), before having a quick look at where to find them.
What are these inflatable hemorrhoids rings, cushions and pillows that you hear so much of?
First things first. They are not the ‘anal cushions’ referred to in a lot of articles about hemorrhoids – that’s an anatomical term for the area of muscle that surrounds the last few inches of your lower bowel as it connects to the outer world.
The hemorrhoid cushions we are talking about here are actual cushions like you’d find on a sofa.
There are all kinds of shapes and sizes in hemorrhoids cushions and pillows.
Many hemorrhoids cushions are made from inflatable rubber, unfortunately not dissimilar to a whoopee cushion, but there are also versions of hemorrhoids cushions made from soft foam, or plastic covers filled with soft foam pieces or gels.
Many hemorrhoids cushions are ring shaped, looking if anything like a tiny life preserver, or something you might use as a swimming aid.
But there are also rectangular and square hemorrhoids cushions on the market, and as you might expect, they come in all kinds of sizes, shapes and designs.
Whatever the overall design, though, all these hemorrhoids cushions have one thing in common, which the hole in the centre.
Even rectangular hemorrhoids cushions will have some kind of central gap, even if it’s covered over with fabric, and it’s this hole that provides the relief.
What do these hemorrhoids cushions do?
or How do these inflatable hemorrhoid rings, cushions and pillows bring hemorrhoid relief?
Very simply, the idea is to reduce pressure on your hemorrhoids.
The hemorrhoids cushion is there to lift your buttocks up from whatever you happen to be sitting on but remove pressure from the area directly around the anus, letting it ‘hang free’, so to speak.
Some of the pain and itching that hemorrhoid sufferers get is caused either by the direct pressure on their hemorrhoids, particularly if they’re external or prolapsed, or from the irritation caused by contact with the comparatively rough cloth of their clothing with the delicate skin round the hemorrhoids.
By giving a raised surface around the rectum, such as by a hemorrhoids cushion, the pressure that would be absorbed directly through the hemorrhoids is transferred safely away, and with it, some of the discomfort.
Using a hemorrhoids cushion couldn’t really be simpler then – you just place it on top of whatever you’d normally be sitting on, and then sit on the cushion instead.
The cushions are also used for patients recovering from operations in or round the anus for similar reasons – to give them room to heal without added discomfort.
The Pros of Using hemorrhoid rings, cushions and pillows for your hemroids.
Hemorrhoid rings, cushions and pillows are a very simple and safe approach to dealing with hemroid pain.
For example, the pain from your piles may have been brought on by long periods of sitting, or it may be the other way around, from standing too long, that you’re simply having a flare-up, or you know you have a long flight ahead of you, or a hard day at the office at your desk awaits you.
When you’re in pain from hemorrhoids, sitting down isn’t going to hold much appeal for you, and every little helps.
Better than just grinning and bearing, hemorrhoids cushions can work a treat and are something that doesn’t take a lot of thought to work out.
There aren’t long complicated descriptions of alarming side effects that you might get with a medicine, and there’s no problems with overdosing or competing with your other medications. All you need to do is get the hemorrhoids cushion out when you need it.
And it’s fast – as soon as you’ve sat down, this hemorrhoids treatment is working. There’s no need to wait until it kicks in like a painkiller.
Hemorrhoids cushions are also fairly affordable.
Hemorrhoids cushions, like anything you can buy, are available in a huge price range, from a very basic item costing around ten to twenty dollars or less, although if you want to splash out on something with a more expensive cover, then you can.
And maybe you’d prefer to be carrying something slightly easier on the eye than some of the most basic hemorrhoids cushions, which aren’t quite what you might want to decorate your home or office chairs with to say the least. But you could certainly make a cover for the hemorrhoids cushion yourself if you were so inclined, and it wouldn’t interfere with the inner workings!
You probably won’t need more than one hemorrhoids cushion, as many of them are easily portable, or can fold up into a handbag or coat pocket if deflated or squashed, so you can take them with you where you need them.
Hemorrhoids cushions also safe. All you’re doing is keeping the pressure off your piles by keeping them up in the air even when you’re sitting down – that certainly can’t make things any worse. Can it?
Cons of using the hemorrhoids cushions
Hemorrhoid pillows, cushions and rings are only going to treat the pain
Hemorrhoid cushions provide relief from the symptoms of hemorrhoids without treating their underlying cause.
Hemorrhoids cushions certainly aren’t a cure, although they may help you bear the pain while you’re waiting for one!
Remember, although the exact causes of hemorrhoids aren’t entirely understood, there can be many factors in your lifestyle that can bring piles on, such as eating a diet that is low in fibre, a long spell of diarrhoea or pregnancy. Sitting on an inflatable hemorrhoids cushion will do nothing for any of these from a curative perspective!
There is an argument that simply treating the symptoms of any disease can lead to it getting worse.
This makes sense – it’s sort of the equivalent of treating bad spots just by covering them over with makeup so that nobody can see them.
Suppose you have pain from hemorrhoids and it’s been getting worse, then when you buy your inflatable hemorrhoids cushion, it’s all much better and you don’t notice it any more. But the hemorrhoids are still there, and they aren’t going to go away.
And perhaps sitting on something that’s ring-shaped isn’t a hundred miles away from sitting on a toilet seat.
However, sitting on top of a hemorrhoids cushion will change your posture and the way you hold your internal musculature, and, in theory at least, this could result in changed blood flow within the body and even increased blood pressure in the rectum or increased tone in the anal sphincter, which would (if it happened) end up making your hemorrhoids worse than they were to start off with.
Let’s be frank – you need to sit on the hemorrhoids cushion for it to work, and sitting down for long periods of time isn’t terribly good for hemorrhoids.
If your hemorrhoids are large or heavy enough, or if they have prolapsed from inside, they will tend to hang down on themselves in the absence of support from underneath, and (again in theory) this is likely to cause your piles to deteriorate, getting bigger and worse. But if your hemorrhoids are this bad anyway, it’s a good idea to go and seek a professional opinion on the best thing to do anyway, especially if they’ve prolapsed.
I’ve been having a good look through a few websites and some of my medical reference books, and the good news is that I can’t find anything to suggest that sitting on a hemorrhoid cushion will make your piles any worse.
The flip side to that is that I can’t find much mention of these hemorrhoid cushions anywhere!
That probably means hemorrhoids cushions aren’t harmful, but it may also mean there’s not much to recommend them greatly either.
There may be research studies underway, but if it isn’t something that matters a great deal one way or the other, chances are nobody will be undertaking extensive surveys as to the good, inflatable or otherwise hemorrhoids cushions may or may not do.
Taking a good painkiller, changing your diet and exercise regime and perhaps finding a treatment to make your piles go away altogether (if that’s possible) is likely to be a better long term use of your time and resources.
It also strikes me, looking at the pictures of these hemorrhoids cushions, that they aren’t on the whole a particularly subtle piece of furniture.
Now, everybody’s different, and some people I know relish it when they get a chance to talk about their medical complaints, so having a big, pink rubber cushion on your chair that may even say ‘hemorrhoids cushion’ on it might be an excellent conversation starter at work or on public transport for some, but there’s probably just as many people who rather not draw attention to themselves in that way.
Summary of the role of hemorrhoids cushions in caring for hemorrhoids
There’s lots to recommend the use of a hemorrhoid support cushion – they’re cheap, safe and reliable.
But while these hemorrhoid cushions might be quite handy, and certainly they do provide relief from the discomfort of hemorrhoids according to many patients, hemorrhoid cushions aren’t an answer in themselves – you still need to look at what is causing the hemorrhoids in the first place and then work on that, possibly in conjunction with your local doctor.
As with all safe treatments that offer relief, the best advice is to try them and see if they work for you.
If you find sitting on a hemorrhoids cushion alleviates the pain or discomfort you feel, then so much the better. It could prove invaluable while you wait for other treatments to kick in.
But if a hemorrhoids cushion or pillow or ring proves uncomfortable to sit on, don’t! As with most any other medication, if taking it or using it makes the complaint you’re trying to treat worse, mostly you stop it and ask for help from someone qualified to give it.
Just remember that the hemorrhoids cushions are there to help make sitting down more bearable when you’re suffering and when you still need to sit. They aren’t there to cure the hemroid problem.
Research and write by James Hogg,(BSc Oxon, MBBS & BA Hons), Doctor of Medicine, minor editing by Donald Urquhart.