The pain, itchiness, tenderness, and bleeding associated with hemorrhoids can be unbearable at times.
Despite the major advances in the management of this condition, conservative treatment is still dominant and yields appreciable results.
But will using a hemorrhoids donut pillow help to reduce the symptoms or make them worse?
What is an orthopedic donut?
As the name suggests, a donut cushion is a special type of pillow with a hole at the center. Usually made from foam, the pillow adjusts to the contour of the body when you sit on it. You can use it virtually in all types of seats including car seats, couches, office chairs, and wheelchairs.
Donut cushion pillows may differ in the material of manufacture with some being made from inflatable plastic while a majority consists of foam.
If you have hemorrhoids, a typical pillow alleviates the discomfort of sitting down by reducing the pressure exerted on the affected area. However, this temporary relief may not be the experience of every user. So the big question remains:
Is it good practice to use a donut cushion for treating hemorrhoids?
Many people use ring-shaped hemorrhoid cushions as a natural way of treating their hemorrhoids. But the outcome may not be the same for every individual.
A donut pillow will alleviate the pain and tenderness associated with sitting down temporarily especially when you have inflamed hemorrhoids. These results may soon wane off following the non-ergonomic shape of donut pillows.
The round shape with a hollow center limits the support these pillows offer in bearing the body weight while sitting. Consequently, they may worsen the hemorrhoids. It is therefore advisable that you use a donut cushion while leaning on a soft surface such as a couch.
Exacerbation of hemorrhoids by these pillows makes them an unwelcomed solution by some. However there are other benefits of donut seat cushions.
How does a donut pillow work?
The mechanism by which donut cushions treat hemorrhoids is based on their shape and material. Round with hollow centers, they resemble donuts and are commonly referred to as ring pillows as well.
Generally, sitting on the cushion releases pressure from the tender hemorrhoids, as there is no direct contact between the affected area and the surface.
With this design, however, the cushion does not offer adequate support to the perineum and tailbone. Similar to a toilet, sitting on the donut hemorrhoid pillow for a prolonged duration will negate the temporary pain and pruritus relief it offers. If you have prolapsed hemorrhoids, a ring pillow is a red zone you should not explore.
Learn more about how donut seat cushion helps hemorrhoids.
Other types of hemorrhoid pillow
While donut cushions are the most popular, there are other designs of hemorrhoid seat cushions that may be more effective or offer similar results. Available in different shapes with some looking like ordinary pillows, these cushions offer more gentle support to the anal region.
Although they may be more effective than the cheaply available donut pillows in curing hemorrhoids, these cushions are no different from the soft, supportive surfaces such as beds and couches available in homes and offices except for portability.
Both donut cushions and the atypical hemorrhoid pillows have an inflatable design making them more convenient to carry anywhere. It is for this reason and the instant temporary relief they offer that hemorrhoid pillows have gained popularity despite their limited long-term benefits.
Are all donut cushions the same?
No. There are standard ring pillows that offer superficial pain relief for a limited time while predisposing you to greater hemorrhoid agony. This is especially true for individuals with prolapsed internal hemorrhoids. Instead of going for the temporal symptom alleviation of a standard cushion, a patient with such a complicated condition should seek thorough treatment in a specialized facility.
Nevertheless, there are quality donut pillows that will be very helpful in treating uncomplicated hemorrhoids.
Benefits of a premium-quality donut seat cushion
Unlike the standard cushion, an ergonomically designed donut pillow will provide optimal weight relief by raising the back of the buttocks and improve posture to ensure adequate blood flow for faster healing.
It also provides perfect balance thereby preventing tilting that would cause more pain while rotating around or reaching for something from the sitting position.
Additionally, a good quality pillow reduces not only reduces pressure in the anal area but also releases pressure points in the legs, thighs, and lower back.
How does a standard donut cushion worsen hemorrhoids?
With instant relief donut cushions offer, individuals with hemorrhoids may overlook the long-term effects of using this treatment option.
As alluded to earlier, the shape of the ring cushions confer effects similar to those of sitting on a toilet. Using these pillows therefore may exacerbate pain, reduce the speed of healing or even cause bleeding as the posture promotes protrusion and swelling of veins in the anal area.
Individuals suffering from hemorrhoids should therefore avoid any process that does not provide proper support to the perineal area and enhance healing. These include prolonged sitting on the toilet.
What are the other alternatives to treating hemorrhoids?
Sitting is unavoidable and that is why pillows have been designed to help you alleviate the symptoms at such times. However, prolonged sitting will exacerbate the condition. Experts, therefore, recommend remaining mobile as much as possible in the treatment of hemorrhoids.
Besides the donut cushions, some of the treatment options to consider include applying ice packs or cold compresses, using laxatives and stool softeners to prevent constipation, taking warm sitz baths daily, and undertaking Kegel exercises. With the approval of your doctor, you can also use over-the-counter medications such as witch hazel pads that you apply to external hemorrhoids.
Notably, there are more effective solutions that you can get in a hospital setting.
When should I see a doctor?
Hemorrhoids may get complicated and even become fatal. If the symptoms of pain and itching continue despite using the conservative treatment options or bleeding occurs, it may be time to consult your physician. A simple surgery may be all you need for your condition to resolve.
Donut cushions offer temporary relief of hemorrhoids symptoms including tenderness and pruritus. However, prolonged use of these pillows is likely to worsen the condition and complicate the hemorrhoids further.