Hemorrhoids (also referred to as piles) can be uncomfortable. They are essentially swollen veins on the anus or in the lower rectum, and they can cause symptoms like itching, discomfort, and rectal bleeding.
Tea tree oil is a commonly used home treatment for hemorrhoids. There is evidence that tea tree oil can help shrink hemorrhoids, along with reducing swelling and itching.
Tea tree oil is made from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, which is native to Australia. People use tea tree oil as a home treatment for a number of different conditions, including acne, skin infection, and dandruff.
This oil can be purchased in beauty stores and some grocery stores, as well as online. It’s commonly sold in pure liquid extract form (or essential oil), which you must dilute before it’s safe to apply to your skin. You’ll also find it mixed into ready-to-use cosmetic products like lotions, soaps, or shampoos.
Benefits of tea tree oil for hemorrhoids
Tea tree oil is packed with powerful properties that can help treat hemorrhoids in several ways. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce inflammation and thus swelling. This aids in shrinking hemorrhoids.
The antiseptic qualities of tea tree oil can reduce symptoms like itching, discomfort, and pain. This can ease much of the discomfort caused by hemorrhoids, especially when the oil is combined with soothing agents like witch hazel or aloe.
Tea tree oil also contains antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which can help to keep the area clean and prevent infections if bleeding, irritation, or small tears occurs there.
While tea tree oil has long been used for this purpose, we’re finally starting to see early scientific evidence that it may actually work to treat hemorrhoids. An early study found that a gel made with tea tree oil and hyaluronic acid was effective at treating hemorrhoids while being safe and tolerable for those who used it.
More research is needed to evaluate the true efficacy of tea tree oil, but the research (and anecdotal evidence) is looking good.
How to use tea tree oil to treat hemorrhoids
There are several ways you can use tea tree oil to treat hemorrhoids, but it’s important to note than none of them include taking the oil orally. Tea tree oil can be toxic when ingested.
Instead, topical treatments are the way to go. Tea tree oil comes in diluted form, which is less strong than the essential oil and may be more easily applied directly to the skin. Always dilute tea tree essential oil with a carrier oil. Mixing tea tree oil with other ingredients can further dilute it and help reduce negative skin reactions.
A mixture of a few drops of tea tree essential oil mixed with a tablespoon of coconut oil provides strong anti-inflammatory properties. You can apply this directly to the affected area using a cotton swab or cotton ball.
You can also mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a tablespoon of castor oil and a teaspoon of witch hazel or aloe. After mixing this combination well, use a cotton swab to apply it to your hemorrhoids directly.
You might also try adding tea tree oil directly to the warm (but not hot) water of a sitz bath. The water prevents contact from a formulation that’s too strong or concentrated.
Side effects and risks of using tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is considered safe for the general public to use. That said, it’s a strong ingredient with powerful compounds, and it may cause some skin irritation if applied without being diluted first. Because of this, it’s often best to dilute tea tree oil with carrier oils like castor oil or coconut oil before applying it to the hemorrhoid.
Tea tree oil can also dry out the skin, so it’s best to use it in moderation.
For some individuals, tea tree oil may cause swelling as a result of skin irritation, worsening hemorrhoid symptoms. Cease use immediately if this occurs.
It’s also possible that tea tree oil mixed with lavender may contain hormones that could disrupt the hormonal balance of boys who haven’t yet gone through puberty. It’s unknown if this mixture would be safe for young girls to use.
Tea tree oil should only be applied topically. Taking it orally can lead to serious side effects, including confusion and difficulty with coordination.
When to see your doctor
One of the most common symptoms of hemorrhoids is bleeding during bowel movements. Even if you suspect that hemorrhoids are the cause, make an appointment to see your doctor so that you can rule out anything more serious like colon cancer. They’ll perform a quick rectal examination to determine whether hemorrhoids are the cause or not.
If you know you have hemorrhoids and they aren’t improving with home treatment or prescription medication, talk to your doctor about other treatment plans. This is especially important if they bleed frequently or excessively or are particularly painful. Your doctor may recommend other treatments, including minor surgery.
Research and anecdotal evidence suggest using tea tree oil to treat hemorrhoids — especially when diluted with other healing, anti-inflammatory ingredients like aloe or witch hazel — can help to reduce swelling and symptoms all at once. More research is needed to support this, however.