Hemorrhoids are swollen veins around the rectum or anus. There are two types of hemorrhoids:

  • Internal hemorrhoids. These occur in the veins just inside the rectum. They may poke through to the outside and become irritated and painful.

  • External hemorrhoids. These occur in the veins outside the anus and can be felt as a painful swelling or hard lump near the anus.


  • Pregnancy.  

  • Obesity.  

  • Constipation or diarrhea.  

  • Straining to have a bowel movement.  

  • Sitting for long periods on the toilet.

  • Heavy lifting or other activity that caused you to strain.

  • Anal intercourse.


  • Pain.  

  • Anal itching or irritation.  

  • Rectal bleeding.  

  • Fecal leakage.  

  • Anal swelling.  

  • One or more lumps around the anus.  


Your caregiver may be able to diagnose hemorrhoids by visual examination. Other examinations or tests that may be performed include:

  • Examination of the rectal area with a gloved hand (digital rectal exam).  

  • Examination of anal canal using a small tube (scope).  

  • A blood test if you have lost a significant amount of blood.

  • A test to look inside the colon (sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy).


Most hemorrhoids can be treated at home. However, if symptoms do not seem to be getting better or if you have a lot of rectal bleeding, your caregiver may perform a procedure to help make the hemorrhoids get smaller or remove them completely. Possible treatments include:

  • Placing a rubber band at the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off the circulation (rubber band ligation).  

  • Injecting a chemical to shrink the hemorrhoid (sclerotherapy).  

  • Using a tool to burn the hemorrhoid (infrared light therapy).  

  • Surgically removing the hemorrhoid (hemorrhoidectomy).  

  • Stapling the hemorrhoid to block blood flow to the tissue (hemorrhoid stapling).  


  • Eat foods with fiber, such as whole grains, beans, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Ask your doctor about taking products with added fiber in them (fiber supplements).

  • Increase fluid intake. Drink enough water and fluids to keep your urine clear or pale yellow.  

  • Exercise regularly.  

  • Go to the bathroom when you have the urge to have a bowel movement. Do not wait.  

  • Avoid straining to have bowel movements.  

  • Keep the anal area dry and clean. Use wet toilet paper or moist towelettes after a bowel movement.  

  • Medicated creams and suppositories may be used or applied as directed.  

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines as directed by your caregiver.  

  • Take warm sitz baths for 15–20 minutes, 3–4 times a day to ease pain and discomfort.  

  • Place ice packs on the hemorrhoids if they are tender and swollen. Using ice packs between sitz baths may be helpful.  

  • Put ice in a plastic bag.  

  • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.  

  • Leave the ice on for 15–20 minutes, 3–4 times a day.  

  • Do not use a donut-shaped pillow or sit on the toilet for long periods. This increases blood pooling and pain.  


  • You have increasing pain and swelling that is not controlled by treatment or medicine.

  • You have uncontrolled bleeding.

  • You have difficulty or you are unable to have a bowel movement.

  • You have pain or inflammation outside the area of the hemorrhoids.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.