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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels inside your rectum (internal hemorrhoids) or on your anus (external hemorrhoids). Sometimes a hemorrhoid may prolapse, which means it extends out of your anus.
Seek care immediately if:
- You have severe pain in your rectum or around your anus.
- You have bleeding from your anus that does not stop.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have frequent and painful bowel movements.
- You see blood in the toilet bowl or on the toilet paper after a bowel movement.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Medicines can help decrease pain and swelling, and soften your bowel movement. The medicine may be a pill, pad, cream, or ointment.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Manage your symptoms:
- Apply ice on your anus for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
- Take a sitz bath. Fill a bathtub with 4 to 6 inches of warm water. You may also use a sitz bath pan that fits over a toilet. Sit in the sitz bath for 20 minutes. Do this 2 to 3 times a day, or as directed. The warm water can help decrease pain and swelling.
- Keep your anal area clean. Gently wash the area with warm water daily. Soap may irritate the area. After a bowel movement, wipe with moist towelettes or wet toilet paper. Dry toilet paper can irritate the area.
- Do not strain to have a bowel movement or sit on the toilet too long.
- Prevent constipation and soften your bowel movement. Exercise, such as walking, may make it easier to have a bowel movement. Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Eat a variety of high fiber foods, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Avoid anal sex. It can weaken the skin around your rectum and anus.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.