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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.



  • Topical medicine: This may come as pads, creams, ointments, or lotions. This medicine may help decrease pain and swelling.

  • Stool softeners: This medicine makes it easier for you to have a bowel movement. You may need this medicine to treat or prevent constipation.

  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.

  • 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.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.


  • Decrease constipation: Eat foods that are high in fiber and drink more liquids. This will help soften your bowel movements.

  • Ice: Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel, and place it on your hemorrhoid for 15 to 20 minutes every hour as directed.

  • Heat: Heat may help to decrease pain. Take a warm bath or a sitz bath. A sitz bath is a pan of warm water that fits on the toilet bowl. Ask how often to use a sitz bath.

  • 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.

Prevent hemorrhoids:

  • Bowel habits: Do not strain to have a bowel movement or sit on the toilet too long.

  • Exercise: Exercise may make it easier to have a bowel movement. Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you.

  • Drink plenty of liquids: Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. This may decrease constipation and reduce the need to strain to have a bowel movement.

  • Eat foods high in fiber: Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other high-fiber foods may help prevent hemorrhoids. Ask your healthcare provider if you should change your diet.

  • Avoid anal sex: It can weaken the skin around your rectum and anus.

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.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have severe pain in your rectum or around your anus.

  • You have bleeding from your anus that does not stop.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.