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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. This means it extends out of your anus.
Seek care immediately if:
- You have severe pain in your rectum or around your anus.
- You have severe pain in your abdomen and you are vomiting.
- You have bleeding from your anus that soaks through your underwear.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have frequent and painful bowel movements.
- Your hemorrhoid looks or feels more swollen than usual.
- You do not have a bowel movement for 2 days or more.
- You see or feel tissue coming through your anus.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You may need any of the following:
- Medicine may be given to decrease pain, swelling, and itching. The medicine may come as a pad, cream, or ointment.
- Stool softeners help treat or prevent constipation.
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her 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 before you apply it to your anus. 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 inside a toilet bowl. Sit in the sitz bath for 15 minutes. Do this 3 times a day, and after each bowel movement. 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. Do not sit on the toilet too long. These actions can increase pressure on the tissues in your rectum and anus.
- Drink plenty of liquids. Liquids can help prevent constipation. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
- Eat a variety of high-fiber foods. Examples include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Ask your healthcare provider how much fiber you need each day. You may need to take a fiber supplement.
- Exercise as directed. Exercise, such as walking, may make it easier to have a bowel movement. Ask your healthcare provider to help you create an exercise plan.
- Do not have anal sex. Anal sex can weaken the skin around your rectum and anus.
- Avoid heavy lifting. This can cause straining and increase your risk for another hemorrhoid.
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.
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