How are hemorrhoids treated?
Most hemorrhoids get better within a few days without any specific treatment. Simple measures such as bathing in warm water, applying ice packs, or using a hemorrhoid cream, ointment or suppository (Preparation H) can relieve some of the discomfort. For serious or prolonged irritation, it may be necessary for your doctor to prescribe a treatment. Prescribed topical medications (Anamantle-HC Forte, Anusol-HC, Peranex HC, Rectagel HC) are highly effective and often contain a combination of a local anesthetic and a steroid to treat pain, inflammation and itching. You should use your treatment as directed by your doctor and make another appointment if your symptoms last for more than seven days. Surgical removal might be warranted in the case of recurring or very bothersome hemorrhoids.

Self-help measures

  • Try to avoid becoming constipated by eating plenty of fiber, including fresh fruit, vegetables, whole wheat bread and cereals.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent constipation. Drink more during hot weather or if you are exercising.
  • Try to exercise regularly. This will also help to prevent constipation and ease the pressure on the hemorrhoids.
  • Avoid using hard toilet paper, use soft paper or medicated wipes instead.
  • Reduce discomfort by washing gently with warm water or sitting in a tub of warm water for 10 minutes several times a day. Using an ice pack can also help reduce the pain and swelling.
  • Do not scratch the area as this will make it more painful and uncomfortable.
  • Wear loose fitting underwear made from natural materials such as cotton.
  • If you are overweight, try to lose weight.
  • Do not hold back bowel movements and take your time when you do go.

Further Information
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: http://www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/hemorrhoids/index.aspx

Last Reviewed: May 2013