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What are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen, inflamed veins around your anus or the lower part of your rectum. There are two types:

  • External hemorrhoids, which form under the skin around your anus
  • Internal hemorrhoids, which form in the lining of your anus and lower rectum
What causes hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids happen when there is too much pressure on the veins around the anus. This can be caused by:

  • Straining during bowel movements.
  • Sitting on the toilet for long periods of time.
  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea.
  • A low-fiber diet.
  • Weakening of the supporting tissues in your anus and rectum. This can happen with aging and pregnancy.
  • Frequently lifting heavy objects.
What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?

The symptoms of hemorrhoids depend on which type you have:

With external hemorrhoids, you may have:

  • Anal itching
  • One or more hard, tender lumps near your anus
  • Anal pain, especially when sitting

Too much straining, rubbing, or cleaning around your anus may make your symptoms worse. For many people, the symptoms of external hemorrhoids go away within a few days.

With internal hemorrhoids, you may have:

  • Bleeding from your rectum - you would see bright red blood in your stool, on toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement
  • Prolapse, which is a hemorrhoid that has fallen through your anal opening

Internal hemorrhoids are usually not painful unless they are prolapsed. Prolapsed internal hemorrhoids may cause pain and discomfort.

How can I treat hemorrhoids at home?

You can most often treat your hemorrhoids at home by:

  • Eating foods that are high in fiber.
  • Taking a stool softener or a fiber supplement.
  • Drinking enough fluids every day.
  • Not straining during bowel movements.
  • Not sitting on the toilet for long periods of time.
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • Taking warm baths several times a day to help relieve pain. This could be a regular bath or a sitz bath. With a sitz bath, you use a special plastic tub that allows you to sit in a few inches of warm water.
  • Using over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams, ointments, or suppositories to relieve mild pain, swelling, and itching of external hemorrhoids.
When do I need to see a health care provider for hemorrhoids?

You should see your health care provider if you:

  • Still have symptoms after 1 week of at-home treatment.
  • Have bleeding from your rectum. Hemorrhoids are a common cause of bleeding, but other conditions can also cause bleeding. They include Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, colorectal cancer, and anal cancer. So it's important to see your provider to find the cause of the bleeding.
How are hemorrhoids diagnosed?

To find out if you have hemorrhoids, your health care provider:

  • Will ask about your medical history.
  • Will do a physical exam. Often providers can diagnose external hemorrhoids by looking at the area around your anus.
  • Will do a digital rectal exam to check for internal hemorrhoids. For this, the provider will insert a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to feel for anything that is abnormal.
  • May do procedures such as an anoscopy to check for internal hemorrhoids.
What are the treatments for hemorrhoids?

If at-home treatments for hemorrhoids don't help you, you may need a medical procedure. There are several different procedures that your provider can do in the office. These procedures use different techniques to cause scar tissue to form in the hemorrhoids. This cuts off the blood supply, which usually shrinks the hemorrhoids. In severe cases, you may need surgery.

Can hemorrhoids be prevented?

You can help prevent hemorrhoids by:

  • Eating foods that are high in fiber
  • Taking a stool softener or a fiber supplement
  • Drinking enough fluids every day
  • Not straining during bowel movements
  • Not sitting on the toilet for long periods of time

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

WARNING: All medicines, drugs, plants, chemicals or medicial precedures below are for historical reference only. Many of these treatments are now known to be harmful and possibly fatal. Do not consume any plant, chemical, drug or otherwise without first consulting a licensed physician that practices medine in the appropriate field.

Felter's Materia Medica on Hemorrhoid

   ...ecific Indications.—Sense of constriction, tightness, or uneasiness in the rectum, with or without hemorrhoids; intestinal irritation with constriction and colicky pain near the umbilicus; dyspnea an......on and associated with chronic constipation. Its chief value, however, lies in its power to relieve hemorrhoids due to faulty hemorrhoidal circulation. The sense of fullness and tightness rather than ...1

   ...lity, and should not be given to plethoric persons, nor when gastro-enteritis, or actively inflamed hemorrhoids are present; nor when pregnancy exists. Therapy.—Aloes, in 1/2 to 1 grain doses, is a g......stipated, the explanation of the combination may be found in the laxative action of the aloes. When hemorrhoids are due to feeble venous return, small doses of aloes or aloin may improve conditions, b......l doses of aloes or aloin may improve conditions, but it should never be given when there is active hemorrhoidal inflammation. In very small doses aloin is useful in rectal prolapsus, due to pelvic de...1

BELLADONNA (Atropa belladonna)ATROP
   The (1) dried root and the (2) dried leaves and tops of Atropa Belladonna, Linné (Nat. Ord. Solanaceae). Europe and Central Asia; also... / applied to painful and swollen joints, forming abscesses, incipient and recurrent boils, buboes, hemorrhoids and fissures, inflamed glands, and in neuralgia, chronic rheumatism, lumbago, myalgia, p...1

   The dried bark of Rhamnus Purshiana, De Candolle (Nat. Ord. Rhamnaceae). A shrub of Northern Idaho and the Pacific coast. Dose, 5 to 30... / ...n constipation they may often be remedied-by cascara. It is an efficient purgative in pregnancy, in hemorrhoids with loss of rectal tone, in atonic dyspepsia with costiveness, and in sick headache due... / ...Dose: One half to one teaspoonful at bedtime. If a more profound action is desired a half drachm of Specific Medicine Podophyllum may be added.1

   The whole plant of Chelidonium majus, Linné (Nat. Ord. Papaveraceae). Europe naturalized in waste places in the United States. Dose, 1 to 60... / ...the paroxysms of hepatic colic, but to prevent or repair the condition upon which they depend. When hemorrhoids, splenic congestion, dyspepsia, headache, migraine, supra-orbital neuralgias and cough a...1

   ...balous feces; sticking pains in the heart, larynx or bladder; contracted abdomen; vesical tenesmus; hemorrhoids; varicocele; follicular tonsillitis, with chronic hypertrophy of the faucial glands; any....... Action.—Collinsonia affects chiefly the venous system and the mucous membranes, particularly the hemorrhoidal venous circulation. It also stimulates the vagi, relieving irritation of the parts to use for collinsonia is in rectal venous debility. Here the smaller doses are more effectual. In hemorrhoids it usually does not cure, though it may do so early in their course. It is to be used wh...1

   An excrescence on Quercus infectoria, Olivier, and other allied species of Quercus (Nat. Ord. Fagaceae), caused by the punctures and deposited ova... / ...anted by gallic and tannic acids, which see. Galls, however, are considered especially effective in hemorrhoids, being preferred by many as a local application, in ointment, in preference to the acids...1

   The leaves of Gaultheria procumbens, Linné (Nat. Ord. Ericaceae). Damp woods and sandy soils of eastern third of the United States. Common... / ...gestion and in sluggish vascularity and engorgement of the intestinal glands, as well as to relieve hemorrhoids by overcoming congestion of the portal vessels. Oil of gaultheria has aromatic and antis... / ...of infants. Gaultheria is an agent of special value as a flavoring agent and preservative for water-dispensed medicines in the summer season. Fo1

   Glycerin, Glycerol. A liquid composed most largely of a trihydric alcohol (C3H5(OH)3) obtained by the processes of hydrolysis and distillation of... / ... chapped hands, lips, and face cracked or sore nipples, excoriated and chafed surfaces, and swollen hemorrhoids. A few grains of borax sometimes add to its efficiency. Compound tincture of benzoin and... / ...A 5 per cent solution of phenol in glycerin upon cotton may be used for insertion into the aural canal after rupture of the membrana tympani wh1

   ...ith venous relaxation; passive hemorrhages; prehemorrhagic states, with venous fullness; varicoses; hemorrhoids with weight and fullness; rectal prolapse; dull aching pain in pelvis, genitalia, or rec......nd heal abrasions after shaving. Witch-hazel is one of the most comforting applications for painful hemorrhoids. It may be used ice cold or hot, as preferred. Applied to the tender parts after the par......ut extends throughout the whole venous system. It is therefore a remedy of much value in varicoses, hemorrhoids, and passive hemorrhages. When indicated, the tissues are pallid and relaxed, and in som...1

HIPPOCASTANUM (Aesculus Hippocastanum)AEHI
   The bark and fruit of Aesculus Hippocastanum, Linné (Nat. Ord. Sapindaceae). Asia and Europe; planted in United States. Dose (bark), 1 to 60... / ...mply a sense of uneasiness or discomfort. When proctitis and neuralgic pain come from this engorged hemorrhoidal state it is effective, as it is also in reflex disorders depending upon the rectal invo...1

   The leaves and flowering or fruiting tops of Hyoscyamus niger, Linné (Nat. Ord. Solanaceae). Europe; naturalized in waste places in the United... / ... useful in spasmodic dysmenorrhea, flatulent colic, gastrodynia, spasmodic bowel disorders, painful hemorrhoids, spasmodic cystic pain, spasmodic asthma, and whooping cough. As a remedy for pain it wi...1

   The plants Impatiens pallida, Nuttall; and Impatiens capensis, Meerb., (Nat. Ord. Balsaminaceae). Moist shady places and rich soils in the United... / ...relief is almost magical. The bruised plants may also be used to relieve the pain of acute engorged hemorrhoids. INULA. The root of Inula Helenium, Linné (Nat. Ord. Compositae). A common roadside and... / ...symptoms is concerned, is unquestioned, but so far we are skeptical concerning its power to destroy the tubercle bacillus within the body.1

JALAPA (Ipomea jalapa)
   The dried tuberous root of Ipomoea jalapa, Nuttall; (Ipomoea purga, Hayne; Exogonium jalapa, Baillon; Exogonium purga, Bentham). Nat.... / ...tated by the secretion induced. It is a useful revulsive in cerebral congestion, and may be used in hemorrhoidal conditions with constipation when a stimulating cathartic cannot be employed. The chief... / ...that modification of the compound powder as advised by Locke are desirable forms in which to use jalap. Jalap alone purges in about 3 to 4 hours.1

   The ripe seeds of Linum usitatissimum, Linné (Nat. Ord. Linaceae). Levant and southern Europe; cultivated. Common Names: Flaxseed,... / membranes. Linseed oil is a good laxative and is sometimes used as an enema to remove ascarides. Hemorrhoids have been cured by the laxative influence of linseed oil given in daily repeated doses o...1

WARNING: All medicines, drugs, plants, chemicals or medicial precedures below are for historical reference only. Many of these treatments are now known to be harmful and possibly fatal. Do not consume any plant, chemical, drug or otherwise without first consulting a licensed physician that practices medine in the appropriate field.

Physician's Materia Medica on Hemorrhoid

   Astringent but not locally hemostatic, Prescribed in diarrheas, in atonic albuminuria, in hematuria, colliquative sweats, diabetes insipidus (combined with opium) and in internal hemorrhages. Ap plied locally in ointments in hemorrhoids and for unhealthy ulcers. Dose, 0.2 to 1.0 Grm. (3 to 15 grs.)2

   Powerful astringent. Employed locally as a styptic; internally sometimes prescribed in diarrhea, but more commonly drugs rich in Tannin such as Blackberry or Rhatany are used. Dose, 0.12 to 0.6 Grm. (2 to 10 grs.). Ointment Tannic Acid, U. S. P., (87% grs. to the ounce). Used especially in hemorrhoids. Glycerite Tannic Acid, U. S. P. (87% grs. to the ounce). Used as application to throat in relaxed condition, also locally in chronic coryza and ozena, and in certain cutaneous diseases. as eczema,2

ANTIPYRIN (Phenazone)
   Chemical name Phenyldimethylpyrazolon. Antipyretic, anal gesic, locally hemostatic. Used chiefly for relief of pain of a non-in fiammatory character, as in neuralgic affections and in locomotor ataxia. It often gives relief in whooping cough, and is a valuable remedy in epilepsy. Locally it is used with advantage in acute coryza and in hemorrhoids, associated generally with cocaine. Dose. 0.2 to 0.3 Grm. (3 to 5 grs.), which may be increased if the remedy is well borne.2

   The bark of AEsCULUs GLABRA, Willd. Bitter tonic, antiperio die, in large doses narcotic. Prescribed as a remedy for portal con gestion, for chronic constipation attended with hemorrhoids and for dyspnea.2

   The bark of RHAMNUs FRANGULA, Lin. A mild laxative, es pecially suitable for children and for persons subject to hemorrhoids. Practically superseded by Cascara Sagrada, q. v.2

   Alkaloid derived from COCA LEAVES. A powerful local anesthet ic. Prescribed for relief of nausea and gastralgia, and for its local action in affections of the throat, in hay fever and in hemorrhoids. Dose, 0.008 to 0.03 Grm. (% to % gr.) or more. The Hydrochloride is the salt commonly used.2

   The flowering herb of ERECHTHITES HIERACIFOLIA, (L.) Raf. Astringent, alterative. Used internally and externally in treatment of hemorrhoids.2

CALLS (Nutgalls)
   An excrescence on QUERCUS LUSITANICA, Lam., caused by the puncture for the purpose of depositing its ova of an insect. A power ful astringent, very rich in tannin (gallo-tannic acid). Used chiefly for its local astringent action, e. g. as a gargle in relaxed conditions of the throat, as an ointment for relief of hemorrhoids, 'etc.2

   The rhizome of HYDRASTIS CANADENSIS; Lin. Tonic, alterative to mucous membranes, uterine hemostatic. hepatic stimulant and aperient. Used much in dyspeptic troubles, in mt-norrhagia and dysmenorrhea, and for its local effect in canker of the mouth, ulcerat ed sore throat, fissures of the nipple, hemorrhoids as well as in con junctivitis. leucorrhea and especially in gonorrhea. The yellow alka loid Berberim, q. v. is simply tonic and perhaps antiperiodic. The white alkaloid flydrastine, q. v. is 2

POKE (Phytolacca)
   The root, also the fruit of PHYTOLACCA DECANDRA, Lin. Altera tive, deobstruent. in large doses emetic and cathartic, also distinctly narcotic. Much used in rheumatic and in cutaneous affections, to promote resolution in glandular enlargements, to combat a tendency to obesity, and in the treatment of hemorrhoids and of mam mary inflammations.2

WARNING: All medicines, drugs, plants, chemicals or medicial precedures below are for historical reference only. Many of these treatments are now known to be harmful and possibly fatal. Do not consume any plant, chemical, drug or otherwise without first consulting a licensed physician that practices medine in the appropriate field.

Physician's Therapeutics Memoranda on Hemorrhoid

   The bowels must be kept free (best by compound liquorice powder, Fl. Ext. Cascara Sagrada... / ...y) consist of combinations of tannin, opium and extract of stramonium; extract ergot; cocaine; distilled extract witch hazel. If the tumors (internal hemorrhoids) "come down”, they must be promptly returned and the patient should lie down a short time afterwards. Surgical treatment is often requir...2

   Astringent applications such as those used in Hemorrhoids, q. v.; mechanical support of the part.2


1) Felter, Harvey Wickes, 1922, The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Cincinnati, Ohio.
2) Nelson, Baker & Co., 1904, Physician's Handy Book of Materia Medica and Therapeustics, Detroit, Michigan.