How Long Do Hemorrhoids Last?

Piles or hemorrhoids are actually swollen blood vessels in the anal area, which becomes inflamed and painful. A person who suffers from this often asks, how long do hemorrhoids last? Hemorrhoids are frequently a persistent condition, but in some people it can be short lasting. The duration of symptoms depends on various factors, including the type and severity of hemorrhoids, as well as the treatment options available.

Overviews of Hemorrhoids

There are various contributing factors associated with hemorrhoids, including straining during bowel movement, constipation (passing hard stools), sitting for long periods, frequent diarrhea, pregnancy, poor diet, overuse of laxatives, infection or inflammation of the rectum, heredity factors and other rectal conditions. There are two types of hemorrhoids depending on their location:

  • Internal hemorrhoids are found in the anus around the beginning of your rectum. These cannot be seen or felt during physical examination by the doctor. These hemorrhoids can push through your anus and lead to external hemorrhoids.
  • Just under the skin of the anus are the external hemorrhoids. Swollen external hemorrhoids can be felt during examination. They cause pain, itching, and sometimes, bleeding. If the blood inside clots, external hemorrhoids are said to be thrombosed, and severe pain may be experienced.

How Long do Hemorrhoids Last?

One cannot say how long hemorrhoids last because they may not go away without surgery, especially when severe. Itching, pain and tenderness may persist if pressure on the rectal veins remain, causing inflammation. There are various factors that influence healing.

  • Although we cannot definitely say how long it takes for hemorrhoids to heal, many people feel better after about two weeks.
  • Small external or internal hemorrhoids may heal within seven days. However, internal hemorrhoids that enlarge and come out of the anus (prolapse) may need at least two months to improve. Thrombosed external hemorrhoids may need longer (three months) to heal.
  • People who get hemorrhoids for the first time may heal faster, but as the condition worsens, healing may take longer. Those who get recurrent hemorrhoids usually suffer for two weeks or more before they recover.
  • Women sometimes get hemorrhoids during their pregnancy, causing them to experience pain and constant itching in the anal area. Although these can be temporarily relieved, symptoms may not improve until pregnancy is completed or terminated and the pressure in the veins is reduced.

How to Deal with Hemorrhoids

You can relieve symptoms of hemorrhoids using over-the-counter (OTC) medications sold in drugstores and supermarkets as well as natural remedies available online and at local health stores. It is also advisable to consult a doctor if these home treatments do not work.

1. Avoid Making It Worse

Clean your anus gently using a moistened toilet paper after every bowel movement. You can use water or cleansing liquid like Balneol to moisten the toilet paper or you can also use pre-moistened towels or baby wipes. Avoid rubbing the area or using perfumed soap because this will cause more irritation. Instead of wiping, you can opt to wash with a bidet or wash in the shower. Dry yourself by gently patting with a soft towel.

2. Relieve Discomfort

Take OTC pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, or non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen (Aleve) or ibuprofen (Motrin) to reduce swelling and pain. Apply ice on the anal area several times daily, ten minutes at a time. Next, place warm compress for 10 to 20 minutes. Use a sitz bath to relieve pain by filling your bathtub with warm water. Sit on the bathtub and soak for about 15 minutes. This is best done after bowel movements. Be careful not to use hot water, which can cause burns. Apply nonprescription creams, ointments, and suppositories as recommended by a doctor or a trusted pharmacist.

3. Other Remedies

Bed rest can help take the pressure off your inflamed anal veins. Pregnant women may lie down on their side to reduce pressure. Others can try sleeping on their stomach with a soft pillow under the hips to decrease the swelling hemorrhoids. Avoid lifting heavy objects since this can cause an increase in pressure in the veins. Avoid sitting or standing for long periods. Sitting on a pillow will help reduce discomfort and pain. Wear loose clothes to reduce pressure around your anal area. Use underwear made of cotton to avoid moisture buildup. This can irritate your hemorrhoids.