Understanding External Hemorrhoids: Symptoms and Treatment

What Are External Hemorrhoids?

External hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels located around the anus, just beneath the skin. Unlike internal hemorrhoids, which develop inside the rectum, external hemorrhoids are visible and can cause discomfort, pain, and itching.

Symptoms of External Hemorrhoids

The symptoms of external hemorrhoids can vary from person to person but often include itching, irritation, and discomfort around the anus. In some cases, external hemorrhoids may also cause pain, especially during bowel movements or when sitting for long periods.

Causes of External Hemorrhoids

External hemorrhoids can develop due to various factors, including straining during bowel movements, chronic constipation or diarrhea, obesity, pregnancy, and sitting on the toilet for extended periods. Additionally, age-related weakening of the tissues supporting the veins in the rectum and anus can contribute to the development of hemorrhoids.


Diagnosing external hemorrhoids typically involves a physical examination by a healthcare provider. During the examination, the doctor may visually inspect the area around the anus and may also perform a digital rectal exam to check for internal hemorrhoids or other potential causes of symptoms.

Treatment Options

Treatment for external hemorrhoids often begins with conservative measures aimed at relieving symptoms and reducing inflammation. Over-the-counter remedies such as topical creams, ointments, and medicated wipes can help alleviate itching and discomfort. Soaking in warm water baths, known as sitz baths, can also provide relief by soothing the affected area.

Medical Procedures

In cases where conservative treatments fail to provide relief, or if the hemorrhoids are particularly large or painful, medical procedures may be necessary. These procedures may include rubber band ligation, in which a small rubber band is placed around the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off its blood supply, causing it to shrink and fall off. Other options include sclerotherapy, in which a chemical solution is injected into the hemorrhoid to shrink it, or surgical removal of the hemorrhoid.

Prevention Strategies

Preventing external hemorrhoids often involves making lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of constipation and straining during bowel movements. Eating a high-fiber diet, drinking plenty of water, and exercising regularly can help promote regular bowel movements and prevent constipation. Avoiding sitting on the toilet for extended periods and practicing good toilet habits, such as not straining during bowel movements, can also help reduce the risk of hemorrhoids.

Managing Symptoms

In addition to preventive measures, managing symptoms of external hemorrhoids may involve using over-the-counter remedies, such as topical creams and ointments, to alleviate itching and discomfort. Avoiding harsh soaps and wipes, wearing loose-fitting cotton underwear, and gently cleaning the affected area with warm water after bowel movements can also help soothe irritation and promote healing.

Seeking Medical Advice

If symptoms of external hemorrhoids persist despite conservative measures or if there is bleeding, severe pain, or other concerning symptoms, it is essential to seek medical advice. A healthcare provider can assess the situation, provide a proper diagnosis, and recommend appropriate treatment options to alleviate symptoms and promote healing.

Living with External Hemorrhoids

Living with external hemorrhoids can be uncomfortable, but with proper management and treatment, symptoms can often be relieved and quality of life improved. By following preventive measures, seeking medical advice when needed, and making necessary lifestyle changes, individuals can effectively manage external hemorrhoids and minimize their impact on daily life. Read more about external hemorrhoids

By Pax