How Long do Hemorrhoids Last and Can They Go Away on Their Own?

How Long do Hemorrhoids Last and Can They Go Away on Their Own?

Hemorrhoids appear when veins in your anus and lower rectum become swollen and inflamed. The swollen blood vessels can be under the skin at the anal opening (external hemorrhoids) or they can form in the lining of the lower rectum or anus (internal hemorrhoids). The most common symptoms of hemorrhoids (also called piles) are itching around the anus, discomfort, pain, and bleeding from the rectum.

Doctors aren’t sure what exactly causes the veins to swell, but they think that straining to pass stool, constipation, diet, pregnancy, and aging can all be reasons for hemorrhoids developing. Hemorrhoids can last from a few days to many weeks. Usually, you can relieve the painful and itchy symptoms of hemorrhoids by making dietary changes and using home treatments to relieve discomfort. For example, consuming more fiber and fluids can make it easier to poop. Home remedies like witch hazel, aloe vera, and tea tree oil can help to relieve itching and inflammation around the anus.

This article answers many of the questions that people have about hemorrhoids. For example, will hemorrhoids go away on their own without treatment? How long do hemorrhoids last? And, what are the best home remedies to treat the symptoms of hemorrhoids?

What are Hemorrhoids?

The lower part of the rectum and anus contains blood vessels, and too much pressure on these can cause them to bulge and become swollen to form hemorrhoids. According to Dr. Benjamin Wedro on, increased pressure in the anus resulting in piles can be caused by excessive straining during a bowel movement, pregnancy, obesity, or sitting for too long. They can also be caused by injury or inflammatory bowel disease.1

External hemorrhoids occur around the anus and can cause pain, itching, and bleeding during or just after a bowel movement. It is usually possible to feel the swollen vein around the anal opening. According to the Harvard Medical School, it’s usually external hemorrhoids that cause the itchy, painful symptoms associated with hemorrhoids.2

Internal hemorrhoids occur further inside the rectum. Because there are few pain sensory nerve cells, internal hemorrhoids don’t usually cause any pain. The only symptom may be rectal bleeding. However, if the hemorrhoid breaks through the anus (prolapse), this could result in pain and discomfort.

Although hemorrhoids aren’t dangerous and usually go away in a few weeks, it is always advisable to see a doctor if you have any kind of bleeding from the anus. The doctor will perform a full examination to rule out the possibility of a more serious condition. Rectal bleeding is also a symptom of some types of cancers. Also, if it’s difficult to get rid of hemorrhoids completely using home treatment methods, your doctor can advise on other ways to get rid of hemorrhoids.

The Symptoms of Hemorrhoids

Most of the symptoms of hemorrhoids are noticed when you have external hemorrhoids. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic say that the symptoms of hemorrhoids are:3

  • itching around the anal opening
  • some small amounts of blood on toilet tissue or bleeding during a bowel movement
  • swelling around the anus
  • one or more hard lumps near your anus
  • pain, inflammation, and swelling around the anal region

How Long do Hemorrhoids Last?

Depending on where you have hemorrhoids and the severity of them, they could last for one or two days or up to a few months.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says that external hemorrhoids usually last from a few days up to a week.4 They advise that you visit your doctor if symptoms of hemorrhoids don’t clear up within a few days when using natural home hemorrhoid treatments.

Internal hemorrhoids that have prolapsed will take considerably longer to heal, and your doctor can advise on the best course of treatment to make them go away.

If you suffer from hemorrhoids when you are pregnant, the discomfort and itching around the anus may last for the full term of your pregnancy. However, during that time, you can use the natural hemorrhoid treatments mentioned in this article to get relief from the recurrent itching, pain and discomfort they cause.

Do Hemorrhoids Go Away on Their Own?

Small external hemorrhoids should go away by themselves while treating the symptoms with home remedies. Natural home remedies can help to make hemorrhoids go away quicker by reducing inflammation and irritation around the anal opening.

The Mayo Clinic recommends eating high-fiber foods and drinking plenty of fluids to help reduce the pressure on your anus and help make piles go away faster. You should also avoid straining when trying to poop because this could aggravate the swollen veins around the anus even more and delay the healing process.5

To help hemorrhoids go away on their own quicker, doctors also recommend not sitting on the toilet for long periods of time. This will prevent more pressure building up around the anal region that can delay the healing process.6

However, some types of hemorrhoids may require medical procedures to remove them. For example, internal hemorrhoids last much longer than external hemorrhoids and are more difficult to treat and heal. If external hemorrhoids are large and painful and internal hemorrhoids have severely prolapsed, a surgeon may surgically remove them under local anesthetic.6 It could take up to 6 weeks for these types of hemorrhoids to heal.

Other procedures to treat hemorrhoids include various methods to cut off the blood supply to internal hemorrhoids and shrink them.

The Best Home Remedies for Hemorrhoids

Let’s look at some of the best home remedies for hemorrhoids. These natural hemorrhoid treatments help to reduce inflammation and swelling around the rectal opening. The natural remedies also provide relief from itchiness and pain that piles cause.

Witch hazel

The astringent and anti-inflammatory properties of witch hazel make it a great natural remedy for treating the irritation of hemorrhoids. Witch hazel contains tannins which help to contract skin cells and can reduce bleeding and lessen swelling.

Studies published in the International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences found that witch hazel can be used to treat both external and internal hemorrhoids. Witch hazel is an effective natural method to make hemorrhoids go away faster because it contains an enzyme which helps to repair skin tissue. The researchers said that witch hazel alone will usually be enough to reduce any inflammation and discomfort caused by hemorrhoids.7

Use witch hazel to help hemorrhoids heal quicker and get immediate relief from the itching, swelling, and pain that hemorrhoids cause. All you have to do is soak a cotton ball in witch hazel and apply to your anus after a bowel movement. This should also help to stop any bleeding from your rectum.

Please read this article for more ways about how to use witch hazel as a natural hemorrhoid treatment.

Aloe vera for hemorrhoids

Aloe vera is a soothing skin treatment that can help to reduce swelling, discomfort, and pain in both internal and external hemorrhoids. Pure aloe vera gel has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect and can help to calm an itchy anus.

To cure hemorrhoids, doctors usually recommend using a 1% hydrocortisone cream to alleviate swelling around the anus. However, pure aloe vera gel has been proven to be an even better anti-inflammatory ointment than hydrocortisone cream. A study published in the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology found that 97.5% aloe vera gel was more effective at reducing skin inflammation than 1% hydrocortisone cream.8

To soothe burning and itching around your anus, apply pure aloe vera gel directly to the affected area. After a bowel movement, clean yourself with damp toilet tissue and pat yourself dry. Gently massage a little aloe vera gel to your anal opening. Do this after every time you poop to relieve the itchiness of hemorrhoids and speed up the healing process. You can also massage a little aloe vera to your hemorrhoids 2-3 times a day to relieve any itching that they cause.

Apple cider vinegar

Raw unprocessed apple cider vinegar (ACV) can help reduce the time that hemorrhoids last. Apple cider vinegar helps to get rid of itching around your anus and reduces inflammation.

To use ACV for relief from hemorrhoids, dilute equal parts of raw apple cider vinegar with water. Soak the mixture in a cotton ball and apply to your anal area for quick relief from the discomfort caused by hemorrhoids. Use the apple cider vinegar hemorrhoid remedy every time after you use the bathroom.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is an effective natural remedy for piles because it is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.9 By applying tea tree oil in a carrier oil to your anal region, you can help to reduce the size of swollen veins and alleviate pain and itching.

You should add 2-3 drops of tea tree oil to 1 tbsp. carrier oil such as coconut oil, olive oil, or jojoba oil. Use a cotton ball to gently apply the hemorrhoid topical remedy to the affected area. Apply the tea tree oil treatment 2-3 times a day to help quicken up the healing process.

Cold compress

One of the easiest ways to make hemorrhoids go away quicker is to apply a cold compress. Cold helps any swelling to go down and can also stop itching associated with hemorrhoids.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic also recommend applying an ice pack or cold compress to your anus to reduce swollen veins and get symptomatic relief from hemorrhoid discomfort.5

Use moist wipes or damp toilet paper

To avoid making hemorrhoids worse and delay the healing process, always clean yourself after using the bathroom with moist wipes or damp toilet paper.

Dry toilet paper can irritate swollen veins and cause them to break easier. Damp toilet paper or moist personal hygiene wipes will help to clean the anal area and prevent any irritation to the inflammation around the anal area and is a good way to prevent the symptoms of hemorrhoids.

Read my other related articles:
1. The Best Essential Oils for Hemorrhoids
2. The Best Natural Remedies to Relieve Hemorrhoids
3. Burning Anus: Causes, Effective Treatments and When to See a Doctor

Article Sources

  1. eMedicineHealth. Hemorrhoids.
  2. Harvard Medical School. Hemorrhoids and what to do about them.
  3. Mayo Clinic. Hemorrhoids.
  4. Symptoms & causes of hemorrhoids.
  5. Mayo Clinic. Hemorrhoids. Self-management.
  6. Treatment of hemorrhoids.
  7. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci. 2011; 3(5): 5-12.
  8. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2008;21(2):106-10.
  9. Int J Dermatol. 2013 Jul;52(7):784-90.

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