What to Do About an Infected Hemorrhoid

Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen, inflamed veins in the rectum or anus. Depending on their location, hemorrhoids can cause substantial discomfort.

While it is rare, hemorrhoids can become infected, which requires proper treatment to resolve the infection.

Read on to learn more about infected hemorrhoids, including the signs and symptoms and treatment options.

Person waiting for their healthcare provider.
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Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of an infected hemorrhoid include:

  • Itchiness
  • Swelling
  • Pain during bowel movements
  • Anal redness
  • Fever
  • Small amounts of bright red blood in toilet or on the toilet paper

Causes

Certain lifestyle risk factors can increase your risk of developing hemorrhoids including inadequate hydration, consuming a low fiber diet, or not getting enough exercise. Hemorrhoids can become infected for a number of reasons. Some of these might include:

  • Hemorrhoid type: Hemorrhoids can either be external (anus) or internal (rectum). Internal hemorrhoids rarely become infected. That said, a prolapsed internal hemorrhoid is most likely to become infected.
  • Lack of blood flow: When blood flow is cut off from the vein, it can quickly and easily cause an infection.
  • Removal methods: Hemorrhoidectomy is one way to remove hemorrhoids, which can increase the risk of hemorrhoids becoming infected.

What to Do

If you're experiencing symptoms of hemorrhoids, infected or otherwise, see your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis. This usually involves a simple physical examination and medical history.

If a hemorrhoid is, in fact, infected, your healthcare provider will have you start treatment.

Treatment

Infected hemorrhoids can be treated in a number of different ways:

  • Antibiotics: A course of antibiotics will usually be prescribed to treat an infected hemorrhoid.
  • Surgery: For severe cases, a surgical procedure may be necessary to remove the infected hemorrhoid.

In addition to medical interventions, a number of home remedies may be helpful during your treatment for an infected hemorrhoid including:

  • Applying ice packs or cold compresses
  • Taking pain relievers
  • Incorporating more fiber into your diet

Always talk to your healthcare provider before trying any home remedies to avoid potentially worsening or spreading the infection.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

If you're experiencing any signs of infection, contact your healthcare provider so you can confirm that an infected hemorrhoid is what is causing your symptoms, and you can begin treatment to reduce the risk of complications.

If you're having extensive rectal bleeding, this is abnormal and may signal that something more serious may be occurring.

Extreme rectal bleeding accompanied by feelings of faintness calls for immediate medical attention.

Summary

Hemorrhoids are inflamed veins in the rectum or anus. Although it's rare, hemorrhoids can become infected. Symptoms of hemorrhoids include itchiness, pain during bowel movements, and more. In some cases, treatment for infected hemorrhoids includes antibiotics or surgery. Some at-home remedies include applying cold compresses, taking pain relievers, or adding more fiber to your diet.

A Word From Verywell

Hemorrhoids can be a chronic, painful, and troublesome condition but they rarely cause complications or become infected. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are experiencing symptoms of hemorrhoids. They can provide you with proper direction for how to cope with your particular situation and help you find relief.

While hemorrhoids may feel embarrassing to deal with, there is no reason to be. It is important to be honest with your healthcare provider because hemorrhoids mimic symptoms of more serious conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What do hemorrhoids look like?

    Hemorrhoids look like rubbery lumps on the anus or rectum.

  • How long do hemorrhoids last?

    Hemorrhoids usually last around seven to 10 days before they begin to improve. If you're experiencing worsening pain, contact your healthcare provider.

  • How much bleeding is normal when you have a hemorrhoid?

    A small amount of bleeding is characteristic for hemorrhoids. The blood will present as bright red. A profuse amount of bleeding is not normal.

  • What does a hemorrhoid feel like?

    Hemorrhoids are often painful, itchy, and tender. There may be slight bleeding while going to the bathroom.

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