How to soothe hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids won't go away, but some simple measures can help to prevent and ease flare-ups.


Image: © Wavebreakmedia/Thinkstock

By some estimates, about half of people over age 50 have hemorrhoids — swollen blood vessels on the outer rectum and anus. Women are more likely than men to develop hemorrhoids, probably because hemorrhoids commonly occur during pregnancy. However, they are less likely to seek medical treatment for them.

Not all hemorrhoids cause problems. One study of people undergoing colonoscopy found that more than half of people whose tests revealed hemorrhoids were unaware that they had them. However, when hemorrhoids become inflamed, they can make bowel movements — and even sitting — quite painful.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »