Hemorrhoids, or “piles,” are swollen veins of the rectum or anus. Hemorrhoids may be located just inside the anal canal (internal hemorrhoid) or surrounding the anal opening (external hemorrhoids). Hemorrhoids may be present for years but go undetected until bleeding occurs. Other possible symptoms include itching, discomfort and sensitive swelling or a lump around the anus.

Anal fissures are tears of the sensitive mucosal lining of the anus. They often cause pain during and after a bowel movement, sometimes followed by throbbing pain for several hours. They are also often associated with itching and bleeding.

Self-Care & Lifestyle Tips

Drink plenty of fluids to help keep stools soft. Six to eight glasses of water and other liquids (not alcohol) each day is recommended.

Eat high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains to help keep stools soft and regular. If you use fiber supplements, be sure to drink at least eight glasses of water or other fluids (not alcohol) every day. Otherwise, the supplements can cause constipation or make constipation worse.Add fiber to your diet gradually to avoid problems with gas.

Don't strain during bowel movements. Straining and holding your breath when trying to pass a stool creates greater pressure in the veins in the lower rectum.

Go as soon as you feel the urge, otherwise your stool could become dry and be harder to pass.

Exercise and stay active to help prevent constipation and to reduce pressure on veins, which can occur with long periods of standing or sitting.

Avoid long periods of sitting, particularly on the toilet. Prolonged sitting can increase the pressure on the veins in the anus.

Soak in a warm bath or sitz bath for 10-20 minutes, several times a day, to relieve pain.

Keep the anal area clean by bathing (preferably) or showering daily with warm water to gently cleanse the skin around your anus. Avoid alcohol-based or perfumed wipes. Gently pat the area dry or use a hair dryer.

Don't use dry toilet paper as it can increase the irritation. Instead, use cotton pads, moist towelettes or wet toilet paper that doesn't contain perfume or alcohol.

Apply ice packs or cold compresses on your anus to relieve swelling.

Take oral pain relievers such as acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen, temporarily to help relieve your discomfort.

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