Blog Post

How to Care for a Bleeding Hemorrhoid

Hemorrhoids are an uncomfortable condition that causes some people severe discomfort and others no symptoms at all. One of the scariest symptoms of hemorrhoids is blood in your stool or on the toilet paper when you wipe.

Noticing blood after a bowel movement may seem scary, but it's often not a big concern if you have hemorrhoids. However, knowing how to treat a bleeding hemorrhoid is crucial to preventing further problems.

At Gateway Gastroenterology, our team specializes in treating issues related to the gastrointestinal tract. Our six board-certified hepatologists and gastroenterologists carefully evaluate your hemorrhoids to determine the best treatment for your needs.

What are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are engorged veins inside the anus and outside of the rectum. Internal hemorrhoids form inside your body, specifically in the rectum, while external hemorrhoids happen under the skin around the anus.

In most cases, hemorrhoids aren't severe and only cause minimal bleeding unless they become thrombosed. These hemorrhoids have a blood clot inside of them, which can cause severe pain and swelling around the anus.

Thrombosed hemorrhoids can be severe if they ulcerate and bleed significantly, causing the tissue to die around them. These hemorrhoids are an emergency and require immediate care.

Some people don't have any symptoms related to hemorrhoids. In contrast, others have pain and discomfort when pushing out a bowel movement. Bleeding is another symptom of hemorrhoids, especially after wiping.

Causes of bleeding hemorrhoids

Bleeding hemorrhoids are common, especially if you're prone to hard stools or if you have multiple hemorrhoids. Other prevalent causes of bleeding hemorrhoids include the following:

  • Straining during a bowel movement
  • After lifting something heavy
  • During pregnancy
  • After sitting for a long time
  • When you have diarrhea or constipation

Hemorrhoids also bleed when something blocks the blood supply, causing the tissue to ulcerate and bleed — these are thrombosed hemorrhoids.

Bleeding from hemorrhoids is usually bright red and appears in dots or streaks on toilet paper. However, if the blood is darker red, it could indicate a problem higher in the GI tract, and you should seek immediate treatment.

How do I treat bleeding hemorrhoids?

Don't immediately be alarmed if you see blood in the toilet or after you wipe. Your hemorrhoid is likely irritated, causing it to bleed. In some cases, you can treat these hemorrhoids on your own with home treatments like:

  • Drinking more water
  • Increasing your fiber intake
  • Using ice to ease inflammation
  • Soaking in a warm sitz bath
  • Using over-the-counter creams
  • Using witch hazel pads for inflammation
  • Getting plenty of exercise to help with bowel movements

Although these home care measures can help with the discomfort of bleeding hemorrhoids, they can't fix the problem. If you continue to have pain or discomfort and bleeding from your hemorrhoids, it's crucial to seek help.

You should make an appointment with our team if your hemorrhoids don't get better within a week or you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain around the anus
  • More than a few drops of blood in the toilet
  • Constant bleeding from the hemorrhoid
  • A discolored lump in or around the anus

Our team carefully evaluates the hemorrhoid to determine the best treatment. Nonsurgical treatments include placing a band around the hemorrhoid to cut off the blood supply or sclerotherapy to shrink the hemorrhoid with chemicals.

If your pain or bleeding persists despite conservative treatments or nonsurgical procedures, we may recommend a hemorrhoidectomy to fix the problem permanently.

Call for an appointment with one of our office in Chesterfield, Missouri, at 314-529-4900, or request a consultation with one of our specialists using our online booking tool.