How to Stop Hemorrhoid Itching and Burning - Best Hemorrhoid Itch Treatment Tips
Posted on 12 December 2017
Do you want to know how to stop hemorrhoid itching and burning? Check out this post for the best hemorrhoid itch treatment tips.
Hemorrhoids can be painful and embarrassing, but perhaps the most bothersome problem associated with your swollen blood vessels in and around the anus is the itching that often accompanies the condition.
Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels, also known as varicose veins, which are caused when those vessels become weakened and damaged.
They are more likely to occur in and around the anus because the gravity involved getting blood from the anus back to the heart puts so much pressure on the area.
These veins are very similar to the varicose veins that commonly form on the lower legs.
Internal hemorrhoids are usually painless, but external hemorrhoids are the culprits that can cause the dreaded itching. (1)
Why Do Hemorrhoids Itch and Burn?
Hemorrhoids itch because when weakened blood vessels swell.
The skin surrounding the blood vessel swells as well, causing the skin to become irritated. This leads to inflammation, the primary cause of hemorrhoidal itching. (2)
Skin can also become either overly moist, which can lead to friction, or overly dry, which can make the area more likely to collect small bits of fecal matter.
This causes a condition known as pruritus ani, which is better known as anal itching. (3)
Pressure from sitting, wiping in an attempt to ease the itching, or friction from clothing makes anal itching much worse.
A diet high in spicy foods may also dramatically increase the itch factor.
This is because it can interfere with normal bowel movements, amplifying the irritation around the anus.
Clinical studies have shown that this theory may be a myth. (4)
Pregnancy and hemorrhoids go hand in hand. It is believed that the increased pressure from the extra weight leads to hemorrhoids when pregnant.
Hemorrhoid Itching 101
Hemorrhoid itching is one of the most dreaded symptoms that many patients are forced to handle. The discomfort of itching is enough to drive anyone crazy. And we all know having an itch you can't scratch is enough to put you over the edge.
Unfortunately, this symptom is common and comes with the territory of having hemorrhoids. So, how can you get hemorrhoid itch relief?
And, what are the best ways to treat this annoying problem?
Hemorrhoid Itch Treatment
Since itching can be such a bothersome symptom, most patients are looking to relieve it. Fast!
To start, it is important to keep the anus clean and dry. Be sure you don't leave behind any soap or stool. When cleaning the anal area, avoid rubbing. Warm showers may be helpful. After bowel movements, cleaning the anus is particularly important. Not following proper bowel habits is one of the leading causes of itch and irritation. Moist pads are often better to use than toilet paper. There are even medicated pads available over-the-counter to help reduce hemorrhoid symptoms.
There are also many over-the-counter products used to treat itching associated with hemorrhoids. They come in the following forms:
These products contain drugs that work to treat the symptoms of hemorrhoids. Ointments, creams, and gels can be applied directly to the anal area to treat itching.
They may also be inserted into the immediate opening of the anus. Suppositories are often use for immediate relief for symptoms that move into the anal canal.
Most products to treat hemorrhoids contain more than one type of active ingredient.
To treat itching, look for products that contain the following active ingredients:
- Local anesthetics that help relieve itching by numbing the nerve endings.
- Vasoconstrictors that reduce the size of the blood vessels and reduce swelling. Their mild anesthetic properties help to reduce itching as well.
- Skin protectants prevent irritation. The barrier they create helps to reduce itching.
- Astringents cause coagulation of proteins in the cells. This prevents skin dryness and relieves itching.
- Analgesics relieve itching by depressing receptors on pain nerves.
- Corticosteroids reduce inflammation and relieve itching. They must be used in weak forms because they can cause permanent damage to the skin.
If itching persists, your doctor may decide to use a more aggressive form of treatment to eliminate the hemorrhoids causing the itching.
At Home Hemorrhoid Itch Relief
For immediate hemorrhoid itch relief, many patients choose to use at-home remedies that help soothe the anal area. Most of these include self-care. These include:
- Keep the area clean, cool, and dry. Avoid irritants. After bowel movements, make sure you effectively clean your anal area. Do not scrub the area. Using a water bottle with warm water can help. After cleaning pat the area dry with a towel or toilet paper.
- Don't scratch. It might be very difficult to ignore the itch, but it is important that you don't scratch. Scratching will further irritate your skin and increase inflammation.
- Wear cotton, loose fitting underwear. This will keep the area dry. Tightfitting undergarments can trap moisture that leads to further irritation.
- Avoid irritants. Bubble baths, genital deodorants, and soaps with perfume can lead to further irritation.
- Warm sitz baths. Sitz baths can help soothe irritation and reduce inflammation that adds to itching. If you don't have a sitz bath, sit in a few inches of warm water for fifteen minutes. This can be done a few times a day.
- Cold compresses. Cold compresses or ice pack can be applied to the anal area for fifteen minutes a few times a day. This helps reduce inflammation and numb the area.
External hemorrhoids are more likely to become irritated simply because they start outside the anus.
Since they are outside the anus, the are more likely to rub on clothes and rough surfaces.
The swelling associated with external hemorrhoids damages skin, increasing the risk for infection, which elevates both inflammation and itching.
External thrombosed hemorrhoids occur when a clot of blood forms. They can be excruciatingly painful and possibly require surgery.
You likely won't realize you have internal hemorrhoids until spots of turn up, either on toilet paper or in the toilet bowel itself.
This post will show you how to get rid of internal hemorrhoids.
External Hemorrhoid Itch Relief
External hemorrhoids are the most symptomatic hemorrhoids. Itching is a common symptom.
To relieve external hemorrhoid itch, the following treatments have been effective.
- Sitz baths
- Cold compresses
- Medicated pads for wiping after bowel movements
- Itch relieving gels or creams. There are many options available for over-the-counter medicated gels or lotion. Preparation H is a commonly used brand. The active ingredients found in this treatment option works to reduce inflammation, soothe itching, and help reduce hemorrhoids.
- Proper bowel habits
- Improvements in self-care and health
Internal Hemorrhoid Itch Relief
Internal hemorrhoids are not often symptomatic. They are in an area of the anus that lacks sensing nerves. Internal hemorrhoids fall into one of four grades based on their severity.
In some cases, internal hemorrhoids become prolapsed.
This means they protrude out of the anus. Because it may be difficult to properly clean yourself after a bowel movement, prolapsed hemorrhoids can become irritated and lead to symptoms such as itching.
The most effective form of treatment for internal hemorrhoid itch relief is over-the-counter suppositories.
A suppository is a capsule-shaped medication that is inserted into the anus. These are primarily used to treat internal hemorrhoids because they are inserting into the anus.
They provide a barrier between the hemorrhoid and stool. Once inserted into the anus, the suppository begins to melt and disperse the medicated ingredients. The rectal muscles hold the suppository in place, pushing the medication further into the anal cavity.
When internal hemorrhoids become prolapsed, they can also be treated by the many of the same treatments for external hemorrhoids:
- Medicated wipes
- Proper hygiene
- Sitz baths
- Cold compresses
Why Do Hemorrhoids Itch More at Night?
Hemorrhoids itch worse at night more so than during the day. During the day there a wide range of things to distract from the itching.
At night, the itching is in full focus, making it difficult to not only fall asleep, but to focus on anything else but the itching.
Plus, the increased itching at night can possibly be related to irritation from bleeding. (5)
Our bleeding hemorrhoids guide can help you get relief from bleeding hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids also itch more at night because of the levels of irritation the area withstands throughout the day, including walking, sitting and other activities.h2Do Hemorrhoids Itch When They Heal?
Itching can be a sign of the reparative process, and like any other wound, hemorrhoids may also itch as they heal.
Itching can also show signs of infection, so it is wise to keep a close eye on your hemorrhoids as they heal. (6)
Hemorrhoids, however, are more prone to itching during the healing process than other wounds for a variety of reasons, including the bacteria levels in the area.
When cells are exposed to bacteria during the healing process, they release histamine, a substance that is a vital part of the inflammatory response. (7)
Histamine is important because it encourages the production of new skin cells including collagen, which is the primary component of blood vessel walls, but histamine also produces an allergic reaction of sorts that can lead to itching.
Collagen production stimulates nerves enough to create an itching sensation, enhancing the itchiness.
Also, because hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels, as they heal and the blood vessel grows smaller, they can leave behind a skin tag of stretched skin.
That skin tag can continue to cause itching, especially if it protrudes in such a way that it can lead to pruritus ani or an infection that slows the healing process.h2How Do I Stop Hemorrhoids from Itching?
Now that you understand why hemorrhoids itch, the next question is likely how to stop it from happening.
While some itching is inevitable - and should be welcomed, because it means that your hemorrhoids are healing - for the most part, itching is the worst symptom associated with hemorrhoids.
There are rarely occasions when it is acceptable to attempt to scratch the itch, so stopping it is a big priority.
Cleansing gently after each trip to the restroom can help relieve itching, at least temporarily. OTC hemorrhoid medicines like hemorrhoid wipes can make a big difference in the severity of symptoms you feel.
Our best hemorrhoid wipes post will help you choose the best wipe possible.
A layer of moisture that will protect the skin and won't immediately penetrate the surface such as petroleum jelly can also stop itching.
Because skin itches as it heals, the itching that accompanies hemorrhoid surgery may make it feel as though your hemorrhoids have not been removed.
Hemorrhoid surgery can be a cause of infection in the anal region. Make sure you check for signs of infection post-surgery. (8)
Experts, like those at Augusta University, often recommend a sitz bath up to three times a day. The sitz bath will help deal with the itching following surgery, without irritating the surgical site so it can continue to heal. (9)h2How to Relieve Severe Hemorrhoid Itch - Hemorrhoid Itch Treatment Options
To ease severe symptoms, using a topical product with active ingredients such as witch hazel, hydrocortisone and aloe can help effectively stop the itch of hemorrhoids, at least in the short term. (10)
Our hemorrhoid treatment guide can help you pick the right treatment method for your hemorrhoids.
The itching of hemorrhoids can also be controlled by the use of hemorrhoid supplements that heal hemorrhoids from the inside out, because such supplements contain ingredients that promote healing.
How Long Does Hemorrhoid Itching Last? Will Hemorrhoid itching Go Away?
While it can seem as though hemorrhoid itching lasts for eternity, when treated, most itching will be gone within a week or two. Left untreated, hemorrhoids can also heal on their own.
Dietary changes - more fiber to help ensure that bowel movements don't continue to irritate swollen blood vessels - can speed the process. (11)h2Can Hemorrhoids Itch Like Worms? Is It Hemorrhoids or Pinworms?
Hemorrhoids and pinworms can have similar symptoms regarding itching, and the pulsing of the blood vessels associated with internal hemorrhoids can also have the same sensation as pinworms.
Pinworms are caused by females laying their eggs, and can lead to intense itching, restlessness, and sleeplessness. (12)
If you aren't sure which condition you have, seek the advice of a medical professional so you know for sure.
Do Hemorrhoids Itch After a Bowel Movements?
Because bowel movements and the wiping that accompanies it can irritate external hemorrhoids, having a bowel movement can also trigger itching.
We recommend cleansing after each bowel movement. Using a medicated wipe infused with aloe or witch hazel will help cool and soothe, and can ease the problem. (13)
Do All Hemorrhoids Itch?
While all hemorrhoids have the potential to develop symptoms of itching, all hemorrhoids do not necessarily always itch.
Internal hemorrhoids may itch when they become prolapsed or if mucus caused by internal hemorrhoids leaks from the rectum.
External hemorrhoids can cause itching because of the inflammation or if there are skin tags left behind.
Some patients are lucky enough to not experience the symptoms of itching with their hemorrhoids, but any type of hemorrhoid may come with this uncomfortable side effect.