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Haemorrhoids treatments

Haemorrhoids often go away after a few days without any special treatment. In most cases your doctor will recommend measures to relieve constipation, if it’s present. This can involve:

  • eating more fibre
  • drinking plenty of water every day
  • taking a mild laxative to soften your bowel movements
  • avoiding medicines (such as codeine) that can cause constipation.

Check your symptoms with healthdirect’s Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

Medicines

Sometimes medicines are required to help ease haemorrhoid symptoms. Symptoms of pain and inflammation can often be relieved using over-the-counter haemorrhoid treatments from the chemist, including medicated creams, ointments and suppositories (solid medicines designed to be inserted into the back passage).

If inflammation is severe, your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid cream.

For more information about haemorrhoid medications visit the NPS Medicinewise website.

Surgery

In some cases, minor surgery may be needed. Common procedures include:

  • injection (sclerotherapy), where a chemical is injected into the haemorrhoid which numbs the pain, stops any bleeding and causes the haemorrhoid to decrease in size over a period of about four to six weeks
  • rubber band ligation, where a very tight elastic band is placed around the haemorrhoid to cut off the blood supply. This causes the haemorrhoid to fall off and be passed out of the body within seven to ten days.

Less often, a surgical haemorrhoidectomy may be needed. Here, an operation is carried out under general anaesthetic to gently open the anus and remove the haemorrhoid, or to attach the haemorrhoid to the wall of the anal canal so it shrinks over time.

For more information about surgery for haemorrhoids visit the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand website.

Sources: Australian Family Physician (Publication - Daniel WJ., Anorectal pain, bleeding and lumps), Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand (Haemorrhoids. Modern management), NHS Choices (UK) (Piles (haemorrhoids), Piles (haemorrhoids) - Treatment)

Last reviewed: July 2015

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