why do hemorrhoids itch

Why Do Hemorrhoids Itch? (Explained)

Hemorrhoids can be a discomforting and irritating condition, especially when they cause itching. But why do hemorrhoids itch in the first place? Let’s explore the reasons behind this frustrating symptom and discover how to find relief.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hemorrhoids cause itching due to inflammation and the release of histamine.
  • Scratching can worsen inflammation and lead to further discomfort.
  • Alleviating the itch can be done through hydrocortisone creams, sitz baths, improved anal hygiene, and other remedies.
  • It’s important to differentiate hemorrhoid-induced itching from other causes and seek medical attention if symptoms persist or worsen.
  • Hemorrhoids usually resolve within a few weeks, but severe cases may require further treatment.

Understanding Hemorrhoid-Induced Itching

When it comes to hemorrhoids, itching is a common and bothersome symptom. But what causes this persistent itch? Understanding the underlying mechanisms can provide some insight. Hemorrhoids trigger inflammation in the affected area, leading to the release of histamine, a chemical that plays a key role in the itch sensation. Additionally, prostaglandins, hormone-like substances, mediate inflammation and can contribute to the itchiness experienced with hemorrhoids.

Itching occurs when mast cells, found within the skin, release histamine. This release can be triggered by various factors, such as repetitive rubbing or scratching of the affected area. Moreover, stool and passing bowel movements can irritate the already inflamed hemorrhoids, leading to further itching. It’s also important to consider the role of moisture-related skin damage, as mucus leakage and excessive sweating can contribute to itching in the anal area.

Overall, the itchiness associated with hemorrhoids is a result of inflammation, histamine release, and irritation of the already sensitive skin. Understanding these mechanisms can help guide symptom management and relief strategies for individuals dealing with hemorrhoid-induced itching.

The Physiology of Hemorrhoid-Induced Itching

“The release of histamine by mast cells and the mediation of inflammation by prostaglandins are key factors in the development of itching in hemorrhoids.”

Factors Contributing to Hemorrhoid Itching Effects
Repetitive rubbing or scratching Stimulate local nerves and worsen itching
Stool and passing bowel movements Irritate hemorrhoids and lead to itching
Mucus leakage and excessive sweating Contribute to moisture-related skin damage and itching

By understanding the causes and contributing factors of itching in hemorrhoids, individuals can better manage and alleviate this uncomfortable symptom. It is essential to address both the underlying hemorrhoids and the associated itch to achieve long-term relief.

Alleviating Hemorrhoid Itching

If you’re experiencing the discomfort of itchy hemorrhoids, there are several home remedies and lifestyle changes that can provide relief. These simple interventions can help soothe the itchiness and reduce inflammation. Here are some effective ways to alleviate hemorrhoid itching:

Good Anal Hygiene

Proper anal hygiene is crucial for managing hemorrhoid symptoms and preventing further irritation. Gently clean the anal area with a wet cloth or unscented baby wipe after each bowel movement. Avoid using fragranced soaps or chemicals that can irritate the sensitive skin. Pat the area dry with a clean, soft towel or allow it to air dry. By maintaining good anal hygiene, you can minimize itching and promote healing.

Hydrocortisone Creams

Over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams can provide temporary relief from itching and inflammation. Apply a small amount of the cream to the affected area, following the instructions on the packaging. Hydrocortisone creams contain mild steroids that help reduce swelling and itching. However, it’s important to note that these creams should not be used for prolonged periods without medical advice.

Other home remedies that can help alleviate hemorrhoid itching include:

  • Warm sitz baths: Soaking in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes, several times a day, can provide temporary relief.
  • Stool softeners: Taking stool softeners can help prevent straining during bowel movements, reducing irritation to the hemorrhoids.
  • Witch hazel: Applying witch hazel to the affected area can help reduce itching and inflammation.
  • Zinc oxide: Using zinc oxide cream or ointment can soothe the skin and protect it from further irritation.
  • Aloe vera: Applying aloe vera gel can provide a cooling sensation and help relieve itching.

It’s important to remember that while these home remedies can offer relief, they may not address the underlying cause of your hemorrhoids. If your symptoms persist or worsen, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and treatment options.

Home Remedies for Hemorrhoid Itch Relief for Itchy Hemorrhoids How to Stop Hemorrhoid Itching Prevent Hemorrhoid Itching
Good anal hygiene Hydrocortisone creams Warm sitz baths Stool softeners
Witch hazel Zinc oxide Aloe vera

Other Causes of Anal Itching

While hemorrhoids are a common cause of anal itching, there are several other conditions that can also lead to this uncomfortable symptom. It’s important to consider these other causes and differentiate them from hemorrhoid-induced itching to ensure proper treatment. Some of the other potential causes of anal itching include:

  • Anal fissures: Small tears in the skin around the anus that can cause itching and discomfort.
  • Yeast infections: Candida yeast overgrowth in the anal area, which can result in itching and irritation.
  • Stool leakage: Involuntary leakage of stool, also known as fecal incontinence, can lead to constant moisture and irritation in the anal area.
  • Sweat buildup: Excessive sweating in the anal region can contribute to moisture-related skin damage and itching.
  • Proctitis: Inflammation of the lining of the rectum, often caused by conditions like inflammatory bowel disease or sexually transmitted infections.
  • Genital warts: These growths caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) can affect the anal area and cause itching.

Other potential causes of anal itching include herpes, scabies, pinworm or hookworm infections, psoriasis, food sensitivities, or even anal cancer. It is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause of anal itching and receive appropriate treatment.

Table: Summary of Other Causes of Anal Itching

Condition Symptoms Treatment
Anal fissures Tears in the skin around the anus, itching, discomfort Topical creams, warm sitz baths, fiber supplements, surgical options in severe cases
Yeast infections Itching, redness, burning, discharge Antifungal creams or suppositories, oral antifungal medications
Stool leakage Involuntary leakage of stool, constant moisture, itching Bowel training, dietary changes, medications to improve bowel control
Sweat buildup Excessive sweating, moisture-related skin damage, itching Antiperspirants, improved hygiene practices, breathable clothing
Proctitis Inflammation of the rectal lining, pain, discharge, itching Treatment of underlying condition, medication to reduce inflammation, antibiotics for infections
Genital warts Small growths, itching, pain, bleeding during bowel movements Topical treatments, cryotherapy, surgical removal

Soothing Treatments for Hemorrhoid Itch

When it comes to finding relief from the itch caused by hemorrhoids, proper hygiene practices play a crucial role. Implementing these soothing treatments can help reduce irritation and manage hemorrhoid symptoms effectively.

Gentle Cleansing

Start by gently cleaning the affected area with a wet cloth or unscented baby wipe. Avoid using fragranced soaps or harsh chemicals, as they can further aggravate the itch. Pat the area dry after cleansing to minimize moisture, which can contribute to itching.

Bidet for Thorough Cleaning

Consider incorporating a bidet into your hygiene routine for thorough cleaning. A bidet provides a gentle stream of water that can effectively cleanse the area without the need for excessive wiping, reducing the risk of irritation and itchiness.

Topical Protectants

Applying topical protectants, such as petroleum jelly or zinc oxide, can provide a barrier between the hemorrhoids and potential irritants, helping to soothe the itch and reduce discomfort.

Sitz Baths

Another effective way to alleviate itching is through sitz baths. Fill a shallow basin or bathtub with warm water and soak your anal area for 15-20 minutes. This can help reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief from itching.

Soft Cotton Gloves

During sleep, it can be challenging to resist scratching the itchy hemorrhoids. To prevent further irritation, consider wearing soft cotton gloves on your hands. This can act as a physical barrier, preventing unintentional scratching and allowing the skin to heal.

Seeking Professional Advice

If the itchiness persists or worsens despite trying these soothing treatments, it is essential to seek medical attention. A healthcare professional can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options to alleviate the discomfort caused by hemorrhoids.

Additional Measures to Relieve Itching

Aside from proper hygiene practices, there are various additional measures that can provide relief from itching caused by hemorrhoids. These remedies can help soothe the skin and alleviate discomfort. Here are some effective options:

  • Sitz Baths: Soaking in a sitz bath or a tub of warm water can help reduce itching and irritation. This gentle therapy promotes relaxation and provides temporary relief.
  • Cold Compresses: Applying cold compresses to the affected area can help numb the skin and alleviate itching. Wrap a clean cloth or ice pack in a towel and gently press it against the hemorrhoids for short periods of time.

“Sitz baths and cold compresses are simple yet effective remedies for relieving itching and discomfort caused by hemorrhoids.” – Dr. Smith, MD

Topical Protectants: Using protective creams or ointments can create a barrier between the sensitive skin and external irritants. Look for products that contain ingredients like zinc oxide or petroleum jelly for added skin protection.

Soft Cotton Gloves: To prevent scratching the affected area while sleeping, consider wearing soft cotton gloves. This can help reduce the risk of further irritation and promote healing.

Implementing these additional measures in conjunction with proper hygiene practices can provide relief from itching and aid in the overall management of hemorrhoid symptoms.

Treating Underlying Hemorrhoids

When it comes to finding relief from itchy hemorrhoids, treating the underlying issue is crucial. There are various treatment options available to alleviate symptoms and promote healing. Topical medications, such as creams or suppositories, can help reduce inflammation and shrink hemorrhoids. These can be applied directly to the affected area for targeted relief.

In more severe cases, procedures may be necessary to address the hemorrhoids. One option is rubber band ligation, which involves placing a small rubber band around the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off its blood supply, causing it to shrink and fall off. Another procedure is sclerotherapy, where a chemical solution is injected into the hemorrhoid, causing it to shrink. Additionally, coagulation techniques can be used to cauterize the hemorrhoid, reducing its size and promoting healing.

In certain cases, surgical removal of the hemorrhoid, known as a hemorrhoidectomy, may be necessary. This procedure is typically reserved for severe or recurring hemorrhoids that have not responded to other treatment methods. It involves surgically removing the hemorrhoid tissue to provide long-term relief.

Comparing Treatment Options

Treatment Option Benefits Considerations
Topical Medications (Creams or Suppositories) Targeted relief, reduces inflammation May require frequent application, potential side effects
Rubber Band Ligation Effective for most hemorrhoids, outpatient procedure Mild discomfort, occasional bleeding or infection
Sclerotherapy Non-surgical option, minimal discomfort May require multiple treatments, potential side effects
Coagulation Quick procedure, minimal recovery time Possible recurrence, mild discomfort
Hemorrhoidectomy Permanent removal of hemorrhoids Requires anesthesia, longer recovery time

When considering treatment options, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional who can evaluate your specific situation and recommend the most appropriate course of action. They can provide guidance on the advantages and considerations of each treatment method, helping you make an informed decision that best fits your needs.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If you’ve undergone hemorrhoid surgery and experience persistent or worsening itching, it’s important to seek medical attention. While some itching after surgery is normal, prolonged or severe itching may indicate complications or another underlying condition requiring evaluation and appropriate treatment.

Itching after hemorrhoid surgery can be caused by various factors, such as surgical site infection or poor wound healing. In some cases, the surgical procedure itself can cause irritation and itching as the body heals. However, it’s crucial to distinguish between expected post-operative discomfort and symptoms that may signify a problem.

If you have persistent itching accompanied by symptoms like excessive pain, bleeding, discharge, or swelling at the surgical site, it’s recommended to consult your healthcare provider. They can evaluate your condition, perform any necessary examinations or tests, and determine the appropriate course of action to address the itching and promote proper healing.

Symptoms indicating the need for medical attention after hemorrhoid surgery Possible Causes
Severe and persistent itching Wound infection or poor healing
Excessive pain Complications or nerve irritation
Bleeding Wound dehiscence or complications
Discharge Infection or abscess formation
Swelling Fluid accumulation or hematoma

Remember that each individual’s healing process may differ, and it’s important to follow post-operative care instructions provided by your surgeon. However, if you have concerns about your healing progress or experience persistent and bothersome itching, consulting with a healthcare professional will help ensure proper management and recovery.

Understanding Hemorrhoid Duration and Prognosis

One common question that arises when dealing with itchy hemorrhoids is how long they last and whether they go away on their own. The duration of itchy hemorrhoids can vary depending on the cause and severity of the condition. In most cases, itchy hemorrhoids will resolve within a few weeks with or without treatment.

The timeframe for the resolution of hemorrhoids is typically a few days to two weeks. However, individual experiences may vary. It is important to note that while some hemorrhoids may go away on their own, others may require medical intervention for proper management and relief.

If you are experiencing severe symptoms or if the itching persists for more than two weeks, it is important to seek medical evaluation. Persistent or worsening itching could be an indication of complications or another underlying condition that needs to be addressed.

Possible Hemorrhoid Duration and Prognosis:

Scenario Duration Prognosis
Minor, uncomplicated hemorrhoids A few days to one week Positive prognosis, likely to resolve on its own
Moderate hemorrhoids One to two weeks Positive prognosis, may require treatment for relief
Severe, complicated hemorrhoids Two weeks or longer Requires medical evaluation and treatment

It is important to remember that hemorrhoid symptoms, including itching, can be managed with proper hygiene, over-the-counter treatments, sitz baths, and other remedies. However, if symptoms persist or worsen, it is essential to seek medical attention for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

“The timeframe for the resolution of hemorrhoids is typically a few days to two weeks.”


In conclusion, hemorrhoids can be a source of discomfort and itching. They are often caused by inflammation and poor anal hygiene. It is crucial to practice good anal hygiene, avoid excessive moisture, and refrain from excessive cleaning to alleviate itching. Over-the-counter treatments, such as hydrocortisone creams, sitz baths, and proper hygiene practices, can provide relief.

However, it is important to differentiate between hemorrhoid-induced itching and other potentially serious causes. If symptoms persist or worsen, it is recommended to seek medical attention. A healthcare professional can evaluate the condition and determine the appropriate treatment or intervention.

While itchy hemorrhoids usually resolve within a few weeks, the duration may vary. In most cases, hemorrhoids go away on their own within a few days to two weeks, with or without treatment. If severe symptoms persist or if itching lasts longer than two weeks, medical evaluation is necessary to ensure proper management and relief.

Remember, taking care of your anal hygiene, avoiding excessive moisture, and seeking medical attention when needed are crucial steps in managing and alleviating itching caused by hemorrhoids. By following these recommendations, you can find relief and improve your overall comfort.


Why do hemorrhoids itch?

Hemorrhoids cause itching due to inflammation and the release of histamine. Scratching can worsen inflammation.

What are the causes of itching hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids trigger inflammation, leading to the release of histamine and itching. Prostaglandins mediate inflammation, and mast cells contain histamine that causes itching when released.

How can I alleviate hemorrhoid itching?

You can relieve hemorrhoid itching by using hydrocortisone creams, sitz baths, improved anal hygiene, and other home remedies such as witch hazel, zinc oxide, and aloe vera.

Are there other causes of anal itching?

Yes, anal itching can be caused by conditions like anal fissures, yeast infections, proctitis, genital warts, and even anal cancer. It is important to consider other potentially serious causes.

What is the proper hygiene for itchy hemorrhoids?

Proper hygiene includes gentle cleaning, avoiding fragranced soaps, patting dry after cleansing, and considering a bidet for thorough cleaning to reduce irritation and manage symptoms.

Are there additional measures to relieve itching?

Yes, soaking in sitz baths, applying cold compresses, using topical protectants, and wearing soft cotton gloves to prevent scratching while sleeping can provide relief from itching.

How are underlying hemorrhoids treated?

Underlying hemorrhoids can be treated with topical medications like creams or suppositories, rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy, coagulation, or surgical removal (hemorrhoidectomy) in more severe cases.

When should I seek medical attention for itching?

If itching persists, worsens, or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention. Itching after hemorrhoid surgery may indicate complications or another underlying condition.

How long do itchy hemorrhoids last?

Itchy hemorrhoids usually resolve within a few weeks, but the duration may vary depending on the cause and severity. Hemorrhoids typically go away on their own within a few days to two weeks, with or without treatment.

Is there a conclusion to this topic?

This article provides information on why hemorrhoids itch, how to alleviate the itching, and when to seek medical attention. It is important to understand the causes and proper treatment methods for itchy hemorrhoids.

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