Hemorrhoids are a cluster of swollen veins around the anus or the lower rectum. Hemorrhoids that appear around the anus (externally) may cause pain, itching, and discomfort upon sitting. They can also produce bright red blood in the stool or on toilet paper. Common causes include chronic constipation and increased straining during a bowel movement. A visual diagnosis is typically sufficient, but a doctor may perform a rectal or scope examination.
Mild pain or discomfort may be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) creams, ointments, pads, or suppositories such as Preparation H or Tucks. These products may contain ingredients such as witch hazel (for pain), hydrocortisone (for itching) or phenylephrine (for inflammation). These
OTC therapies should not be used for more than one week due to side effects such as skin rash, inflammation and skin thinning.