External hemorrhoids are hemorrhoids that affect veins outside the anus. These hemorrhoids can cause bleeding, cracking, and itching. Home remedies can treat most external hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoids are often caused by straining while having a bowel movement. People may push too hard, sit on the toilet for too long, or have a stool that is hard and difficult to pass.

If an external hemorrhoid does not go away in 1 to 2 weeks, a doctor may prescribe stool softeners to make passing the stool easier. However, if a person is in severe pain, a doctor may recommend surgical removal of the hemorrhoid.

man with his hand on his bottom
Constipation can cause external hemorrhoids that may become painful.

In addition to straining, other causes and risk factors for hemorrhoids include:

External hemorrhoids are different from other hemorrhoid types, mostly due to their location.

Internal hemorrhoids, for example, are inside the rectum. Usually, they are painless but may bleed.

Prolapsed hemorrhoids are internal hemorrhoids that sometimes bulge outside of the anus. It is possible to push these hemorrhoids back inside, but they may go back in without intervention.

External hemorrhoids protrude out of the anus. They tend to cause more pain than internal hemorrhoids because the outside of the anus is more sensitive than the inside.

People may have multiple hemorrhoid types at the same time.

Eating more dietary fiber can help prevent constipation and hemorrhoids.

The main way to prevent external hemorrhoids from developing involves avoiding constipation and the development of hard, dry, stools that are difficult to pass.

Tips to prevent external hemorrhoids include:

  • Increasing the amount of dietary fiber in the diet, including eating fresh fruits, vegetables, whole-grain bread, and cereals.
  • Drinking plenty of water each day, so that every time a person urinates the urine is pale yellow.
  • Engaging in regular physical activity, which promotes natural movement of the bowels.
  • Using the bathroom when needed and not delaying for an unnecessary amount of time.
  • Reducing the amount of time spent sitting on the toilet.

People who have recurring problems with constipation and hemorrhoids should talk to their doctor about treatment options.