Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in and around the anus and rectum. Many people are not aware that they have hemorrhoids until they bleed, become uncomfortable, or start causing pain.

According to the , around 5% of people with hemorrhoids experience symptoms, such as pain, discomfort, and bleeding.

A small number of these people may require surgical treatment. However, people can usually treat hemorrhoids at home.

In this article, we cover the symptoms of bleeding hemorrhoids. We also provide information on home remedies, medical treatments, and when to see a doctor.

a woman about to wipe her bum who might have Bleeding hemorrhoids
Bleeding hemorrhoids may form a lump around the anus that a person can feel while wiping.

Bleeding hemorrhoids usually occur after a bowel movement.

A person may see traces or streaks of blood on the tissue after wiping. Sometimes, small amounts of blood may be visible in the toilet bowl, or in the stool itself.

The blood from bleeding hemorrhoids is usually bright red. People should notify a doctor if the blood they see is darker, as this can indicate a problem higher up in the gastrointestinal tract.

Other hemorrhoid symptoms include:

  • feeling a lump or bulge around the anus while wiping
  • feeling that stool is stuck inside the anus during or after a bowel movement
  • difficulty cleaning up after a bowel movement
  • itching around the anus
  • irritation around the anus
  • mucus-like discharge from the anus
  • a feeling of pressure around the anus

Sometimes, a blood clot can develop within the hemorrhoid. This is called a thrombosed hemorrhoid.

As a thrombosed hemorrhoid swells, pressure from surrounding tissues can cause it to rupture and bleed.

The blood from a thrombosed hemorrhoid tends to be dark and clotted. They are often very painful, and they usually require treatment.

Senior man in bath washing himself whilst smiling
A warm bath can help relieve hemorrhoid pain and irritation.

Not all bleeding hemorrhoids require medical treatment.

If a person loses only a small amount of blood and their symptoms are mild, they may be able to treat the hemorrhoids at home.

Some home remedies include:

  • Taking tub or sitz baths: A sitz bath is a small plastic tub that fits over the toilet seat. A person fills the bath with warm water and sits in it for about 10 minutes, two to three times per day. This can help relieve hemorrhoid pain and irritation.
  • Applying ice: Applying cloth covered ice packs to swollen areas for 10 minutes at a time can help reduce hemorrhoid pain and inflammation.
  • Not delaying bowel movements: A person should try not to delay having a bowel movement when they have the urge to go. Waiting can make stool harder to pass and is more likely to irritate hemorrhoids.
  • Applying over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams: These creams usually contain steroids that reduce hemorrhoid inflammation.
  • Increasing fiber and water intake: This softens stool, making it easier to pass. Less straining during bowel movements gives hemorrhoids a chance to heal.

Medical treatments for bleeding hemorrhoids depend on symptom severity and whether the hemorrhoid is internal or external.

Internal hemorrhoids form inside the rectum. External hemorrhoids form beneath the skin around the anus.

Treatment options for internal hemorrhoids include:

Treatment options for external hemorrhoids include:

  • In-office removal: Sometimes, a doctor can remove a hemorrhoid in their office. This involves numbing the area with a local anesthetic, then cutting the hemorrhoid away.
  • Hemorrhoidectomy: This surgical approach to hemorrhoid removal is usually for severe, large, or recurrent hemorrhoids. It is more invasive than in-office removal. Some surgeries may require general anesthesia.

Learn more about hemorrhoid surgeries here.

People can ask their healthcare provider about the various treatment options available to them.