How Long Do Hemorrhoids Last? Warning Signs & Treatments

Hemorrhoids are a painful condition that affects millions of adult Americans every year. Some estimates suggest that half of all Americans over 50 will experience hemorrhoids.1 Despite how common this affliction is, hemorrhoids are rarely discussed, even among loved ones and behind closed doors. It’s an uncomfortable and often embarrassing topic that usually leaves those afflicted to suffer alone. 

As a board-certified proctologist, Dr. Robert Cutler knows how difficult it is to discuss hemorrhoids and just how much pain and frustration they can cause sufferers. Patients often come to Dr. Cutler looking for relief and wonder: how long do hemorrhoids last?

It is with this in mind that we’ve created this guide. We’ve put together this resource in the hopes of bringing you the relief you’re seeking. We’re here to inform you so you know which steps to take next in healing your hemorrhoids.

So, are hemorrhoids permanent? Can hemorrhoids go away? Let’s jump in and find out.

Who are we? We’re Doctor Butler’s, experts in down-there care of hemorrhoids and related conditions. We make proctologist-developed hemorrhoid ointments and complementary products to help you quickly leave the pain behind. Dr. Robert Cutler medically reviews all of the information here.

This post was originally published on February 21, 2022 and was updated to include information on Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

How Do You Know You Have Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are actually a normal part of our anatomy but for the sake of discussion, when using the term Hemorrhoid, we will be referring to symptomatic hemorrhoids. These are enlarged blood vessels in the rectum and anus that can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. They are often caused by the pressure built-up as the result of irregular BM’s, both constipation and/or diarrhea.2 The most common symptoms associated with external hemorrhoids and internal hemorrhoids are

  • Pain
  • Itchiness
  • Burning sensations
  • Swelling
  • Bumps and lumps 
  • Protrusions
  • Bleeding after a bowel movement3

Though hemorrhoids are very common and relief is possible, sometimes they are an indication of or can cause more severe issues, especially if left untreated. For example, they have been known to lead to anal fissures, which are small tears in the softer tissue inside your anus. Fissures can cause bleeding during bowel movements as well as pain. An example of a serious complication is that hemorrhoids causing chronic or large amounts of sudden bleeding can actually cause anemia.

The good news is that most cases of external and internal hemorrhoids are treatable and relief is possible. However, hemorrhoids can come back after being treated – if the underlying cause isn’t addressed.

If you think you have hemorrhoids, it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor about treatment and rule out any severe causes or effects. 

How Long Do Hemorrhoids Last?

Now that we know how to recognize the symptoms of external and internal hemorrhoids, you may be wondering: how long do hemorrhoids last? Do hemorrhoids go away?

It’s different for each person. Some hemorrhoids last a few days to weeks, while others could go on for months and potentially years, in the worst cases. If you’re experiencing hemorrhoids as a side effect of pregnancy, you may find they don’t disappear until after birth.

Hemorrhoids will worsen without treatment and can become more challenging to treat the longer you delay it. If your hemorrhoid won’t go away, it’s time to see your doctor and explore medical options.

How Long Do External Hemorrhoids Last?

Similar to internal hemorrhoids, external hemorrhoids can last from one week to several months. You are more likely to experience recurrence of hemorrhoids if they persist for a long time. Treatment is the key to relief, and most cases of hemorrhoids are calmed by affordable over-the-counter ointments and creams. 

How Long Does it Take for a Hemorrhoid to Shrink?

Hemorrhoids can take between 1 to 2 weeks to shrink fully, but ultimately it depends on the severity. More severe cases can take longer to shrink and may actually lead to hemorrhoid skin tags which can be permanent.

However, hemorrhoid cream and ointment can make the pain and discomfort more tolerable and reduce any itching and burning, and other symptoms. Sitz baths, soothing wipes, and other treatments can also bring relief while you wait for a hemorrhoid to shrink.4 

How Long Does it Take for Hemorrhoids to Go Away?

Hemorrhoids can go away on their own, but treatment will speed up the healing process. There are several at-home treatments that can accelerate healing. Medicated creams and sprays can deliver instant relief, and complementary products like soothing wipes can be used in place of toilet paper while inflamed hemorrhoid shrinks. 

Unless medicated, however, wipes are not a substitute for ointments or sprays. Sitz baths can clean the affected area, and specialized cushions can make sitting less painful. However, if your hemorrhoids persist, your doctor will advise you if they are severe enough to require medical treatment.

Do Hemorrhoids Go Away on Their Own?

It is possible for hemorrhoids to go away on their own, but they may last longer and continue to cause discomfort without treatment. It’s easy to treat hemorrhoids at home to address the symptoms while you heal. But if you’re not seeing improvement in a week or two, it’s time to see your doctor for medical treatment. You’ll also want to seek the medical advice of your doctor as soon as possible if you have recurring hemorrhoid symptoms. 

How Do You Cure Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are, most often, caused by pressure built-up by difficult bowel movements. Both constipation and diarrhea can exacerbate the condition. As such, increasing fiber in your diet can help reduce and even eliminate your hemorrhoid symptoms and make sure they don’t come back.56 

Hydration and daily exercise can help stave off constipation and its painful effects. If you have made these changes and still suffer from hemorrhoids and their symptoms, it is advisable to see your doctor as there may be another underlying cause and medical treatment may be required.

When Should You See a Doctor About Hemorrhoids?

Most cases of hemorrhoids will resolve with at-home treatments, but there are instances when you should see your doctor about your medical condition. If you’ve noticed blood in your stool or you are bleeding, your doctor should take a look. If your hemorrhoid symptoms persist after being treated at home for a week or if they are a source of unrelenting pain and/or bleeding, you should seek the advice of your doctor just to rule out a more severe condition.

Tips for Hemorrhoid Relief and Treatment

The pain and discomfort of hemorrhoid symptoms can be challenging to endure, even in milder cases. However, relief is possible as many at-home remedies are affordable and easy to use. Here are some popular methods of healing hemorrhoids:

  • Sitz baths – These are small plastic tubs that fit over your toilet seat. You can fill it with warm water and submerge the affected area to soothe and cleanse your hemorrhoids, kick-starting the healing process.
  • Moist wipes – Use wet wipes with calming herbal ingredients to soothe and replace rough toilet paper. These won’t treat the hemorrhoids but may make cleanup from bowel movements more comfortable.
  • Sprays – pain-relieving witch hazel hemorrhoid spray can reduce swelling and discomfort.
  • Aloe – Known for its intense soothing properties, aloe does wonders by soothing hemorrhoids.

The fastest route to relief, though, are ointment or creams which contain pain relievers, anti-inflammatory, and anti-itch ingredients. These products for hemorrhoids are affordable, easy to use at home, and may have you on the mend in no time. 

Hemorrhoid Prevention 

Some demographics have an increased risk of experiencing hemorrhoids. They include people over 50, people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), expectant mothers, and those with a high-fat, high-carb diet. Obesity can play a role in promoting the recurrence of hemorrhoids as well. All of these things have one thing in common: they can increase the risk of constipation and/or diarrhea, which can trigger hemorrhoids.

Preventing hemorrhoids and their recurrence means it’s crucial to make lifestyle choices that reduce the risk of constipation and diarrhea. A high-fiber diet for hemorrhoid sufferers is the easiest way to regulate bowel movements to avoid constipation and diarrhea which cause hemorrhoid symptoms, whether you’re getting your fiber from fruits and vegetables or a supplement. Drinking plenty of water is also essential to keep your stool soft. 

Add regular exercise to the mix, and you’ll reduce your chances of seeing another flare-up significantly. When your body gets moving, it keeps those bowel movements regular, which helps stave off constipation and diarrhea. These changes together create an effective prevention plan, ensuring the recurrence of hemorrhoids is unlikely.

Takeaways for Finding Relief from Hemorrhoids

We know that hemorrhoids can go away on their own, but we also know that waiting for that to happen can be painful and it can feel like you have permanent hemorrhoids. If you have been diagnosed with hemorrhoids or show symptoms of this condition, it’s vital to treat it as soon as possible. 

We also know the answer to, “How long do hemorrhoids last?” is that they can last from weeks to many months, but this time frame can be reduced with treatment and a change in diet & lifestyle routine.

You can find hemorrhoid relief with affordable over-the-counter creams and ointments, soothing sprays and medicated wipes, as well as sitz baths to cleanse and heal the affected area. There’s no need to suffer through the discomfort of hemorrhoids, not knowing how long they will last. Find a treatment that works for you and get back to living life pain-free. 

When those treatments don’t work and your hemorrhoids show no signs of shrinking, you need to see your doctor so you can explore medical treatments. It’s important to rule out more dangerous conditions that may be causing your long-lasting hemorrhoid discomfort.

If you’re suffering from hemorrhoids, don’t wait for the pain to get worse. Help yourself now. Browse Doctor Butler’s many hemorrhoid treatments and find your relief today.

  1. Fox A, Tietze PH, Ramakrishnan K. Anorectal conditions: hemorrhoids. FP Essentials. 2014;419:11–19. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/hemorrhoids/definition-facts ↩︎
  2. Zagriadskiĭ EA, Bogomazov AM, Golovko EB. Conservative Treatment of Hemorrhoids: Results of an Observational Multicenter Study. Adv Ther. 2018 Nov;35(11):1979-1992. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537182/ ↩︎
  3. Zagriadskiĭ EA, Bogomazov AM, Golovko EB. Conservative Treatment of Hemorrhoids: Results of an Observational Multicenter Study. Adv Ther. 2018 Nov;35(11):1979-1992. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537182/ ↩︎
  4. Mott, T., Latimer, K., & Edwards, C. (2018). Hemorrhoids: diagnosis and treatment options. American family physician, 97(3), 172-179. https://cdhf.ca/en/hemorrhoids-prevention-and-treatment/ ↩︎
  5. Hemorrhoids. MyHealth.Alberta.ca Government of Alberta Personal Health Portal. https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/Pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=hw213495. https://cdhf.ca/en/hemorrhoids-prevention-and-treatment/ ↩︎
  6. Gallo G, Martellucci J, Sturiale A, Clerico G, Milito G, Marino F, et al.. Consensus statement of the Italian society of colorectal surgery (SICCR): management and treatment of hemorrhoidal disease. Tech Coloproctol. (2020) 24:145–64. 10.1007/s10151-020-02149-1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8416428/ ↩︎

About Robert Cutler, D.O.

Dr. Robert Cutler has performed duties as a specialist in the field of Proctology over 30 years as a practicing physician. Over this time, he has had great success integrating patient care from both an efficiency standpoint and as a practical approach to holistic and preventative medicine.

Dr. Cutler also performs FDA approved Clinical Trials and has had formal research training in Human Subject Assurance Training, OHRP/NIH and Good Clinical Practice for Investigators, Quintiles. Dr. Cutler continues to work on creating more affordable solutions to help people who are affected by ano-rectal problems as well as various chronic or acute skin issues.

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