When to see a doctor

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Seek immediate medical attention

Have someone drive you to urgent care or the emergency room if you develop:

  • A significant amount of rectal bleeding or rectal bleeding that won't stop, particularly if accompanied by lightheadedness, dizziness or feeling faint
  • Anal pain that gets much worse, spreads, or is accompanied by fever, chills or anal discharge

Schedule a doctor's visit

Make an appointment with your doctor if your pain lasts more than a few days and self-care remedies aren't helping. Also make an appointment with your doctor if anal pain is accompanied by a change in bowel habit or rectal bleeding.

A hemorrhoid that develops quickly or is particularly painful may have formed a blood clot inside (thrombosed). Removing the clot within the first 48 hours often gives the most relief, so request a timely appointment with your doctor. The blood clot of a thrombosed hemorrhoid, although painful, can't break loose and travel, so it won't cause any of the complications — such as stroke — associated with blood clots that form in other parts of the body.

Self-care

Depending on the cause of your anal pain, there are some measures you can try at home to get relief. They include:

  • Eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, exercising daily, and taking stool softeners, if needed, to facilitate bowel movements, reduce straining and ease pain
  • Sitting in a tub of hot water up to your hips — known as a sitz bath — several times a day to ease the pain of hemorrhoids, anal fissures or rectal muscle spasms
  • Applying over-the-counter hemorrhoid cream for hemorrhoids or hydrocortisone cream for anal fissures
  • Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others)
June 26, 2018