Why Do Hemorrhoids Itch?

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD

Hemorrhoids are considered a disorder of the anus and rectum. Unfortunately, experts don’t entirely understand the exact cause of hemorrhoids. However, the condition is believed to be connected to excessive straining while passing stools or increased pressure due to pregnancy or being overweight, which, in turn, causes the anal veins to become inflamed.

Sometimes hemorrhoids can itch, causing an extremely uncomfortable feeling. The itching can occur at the worst of times, right when you can’t do much about it.

  • Enjoy what you're reading? Enter your email address to receive posts like this delivered to your inbox.

  • Hidden

Why do hemorrhoids itch? And what can you do to prevent itching, especially when you are not in the privacy of your home?

To answer these questions, you must first understand what a hemorrhoid is.

What is a Hemorrhoid?

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lower rectum or anus. They may result from straining during bowel movements or due to increased pressure on these veins during pregnancy. Hemorrhoids are called internal hemorrhoids when they occur within the rectum and are called external hemorrhoids when they occur outside of the anus.

Why hemorrhoids itch

Several causes contribute to uncomfortable itching – often worse at night.

  • Inflammation: Inflammation is the biological root of severe itching with hemorrhoids. An inflamed area can be filled with a lot of fluid and white blood cells. When this happens, the body tries to adjust, and natural stretching or swelling occurs, which causes itchiness.
  • Rubbing: Excess rubbing can cause itchiness, and rubbing of the area can’t always be avoided. This can happen while simply walking. Sometimes even underwear can cause abrasions.
  • Passing Feces: The simple strain of passing feces can make already developing or inflamed hemorrhoids worse. In turn, this leads to more inflammation and increased itchiness.
  • Natural Production of Mucus: In the case of internal hemorrhoids, the body naturally produces more mucus than normal. When the mucus exits the body, it can dry out on the outer skin, causing an uncomfortable, itchy sensation.

Of course, there can be other reasons that cause your hemorrhoids to itch, and for severe hemorrhoids, it is best to see a doctor to learn more about the condition and what the best method of treatment is.

Why do hemorrhoids itch at night?

Both internal and external hemorrhoids can be itchier at night due to the activities you do before going to bed. For example, you may have a bowel movement before going to bed, and that can irritate you. Some people may also be more prone to scratching their hemorrhoids when lying down due to being in a more relaxed state with nothing else to do.

In rare cases, you might have an Enterobius Vermicularis (pinworm) infection, which can cause anal itching that’s especially worse at night. This is a common yet easily treatable infection caused by a parasitic worm. If you think you may have this infection, contact your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

Do hemorrhoids itch when healing

Hemorrhoids may cause anal itching when healing, but this is not always the case. As discussed above, it’s the inflammation that causes hemorrhoids to itch. This means that if your hemorrhoids are healing, the inflammation should be reduced, and the itching may subside.

On the other hand, if your itch is worsening, it may be a sign that your hemorrhoids are becoming more inflamed and not healing properly.

This means you should see your doctor if your itching persists even after proper treatment of your hemorrhoids.

Treatment for itching hemorrhoids: How to stop hemorrhoid itching

First, don’t scratch! Scratching may feel good for the time being, but in the long run, it will only make hemorrhoids worse.

Here are seven better, healthier methods to stop the itchiness of hemorrhoids:

  • Maintain Good Hygiene
    To relieve itchiness, clean your anal area thoroughly after each bowel movement. You can also clean it several times daily to keep the area fresh. In fact, moisture, or sweat, is the main cause of itchiness. After washing, dry the area thoroughly.
  • Do Not Use Scented Soaps
    When cleaning the area, don’t use any scented soaps, which increase irritation. Instead, use soaps that are scent-free and hypoallergenic.
  • Green Tea Bags
    Soak green tea bags in warm water for two minutes. Use about 3 – 4 and push them lightly together. Then, simply press the bags against the area that itches. Green tea is known to relieve itchy skin, help with inflammation, and soothe the targeted area.
  • Use a Hydrocortisone Cream
    There are several lotions and gels with hydrocortisone that relieve hemorrhoid itching. If the itching is severe, you can ask your doctor for a gel that contains steroids, as well. This method can work well when you must leave the comfort of your home, and you need relief.
  • Aloe Vera
    Use Aloe Vera gel straight from the aloe stem of a plant. Or, buy a gel at your local health or drug store. Aloe Vera is a natural antiseptic and is known to relieve mild pain as well as itching.
  • Take a Sitz Bath
    A sitz bath is simply warm water in a tub or smaller basin. Fill your tub with warm water and sit in it for about 20 minutes. Do this three times per day and after each bowel movement. Warm water is perfect for relieving irritation and itching.
  • Try a Hemorrhoid Suppository
    Suppositories usually contain phenylephrine which belongs to a class of drugs called sympathomimetic amines. They work by temporarily constricting the blood vessels in the area. A suppository can relieve swelling, itching, burning, and even pain.

Hemorrhoid itching can be worse at night. For this reason, clean the area thoroughly before heading to bed. Apply a Hydrocortisone cream or Aloe Vera gel. And wear loose clothing to prevent rubbing while sleeping.

Many of these methods can help relieve itching while out of the home.

Learn why hemorrhoids itch

We understand itchy hemorrhoids are an uncomfortable, painful, and even embarrassing experience. With these tips, suggestions, and remedies, you can find a  method that soothes the itching and allows you to get on with your day in comfort.

However, it’s important to remember that before attempting any home remedy for painful, irritating, or swollen hemorrhoids, proceed with caution and call your physician.

How to relieve itchy hemorrhoids?

There are many ways to relieve itching hemorrhoids, including topical steroid creams, aloe vera, sitz baths, and green tea bags. What works for one person may not work for everyone, so it’s important to experiment with different treatments and find out which works best for you. Despite these measures, if your itch persists, you may need to see a healthcare professional for further treatment.

How to stop an itching anus at night?

You can stop an itching anus at night by using an ointment (such as zinc oxide), wearing loose and comfortable clothes, trying to control diarrhea if you have it, and taking proper hygiene measures like cleaning with warm water and patting yourself dry. If this doesn’t improve your itching, you may want to consult colon and rectal surgeons so they can find out the cause and treat it.

Why do hemorrhoids itch after bowel movement?

There are two main reasons why hemorrhoids cause itching around the anus after a bowel movement. The first reason is mechanical irritation caused by wiping or rubbing the area too hard after a bowel movement. The second reason is chemical irritation from fecal material leaking onto the skin, which can cause further irritation, inflammation, and itching.

Do internal hemorrhoids itch?

Yes, internal hemorrhoids itch because the body produces more mucus than normal. This can irritate the sensitive lining of the rectum and cause itching. Additionally, internal hemorrhoids may become prolapsed, which can lead to irritated skin around the anus and itching.

What happens if you scratch hemorrhoid?

Scratching hemorrhoids can cause an infection, inflammation, and bleeding. It is best to resist the urge to scratch and instead use a topical steroid or other treatment recommended by your doctor.

  • Enjoy what you're reading? Enter your email address to receive posts like this delivered to your inbox.

  • Hidden