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.

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 pillow-like cushions of veins that are found just underneath the mucous membranes lining the lowermost part of the anus and rectum.

In fact, everyone has hemorrhoids. The condition that most people refer to when they mention “hemorrhoid” is when these veins become distended and swollen. This is a similar condition to varicose veins in the legs.

There are two kinds of hemorrhoids – internal and external.

Internal hemorrhoids are found in the lower rectum, while external hemorrhoids are located just under the skin, around the anus.

It’s the external hemorrhoids which give us the most grief. So, why do they itch?

Why Exactly do Hemorrhoids Itch?

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

  • Inflammation:Inflammation is the biological root of severe itching with hemorrhoids. An area that is inflamed can be filled with a lot of fluid and white blood cells. When this happens, the body tries to adjust and  natural stretching occurs which causes the 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.

How to Relieve Itchy Hemorrhoids

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 per day to keep the area fresh. In fact, moisture, or sweat, is the main cause for 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 the inflammation, and soothe the targeted area.
  • Use a Hydrocortisone Cream
    There are several lotions and gels with hydrocortisone which relieve hemorrhoid itching. If the itching is severe, you can ask your doctor for a gel which 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 that belongs to a class of drugs called sympathomimetic amines. They work by temporarily thinning the blood vessels in the area. Using 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 with relieving itching while out of the home.


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.