Some people may consider popping a hemorrhoid to try to relieve pain. However, popping a hemorrhoid can be harmful and lead to more serious problems, and is not a recommended hemorrhoid treatment. It can cause infection and make bowel movements more painful than before.
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the rectum or anus. Internal hemorrhoids form inside the rectum and are usually painless, but they may still bleed. External hemorrhoids develop around the anus and tend to be more painful. They can cause itching and bleeding, and they often make bowel movements uncomfortable.
External hemorrhoids sometimes lead to a bubble or bulge forming around the anus. It is important to remember that hemorrhoids are blood vessels and that popping them will create an open wound. Taking this action will not treat the underlying cause, but it may make the problem worse.
It can be harmful to pop a hemorrhoid.
Attempts to pop a hemorrhoid put pressure on the bulging blood vessel. With enough pressure, the blood vessel opens to create an open wound, which typically causes bleeding.
If the blood vessel is large, the bleeding can be severe and difficult to stop.
Internal hemorrhoids sometimes prolapse, which means that the swollen part of the blood vessel falls out of the anus and becomes visible. Prolapses can cause massive bleeding that may be life threatening.
People who have bleeding disorders or are taking anticlotting drugs have a higher risk of excessive bleeding.
As a popped hemorrhoid is an open wound, it creates an easy pathway for bacteria to enter the bloodstream and cause an infection. This risk is high because stools are full of bacteria.
Infected hemorrhoids are very painful. In some cases, the infection will spread to other body parts, potentially becoming very serious.
Popping a hemorrhoid causes bleeding. However, hemorrhoids can sometimes also open on their own. Having constipation and straining during a bowel movement can increase this risk.
If this happens, a person can lie down and place pillows under the hemorrhoid to elevate it above the heart. They should avoid picking or scratching the hemorrhoid, applying gentle pressure to it instead to slow the bleeding. The bleeding should stop within a few minutes.
It is important to seek immediate medical attention if the following symptoms occur:
- very heavy bleeding
- bleeding that lasts longer than a few minutes
- severe pain
It is best to treat a popped hemorrhoid in the same way as any other open wound, keeping the area as clean as possible. People can use hemorrhoid wipes or witch hazel to clean the wound after each bowel movement. Placing a bandage or gauze over the area to protect it may help ease the pain.
It is important to see a doctor, like a gastroenterologist, if there are any signs of infection, such as:
- intense pain
- a bad smell coming from the hemorrhoid
Popping the hemorrhoid does not address the underlying cause. The bulging vein is likely to reappear without proper treatment.
People can often use at-home treatments to get symptom relief, but medical treatment may be necessary in some cases. Doctors can use several different procedures to treat hemorrhoids.
Several at-home treatments can improve the symptoms of hemorrhoids. These treatments include:
- eating at least 25–30 grams of fiber per day
- avoiding straining during bowel movements
- wiping with hemorrhoid pads or witch hazel after every bowel movement
- taking a sitz bath, which is a warm bath with Epsom salt or another soothing ingredient
- trying over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams
- avoiding scratching or picking at the hemorrhoid
If a person has a prolapse, they can try gently pushing it back into the rectum.
Sometimes, hemorrhoids go away on their own. However, others may stay for longer or cause severe pain. In these cases, a doctor may need to provide medical treatment.
A doctor can perform several different procedures in their office to treat a hemorrhoid. For example, they can inject the hemorrhoid with medication to shrink it or stop the bleeding.
They could also use rubber band ligation. This procedure involves tying rubber bands around the base of the hemorrhoid. The bands cut blood supply to the hemorrhoid, and it will eventually fall off.
In more serious cases, surgical treatment is an option.
A hemorrhoidectomy is a surgical procedure to remove hemorrhoids. It can involve laser treatment or stapling. The surgery will take place under general anesthesia, so the individual will not experience any pain at the time.
If hemorrhoids become infected, a doctor will prescribe antibiotics. If the infection is severe, treatment in a hospital may be necessary.
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids occur when there is too much pressure on veins in the rectum and anus. This excessive pressure may be due to straining during a bowel movement or constipation. It is often possible to avoid these causes by drinking plenty of water and eating a fiber-rich diet.
Many women who are pregnant have hemorrhoids. To reduce the risk of them appearing, it can help to exercise regularly, avoid sitting down for too long, and lie on the left side of the body several times a day.
Other tips for lowering the risk of hemorrhoids include:
- having bowel movements as soon as possible
- eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
- avoiding the use of laxatives
A doctor can offer advice on other steps that people can take to reduce the risk of hemorrhoids. They will base their recommendations on the individual’s health status and medical records.
Hemorrhoids can be painful. It may be tempting to pop a hemorrhoid to help ease this pain, but it is important to remember that this will only cause further problems.
Popping a hemorrhoid will not reduce pain. It causes an open wound that is prone to infection from bowel movements. These infections can become serious if they spread to other parts of the body.
The best way to relieve the pain is by treating hemorrhoids. People can do this at home with a sitz bath or seek medical treatment, which may involve rubber band ligation or surgery.
By avoiding constipation and straining too much during bowel movements, people can often prevent hemorrhoids from developing.
Medically reviewed by Kevin Martinez, M.D. — By Zawn Villines