Thrombosed hemorrhoids happen when sacs in the anal passage get pushed onto the outside of the anus and fill with blood clots. They may occur when pushing too hard when trying to pass a stool.

Thrombosed hemorrhoids can be painful and may make everyday activities uncomfortable, such as walking, sitting, or going to the toilet. They can affect anyone.

This article explores the symptoms, causes, and treatment, including home remedies for thrombosed hemorrhoids.

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The anal canal is lined with blood vessels. When these blood vessels become dilated or swollen, they can form hemorrhoids or piles.

Hemorrhoids can be on the inside of the anal passage or form on the outside of the anus. Hemorrhoids on the inside are called internal hemorrhoids, and those on the outside are called external hemorrhoids.

Thrombosed hemorrhoids occur when either an internal or external hemorrhoid fills with blood clots. The name comes from the word “thrombosis,” which means clotting.

The thrombosis of hemorrhoids is a common occurrence in young adults of all sexes and genders.

Thrombosed hemorrhoids can become tender and painful.

Learn more about hemorrhoids.

The symptoms of thrombosed hemorrhoids include:

  • pain when sitting, walking, or going to the toilet to pass a stool
  • itching around the anus
  • bleeding when passing a stool
  • swelling or lumps around the anus

Thrombosed hemorrhoids can also become infected. This can lead to other symptoms, including fever.

The exact cause of hemorrhoids, both thrombosed and other, is unknown.

However, they are linked to times when more pressure is put on their anal passage. This may be the result of:

  • pushing too hard when trying to pass a stool
  • chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • pregnancy
  • giving birth
  • lifting heavy objects

Not every person who has external hemorrhoids will develop blood clots. Scientists do not yet understand why blood clots form in some external hemorrhoids.

Certain things can increase the risk of getting hemorrhoids, including:

  • low fiber diet
  • use of dry toilet paper followed by wet cleaning methods after passing stool
  • getting older, as tissues become weaker as a person ages

Treatment for a thrombosed hemorrhoid largely depends on the duration of symptoms at the time of medical attention.

If the thrombosis has occurred within 48-72 hours, a healthcare professional may remove the clot from the hemorrhoid. Typically this procedure involves local anesthesia followed by a small incision in the skin to remove the clot. Stitches are not usually necessary and the procedure should help to relieve the pain involved with the clot.

If more than 72 hours have passed since the thrombosis occurred, a healthcare professional may recommend home remedies to help manage pain.

If a person is experiencing continued bleeding or worsening pain, hemorrhoids may require surgery. Surgical options include:

  • Hemorrhoidectomy: This is a surgery to remove the hemorrhoid, including the blood vessels and clot, and may be done under general anesthetic. It is more invasive than other options, so is only carried out in severe cases.
  • Banding: This is where an elastic band is put around the base of the hemorrhoid. This cuts off the blood supply and causes the hemorrhoid to fall off, typically within 3-7 days.
  • Stapled hemorrhoidopexy: This is where the hemorrhoids are stapled in place, while a person is under general anesthetic. It is generally only used for people who have not shown improvement with other treatments or who have abnormally large or prolapsed hemorrhoids.

Thrombosed hemorrhoids often go away on their own within a few weeks.

Certain home remedies may help reduce the pain and discomfort of hemorrhoids:

  • Hemorrhoid cream: Applying an over-the-counter (OTC) hemorrhoid cream can help relieve symptoms.
  • Pain relievers: Taking OTC pain medications can help relieve pain.
  • Sitz bath: Soaking the affected area in warm water several times a day and gently patting it dry may help ease discomfort.
  • Ice treatment: Applying a cold compress or ice pack to the affected area may reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Witch hazel: Applying witch hazel may reduce itching and pain in the affected area.
  • Using wipes: Using wet wipes rather than toilet paper can reduce friction and cause less irritation in the affected area.
  • Stool softeners: The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) recommends taking a stool softener or fiber supplement to help manage hemorrhoids at home. This makes it easier to pass a stool, which reduces irritation.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids: Keeping hydrated and drinking plenty of fluids can help keep stool soft, making it easier to pass.

Learn more about home remedies for hemorrhoids.

It is not always possible to prevent hemorrhoids. However, the following tips may help reduce the risk:

  • Eating high fiber foods: Eating high fiber foods can help prevent constipation and keep bowels moving regularly. Examples of high fiber foods include broccoli, bran flakes, whole-wheat pasta, and oatmeal.
  • Being more active: Getting regular exercise can help to promote healthy bowel function and prevent constipation.
  • Not straining during bowel movements: If a person is experiencing constipation, it may help to take a stool softener to avoid excess strain or time on the toilet.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids: Keeping hydrated can help to reduce constipation.

Thrombosed hemorrhoids can be itchy, painful, and uncomfortable if left untreated. However, symptoms can often be relieved using home remedies.

Where this is not the case, there are some medical treatments available. Sometimes, a person may require surgery to remove the hemorrhoids.

Treatments for hemorrhoids are usually effective. If a person experiences recurrent hemorrhoids, it is important to discuss this with a healthcare professional.