Even without treatment, the symptoms of small hemorrhoids might clear up in just a few days. Chronic hemorrhoids, however, can last weeks with regular symptom flare-ups.

Keep reading to learn how to treat hemorrhoids that won’t go away and when to see a doctor.

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins around your lower rectum and anus. These veins can swell to the point that they bulge and become irritated. There are two main types of hemorrhoids:

  • Internal hemorrhoids. These occur in the small arterial branches inside the rectum. They’re typically not felt or seen, but they may bleed.
  • External hemorrhoids. These occur in the veins under the skin outside of the anal opening. Like internal hemorrhoids, external hemorrhoids can bleed, but because there are more nerves in the area, they tend to create discomfort.

Conditions commonly associated with chronic hemorrhoids include the following:

  • A prolapsed hemorrhoid is an internal hemorrhoid that gets bigger and bulges outside the anal sphincter.
  • A strangulated hemorrhoid is a prolapsed hemorrhoid with the blood supply cut off by the muscles around your anus.
  • A thrombosed hemorrhoid is a clot (thrombus) that forms after blood pools in an external hemorrhoid.

If you have hemorrhoids, you’re not alone. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases estimates hemorrhoids affect about 5 percent of Americans and about 50 percent of adults over 50 years old.

If you have hemorrhoids that just won’t go away or keep reappearing, see your doctor.

Following diagnosis, your doctor might recommend treating chronic hemorrhoids with lifestyle changes, including:

  • incorporating more high-fiber foods in your diet
  • increasing your daily consumption of water and other nonalcoholic beverages
  • limiting your time sitting on the toilet
  • avoiding straining during bowel movements
  • avoiding heavy lifting

Your doctor may also recommend some more involved or more medicinal steps to incorporate in self-treatment, such as using:

If self-care isn’t effective in relieving your symptoms, your doctor may recommend one of a variety of procedures.

In-office procedures

Your doctor may suggest:

  • Rubber band ligation. Also called hemorrhoid banding, this procedure is used for prolapsing or bleeding hemorrhoids. Your doctor places a special rubber band around the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off its blood supply. In about a week, the banded section will shrivel and fall off.
  • Electrocoagulation. Your doctor uses a special tool to deliver an electric current that shrinks a hemorrhoid by cutting off its blood supply. It’s commonly used for internal hemorrhoids.
  • Infrared photocoagulation. Your doctor uses a tool that delivers infrared light to shrink a hemorrhoid by cutting off its blood supply. It’s typically used for internal hemorrhoids.
  • Sclerotherapy. Your doctor injects a solution that shrinks a hemorrhoid by cutting off its blood supply. It’s typically used for internal hemorrhoids.

Hospital procedures

Your doctor may suggest:

  • Hemorrhoidopexy. A surgeon uses a special stapling tool to remove internal hemorrhoid tissue, pulling a prolapsed hemorrhoid back into your anus. This procedure is also called hemorrhoid stapling.
  • Hemorrhoidectomy. A surgeon surgically removes prolapsed hemorrhoids or large external hemorrhoids.

If you have hemorrhoids that won’t go away, see your doctor. They can recommend a variety of treatments, ranging from diet and lifestyle changes to procedures.

It’s important you see your doctor if:

  • You’re experiencing discomfort in your anal area or have bleeding during bowel movements.
  • You have hemorrhoids that don’t improve after a week of self-care.
  • You have a lot of rectal bleeding and feel dizzy or lightheaded.

Don’t assume that rectal bleeding is hemorrhoids. It can also be a symptom of other diseases, including anal cancer and colorectal cancer.