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What to Do if You Have a Burst Hemorrhoid

December 16, 2022 by Dr. Evan Goldstein

A burst hemorrhoid is exactly what it sounds like. When you have a hemorrhoid that fills up with too much blood, it bursts. Before we dive deeper into burst hemorrhoids, let’s do a quick refresher on hemorrhoids themselves. Hemorrhoids result from increased pressure in the veins of the anus, which causes them to bulge and expand. In particular, a thrombosed hemorrhoid happens when a blood clot forms inside a hemorrhoid. This clot then blocks blood flow, and sufferers often experience a great deal of pain (more external hemorrhoids than internal hemorrhoids), swelling, and even bleeding (the aftermath of a burst hemorrhoid).

The most common cause of hemorrhoids is constipation and straining during bowel movements, sitting for prolonged periods of time, pregnancy and childbirth, and/or anal intercourse. To learn more about the different types of hemorrhoids and how you can prevent and treat them, please visit our hemorrhoid treatment page.

How Do I Know if My Hemorrhoid Burst?

The good news is: not all hemorrhoids burst and more than 90% of hemorrhoids heal without surgery. You may experience some mild discomfort or pressure in the area, but nothing that is unmanageable. However, you may have a burst hemorrhoid is you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Intense itchiness, burning sensations or pain,
  • Bright red bleeding,
  • Dark, old clotted blood,
  • Lumps around or on the anus,
  • Discomfort.

How to Stop a Popped Hemorrhoid From Bleeding

If you’re experiencing bleeding from a burst hemorrhoid, you can stop the bleeding if you gently compress them with clean, soft cloths, cotton pads, gauze, or even sanitary napkins. You should wash your hands before attempting to touch the area and also once you’re done applying the compress.

Another great remedy is spraying Afrin on a piece of gauze, especially if you’re experiencing more bleeding than usual. Afrin, and other nasal decongestant sprays, help stop the bleeding by shrinking the blood vessels enough to allow a clot to form. Think of it like a styptic pencil, which barbers use to stop bleeding due to nicks that occur during shaving, but more hygienic since you’re not reusing the same applicator over and over again.

When to See a Doctor for a Popped Hemorrhoid

There are times when a thrombosed hemorrhoid that continues to bleed may need medical attention. It’s time to see a doctor who specializes in hemorrhoids if any of the following symptoms are present:

  • Continuous bleeding or large amounts of blood,
  • Passing blood clots,
  • Severe pain,
  • Difficulty walking, sitting, etc,
  • Black stools that indicate bleeding.

Unfortunately, people who experience recurring issues and/or enlargement of the same hemorrhoid may need surgery. Burst hemorrhoids can damage other tissue and medical treatment should be sought out to prevent further complications. However, burst hemorrhoids are not a deadly condition and can be remedied by either at-home treatment or surgery.

After all is said and done, sometimes residual scar tissue and/or skin tags develop because the extra skin from the initial hemorrhoid doesn’t retract fully. The initial course of treatment would be to apply steroid creams at home to see if they’ll resolve on their own. However, if someone has been suffering from a recurring hemorrhoid, it may be more beneficial to remove not only the hemorrhoid, but also scar and skin tag to prevent repeat outbreaks. If it’s an isolated skin tag that still bothers someone and gets irritated during wiping, sex, etc., then it can also be surgically removed.

Hemorrhoids Treatment

As mentioned above, hemorrhoid prevention is key. However, most hemorrhoids respond well to at-home treatment, such as over-the-counter stool softeners, fiber supplements, Sitz baths, steroid creams, and many others. However, when they can’t, doctors may use the following procedures to help fix your hemorrhoids:

  • Rubber band ligation
  • Laser treatments
  • Hemorrhoidectomies
  • Anal Botox to help alleviate the pressures associated with hemorrhoids

Never Pop a Hemorrhoid on Your Own

While popping hemorrhoids on your own is never recommended because it can create open wounds and complications like infections and scarring, popping hemorrhoids is an old school method that some doctors still perform. The intent is to remove pressure from the area, which would, in theory, also get rid of the hemorrhoid.

However, many times, people persistently bleed, and, more importantly, this method only removes the clot and not the hemorrhoid itself, which means that the hemorrhoid is likely to keep coming back. Popping hemorrhoids by yourself can be especially risky as this can lead to infection and create an open wound. However, you are very unlikely to die from popping a hemorrhoid.

NYC Hemorrhoid Treatment at Bespoke Surgical

We hope that after learning more about burst hemorrhoids, you feel confident there are many treatment options to help get you back to living a hemorrhoid-free life. Bespoke Surgical is an elite anal practice with a focus on wellness and we tailor our treatments to each patient’s needs to work towards a healthier, happier you. If you have any questions regarding popped hemorrhoids or would like a consultation, contact us here.

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About the Author

Dr. Evan Goldstein is the Founder and CEO of Bespoke Surgical. Dr. Goldstein has extensive experience educating and shedding light on health care issues relating to the gay community, and has been published in several national publications including The Advocate, OUT Magazine, Vice, Refinery 29, NY Mag and more.

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