Piles (haemorrhoids)

Piles (haemorrhoids) are swellings inside or around the bottom. They are common and often clear up on their own after a few days.

Check if you have piles

It might be piles if you have:

  • lumps around the anus
  • bright red blood after you poo
  • pain or discomfort when pooing
  • an itchy bottom
  • mucus leaking from your bottom after you’ve been to the toilet
  • soreness, redness and swelling around your anus

You can usually treat piles yourself.

See what piles look like

How you can treat or prevent piles yourself

Piles often go away on their own after a few days.

To relieve any pain or discomfort when you go to the toilet:

  • avoid straining when you’re on the toilet
  • use moist toilet paper or baby wipes
  • dab the area clean, rather than wiping it

To keep your poo soft, help you go to the toilet regularly and stop your piles getting bigger:

  • drink plenty of fluid
  • eat more fibre (fruit and vegetables, wholegrain bread, pasta and cereal)
  • try to avoid drinking too much caffeine (in drinks like tea, coffee and cola)

Your pharmacist can help with piles

To relieve swelling, itching and pain you can buy:

  • creams and ointments
  • suppositories (which are inserted into your bottom)

Pharmacists can give you advice about which product is best for you. Ask your pharmacist if you can speak to them in a private area if you’re embarrassed.

You shouldn’t use piles medicines for longer than a week as they can irritate your skin. Don’t use more than one product at the same time.

Speak to your GP if:

  • your piles don’t clear up with pharmacy medicines within a week
  • you’re bleeding from your bottom
  • you’re in a lot of pain
  • your piles are persistent and you can’t get rid of them

GPs are used to dealing with piles so try not to feel embarrassed.

Your GP may prescribe stronger creams or laxatives.

If treatment doesn’t work and your piles are affecting your everyday life, your GP may refer you to a specialist for treatment in hospital.