The first known mention in the history of hemorrhoids is from a 1700 BC Egyptian papyrus, which advises: “… Thou shouldest give a recipe, an ointment of great protection; acacia leaves, ground, triturated and cooked together. Smear a strip of fine linen there-with and place in the anus, that he recovers immediately.”

In 460 BC, the Hippocratic corpus discusses a treatment similar to modern rubber band ligation: “And hemorrhoids in like manner you may treat by transfixing them with a needle and tying them with very thick and woolen thread, for application, and do not forment until they drop off, and always leave one behind; and when the patient recovers, let him be put on a course of Hellebore.” Hemorrhoids may have been described in the Bible, with earlier English translations using the now-obsolete spelling “emerods”.

Celsus (25 BC – AD 14) described ligation and excision procedures, and discussed the possible complications. Galen advocated severing the connection of the arteries to veins, claiming it reduced both pain and the spread of gangrene.

The Susruta Samhita (fourth – fifth century AD) is similar to the words of Hippocrates, but emphasizes wound cleanliness.

An 11th-century English miniature: On the right is an operation to remove hemorrhoids. History of Hemorrhoids
An 11th-century English miniature: On the right is an operation to remove hemorrhoids.

In the 13th century, European surgeons such as Lanfranc of Milan, Guy de Chauliac, Henri de Mondeville, and John of Ardene made great progress and development of the surgical techniques.

In medieval times, hemorrhoids were also known as Saint Fiacre\’s curse after a sixth-century saint who developed them following tilling the soil.

The first use of the word “hemorrhoid” in English occurs in 1398, derived from the Old French “emorroides”, from Latin hæmorrhoida, in turn from the Greek αἱμορροΐς (haimorrhois), “liable to discharge blood”, from αἷμα (haima), “blood” and ῥόος (rhoos), “stream, flow, current”, itself from ῥέω (rheo), “to flow, to stream”.