Do Hemorrhoids Cause Colon Cancer
September 28, 2019 by Sarah
Do hemorrhoids cause colon cancer? Before I answer that question, let us first examine what hemorrhoids are.
Hemorrhoids are bleeding clumps of swollen tissue. They usually appear around your rectal area, they can form both outside and inside.
Hemorrhoids are easily treatable and can be prevented by eating healthy foods that promote easy to pass stools.
They often appear when you are constipated and straining too much while sitting on the toilet.
Treatments are also available if youve already got hemorrhoids, but that is another article in itself. There are too many treatment options to list here.
Let us focus on your question, you want to know whether hemorrhoids can cause colon cancer or not, right? The short answer is no, hemorrhoids do not cause colon cancer.
The problem arises when colon cancer patients thought that they had hemorrhoids when in fact they were seeing the early signs of cancer. You have to be aware that the symptoms are easy to get mixed up.
Most of us dont like going to the doctor for our colon problems, so we make up excuses or try to rationalize that our symptoms are nothing to be concerned about.
This can be dangerous and has in many cases lead to people not getting themselves checked out and later found out that they had colon cancer.
Here are a few warning signs that you should look out for if youre concerned about colon or rectal cancer:
What Causes Colon Cancer And What Causes Hemorrhoids
Normally, the DNA of your cells gives instructions to your cells to divide and grow for your body to function properly. When this DNA becomes damaged, cells continue to multiply even when theyre not required to. As the cells increase in number, a tumor forms and this is how cancer occurs. Colon cancer, therefore, is caused when DNA of the cells in the colon change and cause abnormal cell division. Some factors put certain people at a higher risk of developing colon cancer and they are:
People who eat a lot of red and unprocessed meat are at a higher risk of developing colon cancer. The compound haem which gives red meat its color boosts the production of a carcinogenic compound in the body known as N-nitroso compounds.
People with genetic abnormalities may develop adenomatous polyps which can get larger and cancerous over time. Genetic predisposition accounts for 5% of the likelihood of developing colon cancer.
When you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you are at a higher risk of developing colon cancer. This is because you are more likely to gain weight when excess fat in the body raises the levels of hormones and chemicals that influence the rate of cell growth.
If youre going through radiation therapy to treat other cancers, especially in the abdominal regions, you are at a higher risk of developing colon cancer. Radiation can cause an abnormal replication of body cells.
Excess Body Weight
Colorectal Cancer Symptoms & Signs
Any rectal bleeding is cause for concern, and you should consult your doctor if you begin to experience these or associated symptoms. But abnormally-heavy rectal bleeding could be a sign of colorectal cancer, not hemorrhoids.
Watch out for these other signs, which are more likely to occur with colon or rectal cancer than with hemorrhoids:
- unexpected weight loss and / or fatigue
- pain in your lower abdomen
- changes in the shape of your bowel movements
- changes in your defecation habits
- excessive gas
In their early stages, colorectal cancers dont usually cause any symptoms. Thats why most governmental agencies suggest that patients begin receiving routine screenings for the disease around the age of 50. If symptoms do begin, specialist medical attention is suggested many patients have had their colorectal cancer symptoms dismissed as the result of a benign disease, or been misdiagnosed with colon cancer.
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Get To Know Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anus and lower rectum. The veins around the anus tend to stretch under pressure, causing bulge or swelling. This condition can develop from increased pressure in the lower rectum. Hemorrhoids might develop in different locations at the same time. Classified by locations, there are 2 types of hemorrhoids:
1.) Internal hemorrhoids
Internal hemorrhoids lie inside the rectum which located above the pectinate line and are covered with cells that are the same as those that line the rest of the intestines. Internal hemorrhoids cannot be typically seen or felt. Only using anoscopy, proctoscopy and sigmoidoscopy allows gastroenterologists to examine the inner lining of the rectum. Internal hemorrhoids can be stratified into 4 grades:
- Grade I: The internal hemorrhoid bulges into the canal but does not prolapse. These may cause rectal bleeding.
- Grade II: The hemorrhoid protrudes through the rectum with straining during a bowel movement. But it spontaneously returns to their original position once the straining has subsided after bowel movements.
- Grade III: The hemorrhoid protrudes without any straining and requires the patient to push it inside manually.
- Grade IV: The hemorrhoid protrudes and cannot be pushed back, causing discomfort and rectal pain.
2.) External hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids can develop from increased pressure in the lower rectum due to:
- Straining during bowel movements
When To See The Doctor
Hemorrhoids usually just need home remedies and time to go away. If the symptoms persist for more than a couple of days or get worse, however, you should consult a doctor. If theres consistent blood appearing during bowel movements, it could be a sign of colon cancer or other bowel diseases like Crohns disease or ulcerative colitis.
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Can Hemorrhoids Lead To Colon Cancer
100% of colon cancers evolve from large polyps, which are mutated cells that grow along the colon tract. This means that there is zero chance for any hemorrhoid to lead to colon cancer. Again, hemorrhoids are swollen veins on the muscle of the rectum, not mutated cells along the colon.
Understand what is causing blood in your stool. Get screened today and reach a final diagnosis. Achieve your peace of mind.
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They Can Share Symptoms
One of the most common complaints our patients have is blood in their stool or on the toilet paper after they have a bowel movement. This makes sense, because hemorrhoids are one of the most common conditions we diagnose and bleeding may be the most common symptom of piles.
Unfortunately, hemorrhoids are not the first thing most people think of when they see blood after going to the bathroom. And for good reason. Its also one of the most common symptoms of colorectal cancer, diverticulosis, and a number of other intestinal issues.
In general, the blood will be on the stool for hemorrhoids and inside the stool for colon cancer. This is not a hard and fast rule, though. Every year, dozens of patients are misdiagnosed as having hemorrhoids when they really have both conditions.
This is why you want an experienced doctor who sees hemorrhoids and other colorectal complaints regularly. This is especially true if you have any other symptoms in addition to bleeding that may point to colon cancer, including:
- A change in bowel habits
- Thin, pencil-like stool
- Excess gas, diarrhea, or constipation
- Feeling like you need to go to the bathroom even after you do go
We recommend seeing a colon and rectal specialist about your symptoms to rule out anything more serious than hemorrhoids.
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How To Stay Healthy
You need to practice some healthy habits to have a healthy gut and prevent conditions like hemorrhoids and colon cancer. Below are some of the ways you can achieve this:
Eat Foods Rich in Fiber
Eating foods with enough fiber ensures that your stool is softened and it has enough bulk to quickly and easily move down the digestive tract. These foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and root vegetables.
Drink Lots of Water
Water and fiber go hand in hand because water dissolves soluble fiber to make a gel-like substance that softens the stool. You should drink at least 6 glasses of water daily to prevent constipation.
Probiotics are foods that encourage the health of good bacteria in the gut that help in digestion and excretion. They also get rid of toxins and harmful bacteria. Foods that are considered probiotics include kimchi, yogurt, kombucha, pickles, kefir, and sauerkraut.
Exercising regularly will boost digestive functions and keep stool moving quickly down the gut. It also lowers your risk of colon cancer because you avoid a sedentary lifestyle.
Practice Good Toilet Habits
When you get the urge to pass stool, dont delay going to the toilet because the stool will harden and lead to constipation. You should also avoid straining as you move your bowels so that you dont hurt your rectum and anus veins in the process.
How Do You Treat Rectal Bleeding
Home Remedies for Rectal Bleeding Drink eight to 10 glasses of water per day. Bathe or shower daily to cleanse the skin around the anus. Decrease straining with bowel movements. Increase fiber in the diet with supplements such as Metamucil, Benefiber, or foods such as prunes. Avoid sitting on the toilet too long.
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Beware: Is It Rectal Cancer Or Hemorrhoids
NICOLE GIBRAN, MD, PRESIDENT OF AMERICAN BURN ASSOCIATION, WITH JINAN ZHANG, TCMD, FOUNDER OF NAITCM
Early Detection Can Spot the Difference
During our years of clinical practice at the North American International Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment Centre, we have found that there is often confusion among patients about the difference between hemorrhoids and rectal cancer. This confusion is understandable because the symptoms of hemorrhoids and early rectal cancer are similar.
Since each condition requires a completely different treatment program, we feel it is important that people learn to tell the difference between the two conditions through education, self examination, and a visit to our clinic.
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Causes And Risk Factors
The underlying cause of hemorrhoids that form in the anus or rectum is still a matter of debate. One theory is that it is due to the breakdown of the supporting tissues in the anal canal.
When hemorrhoids are untreated, last for a long time, or are under more physical pressure, they can become prolapsed and protrude out of the anus or rectum.
There are several risk factors for prolapsed hemorrhoids, including:
- Advanced age
- Overuse of anti-diarrhea medications
Sometimes, placing something in the anus, such as during sexual activity, or for medical treatment, can also cause pressure, resulting in a prolapsed hemorrhoid.
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A Crisis In Colon Cancer Care: Misdiagnosis
In the United States, the second-leading cancer-caused death is colorectal cancer. Some of the common signs of colon cancer include blood in the stool, excessive diarrhea or constipation or bowel movement, fatigue, and/or rectal bleeding . Keep in mind, however, that these signs dont necessarily guarantee colon cancer. Nonetheless, it is always important to screen for cancer. In order to make a screening decision, I urge you to read the other articles about screening options such as colonoscopies, FIT, and colonguard. Its a tough decisionone to discuss with your doctor.
While colorectal cancer occurrence has decreased over the years, it is still a major issue, if we consider the amount of people who dont screen early enough to catch their colon cancer. In fact, only 40% of colon cancer cases are caught early . Often times, I will tell family members, Please get screened for colon cancer as early as possible. Unfortunately the typical response may be, Im not 50 yet, Are you cursing me?, or Its too expensive. Even when people find a screening method that is affordable, such as the FIT test, it still may not be accurate enough. Many people still do not screen for cancer when they turn 50, even though this promise is a rule.
It is important to prevent misdiagnoses and be proactive in learning more about the accuracy of screening methods for colorectal cancer.
When Do I Need To See A Doctor About Rectal Bleeding
Its usually a good idea to reach out to your healthcare provider whenever you have rectal bleeding. It can be a sign of another health condition that might need treatment. If you have heavy bleeding or are seeing blood in multiple bowel movements, its urgent that you see your provider. Rectal bleeding can have serious causes that need to be treated.
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Is Bright Red Blood In My Stool Worse Than Darker Blood
The longer the blood is in your digestive tract, the darker it will typically look. This is because there are digestive chemicals in your body that naturally break down everything that moves through your digestive tract. The blood gets darker the longer its in contact with these chemicals. If your bleeding is higher up in the digestive tract, it might appear darker in the toilet. If you see bright red blood, that can mean its lower in your digestive tract or is moving through your body very quickly. While there are many benign causes of bright red bleeding, there are fewer benign causes of darker blood for this reason, dark blood may be more concerning, and warrants workup by your healthcare provider.
Are There Any Foods That Can Change The Color Of My Stool In A Similar Way To Rectal Bleeding
There are certain foods that can make your poop an unusual color. You can have green, yellow and even black stool. This can happen for a variety of reasons having too much bile during digestion, having a medical condition like inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease, being on antibiotics, or even just eating foods with strong color pigments.
Often, blood can make your stool look very dark and almost black. Foods like black licorice, beets, dark berries and red gelatin can all make your poop look very dark. This can easily be confused for blood in your stool. If you notice very dark poop during a bowel movement, think back to what you ate recently. Theres a chance that what you ate could be the cause for the usually dark stool.
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How Do You Stop Internal Hemorrhoids From Bleeding
Bleeding from internal hemorrhoids can cause pain, distress and embarrassment, but the condition is surprisingly common. Occasionally, hemorrhoids are serious and require medical procedures, but often, the patient is able to stop internal hemorrhoids from bleeding with simple measures, such a change of diet. Over-the-counter medication might also provide relief and help to stop the bleeding.
Internal hemorrhoids form as bulbous cushions on the upper wall of the rectal canal. The cause of hemorrhoids is not fully understood, but constipation, sitting for prolonged periods and pregnancy are generally recognized as contributory factors. Symptoms include itching, pain and bleeding.
Constipation and the straining associated with passing hard stools is widely believed to cause hemorrhoids to swell and to aggravate existing hemorrhoids. As the stool passes, pressure and friction can rupture the hemorrhoid and cause pain and bleeding. By treating constipation, the patient can keep the internal hemorrhoids from bleeding.
Increasing dietary fiber can reduce constipation. Many people, especially in the developed world, do not eat enough fiber-rich foods, and including more fiber in the diet can have dramatic results. Dietary fiber supplements and stool softeners might also help to manage constipation.
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Diagnosing Colon Cancer Is More Difficult
Colorectal cancers are most often diagnosed in individuals over the age of 50, but young onset colorectal cancer incidence is rapidly increasing. Blood in the stool can be alarming, particularly if you have never experienced it earlier. Hemorrhoids are more common than cancer and are the most likely explanation for bleeding or rectal pain.
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Do Colon Cancer Symptoms Come On Suddenly
Colon cancer can develop in any part of your colon, while rectal cancer affects your rectum, which connects the colon to the anus. Frequent diarrhea and constipation may be symptoms of cancer, particularly if these bowel changes come on suddenly. These problems also may occur with frequent gas and abdominal pain.
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Should Young People Get Colonoscopies
Even though colorectal cancer is rising in young people, the incidence is still too low to justify routine colonoscopies for them. Once a screening test is developed for a disease, it’s important to make sure that the number of screenings performed will prevent enough cancers to justify the costs of and risks associated with the tests.
A colonoscopy is performed with the patient under conscious sedation. The doctor inserts a flexible tube with a light and camera on the end through the rectum to examine the colon. The tube also allows a doctor to remove any polyps that may be precancerous, heading off many cancers before they develop. For that reason, colonoscopy is considered to be one of the biggest reasons for the overall decrease in colorectal cancer.
Colonoscopies are recommended for most people at age 50, and repeated every 10 years. They are recommended at age 45 for Black men and women, who have a higher risk of colorectal cancer and sometimes earlier for people who have a family history. But Dr. Reddy does prescribe colonoscopies for people of all ages who have symptoms such as rectal bleeding that they cant diagnose with a different problem.
If youre not satisfied that your doctor has properly evaluated your symptoms, its smart to get a second opinion or even a third.
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