What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Why did I get hemorrhoids?
- What is the best treatment for me?
- What lifestyle changes can I make to keep from getting hemorrhoids again?
- When will symptoms improve?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
An estimated 15 million Americans have sought treatments for hemorrhoids at some point in their lives. But many more suffer needlessly. Dont be too embarrassed to talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms. If hemorrhoids cause pain or discomfort, your provider has treatments that can help. You can also take steps to keep hemorrhoids from coming back.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/18/2021.
Who Is At Risk For Colorectal Cancer
Every one of us is at risk for colorectal cancer. Although the exact cause for the development of precancerous colon polyps that lead to colorectal cancer is not known, there are some factors that increase a person’s risk of developing colorectal polyps and cancer. These risk factors include:
- Age: The risk of developing colorectal polyps and cancer increases as we age. Colorectal cancer is more common in people over the age of 50, however, younger adults can also develop colorectal cancer.
- Other medical conditions: Medical conditions and inherited conditions can increase your chances of developing colorectal cancer.
- Lifestyle factors: You may be at increased risk for developing colorectal cancer if you drink alcohol, use tobacco, don’t get enough exercise, and/or if you are overweight. Smoking increases the risk of precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer. A diet high in fat and calories and low in fiber, fruits and vegetables has been linked to a greater risk of developing colorectal cancer. Many lifestyle factors that increase the risk of colorectal cancer can be modified to lessen that risk.
What Blood In Your Stool May Mean
In general germs, having blood in your stool means theres bleeding somewhere along your digestive tract. What the blood in your stool looks like provides information about where the bleeding may be happening.
The appearance of bright-red blood or maroon-colored stool usually means bleeding is occuring in the lower portion of your digestive tract. This type of bleeding may mean you have:
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Blood In The Stool Is A Sign Of Bleeding From Your Intestinal Tract While Blood In The Stool Is Common It Is Never Normal
You may see bright red blood dripping into the toilet bowl or on toilet paper after wiping. Blood may also streak the stool or sometimes it can be mixed into the stool. Hemorrhoids are the most common reason for bright red rectal bleeding but the diagnosis should never be assumed without a thorough physical examination.
What Is Rectal Bleeding
Looking down into a toilet and seeing blood can be alarming. Your mind might go to many places as alarm bells ring that something is wrong. This is often rectal bleeding. A symptom of many different medical conditions, rectal bleeding can vary from being mild to being a sign of a serious condition like colorectal cancer. If youre experiencing rectal bleeding, you might see blood in a few different ways on your toilet paper as you wipe, in the water of the toilet bowl or in your poop. It can be different colors, ranging from bright red to a dark maroon to black.
The color of blood you see can actually indicate where the bleeding might be coming from.
- Bright red blood usually means bleeding thats low in your colon or rectum.
- Dark red or maroon blood can mean that you have bleeding higher in the colon or in the small bowel.
- Melena often points to bleeding in the stomach, such as bleeding from ulcers.
Sometimes, rectal bleeding isnt visible to the naked eye and can only be seen through a microscope. This type of bleeding is usually found during a lab test of a stool sample.
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Continue To Stay Active
One of the main causes of hemorrhoids is closely related to staying seated for long periods of time. It is crucial to stay active. This can relieve the stress and pressure on the anus. You can use the CareClinic app to add and track your daily activity. You can create an activity plan and ensure that you stick to it. Daily check-ins with the Care Plan is a great way to do so!
Whats The Difference Between A Flexible Sigmoidoscopy And A Colonoscopy
Both procedures are screening tools for colon cancer. A sigmoidoscopy is less invasive. It allows your healthcare provider to see only the lower part of the colon. With a colonoscopy, your healthcare provider can examine all of the large intestine. If the flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure reveals polyps in your lower colon, your healthcare provider can remove them. Youll need a colonoscopy next. During a colonoscopy, your healthcare provider can remove additional polyps before they turn cancerous.
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Unexplained Weight Loss Loss Of Appetite And Feeling Weak
Losing weight, losing your appetite or feeling weak are all possible signs of colon or rectal cancer along with many other unrelated conditions. In patients with colon or rectal cancer, these symptoms are usually related. Persistent diarrhea can cause weight loss. Stomach pain and nausea can reduce your appetite so that you dont consume enough food to maintain your weight. All these issues, as well as anemia, can lead to weakness.
Signs Of Anal Skin Tags
Skin tags are not hemorrhoids, but they can be left behind after an external hemorrhoid has healed. Skin tags appear after the skin is stretched, such as by an external hemorrhoid. Once the hemorrhoid has resolved itself, the skin may remain stretched, resulting in a skin tag.
Skin tags are benign, but it is advisable to get any lump checked by a doctor to get confirmation of that.
Skin tags have the following characteristics:
- Small bumps or raised areas
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Medical Procedures For Hemorrhoid Treatment
Sometimes there are cases in which home remedies cannot resolve hemorrhoids immediately. This can be due to various factors, including the persistence of symptoms or even the prolapse of the hemorrhoid itself.
There are a number of small treatment options which are less painful than a hemorrhoid removal . These options also allow for faster recovery times. Such procedures are performed in a hospital by surgeons.
Signs Of Thrombosed Hemorrhoids
A thrombosed hemorrhoid is a hemorrhoid that has developed a blood clot inside. This can happen to both external and internal hemorrhoids. Signs and symptoms of a thrombosed hemorrhoid include:]
- Sudden onset of pain
- Constant pain following sudden onset of pain
Thrombosed hemorrhoids have the following characteristics:
- Blue or purple in color
- A lump or bulge
A thrombosed hemorrhoid will often hurt, but are not generally dangerous.
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How Is Colorectal Cancer Diagnosed
Colorectal cancer can be diagnosed by a variety of tests. This condition can be diagnosed after you show symptoms or if your caregiver finds something during a screening test that is not normal.
During the diagnosis process, your doctor may do the following tests:
- Blood tests
Routine screening tests are done before you show any symptoms. These tests are detailed above.
Different Types Of Hemorrhoids
There are 2 ways in which hemorrhoids can develop. Internal hemorrhoids occur in the lower rectum and develop inside the rectum. Usually, you cannot see nor feel them and they cause little discomfort. However, they may be irritation and pain when pooping. The symptoms can be as follows:
- Noticing some bright red blood in stool
- Irritation and pain when pooping
External hemorrhoids are painful because the skin over it can become irritated and eroded. You may feel sudden, sharp and acute pains if a blood clot forms inside of an external hemorrhoid. You may notice the external hemorrhoid when you see or feel a bump around or near the anus. The following symptoms may occur:
- Feeling itchy and/or irritation near the anal region
- Discomfort and/or pain when pooping
- Swelling around your anus
In summary, hemorrhoids are the bloated blood vessels which form either externally or internally .
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Track Blood In Stool And Other Symptoms
CareClinics care plan is an all inclusive way for you to track your symptoms and other aspects of your wellness. You can keep track of the medicine that you are taking for your hemorrhoids, your physical activity plan and your nutritional plan. Additionally, use the app to track your symptoms such as the occurrence of blood in stool, rectal bleeding and pain when pooping.
You can also jot down any ideas or recommendations you have received for foods to help with constipation. Use the app to easily take note of any home remedies blood in stool. If you experience constipation and/or chronic diarrhea, this can be tracked with the Symptom Tracker. This way, a visit to the doctor can be fruitful as you now have an accurate recount of all your symptoms and issues on a daily basis!
When To See A Doctor
Although a hemorrhoid isn’t a necessarily a serious condition and most symptoms will resolve on their own without intervention, it’s important to see your doctor if your symptoms persist longer than a few days or recur frequently. Bleeding during a bowel movement is usually the most common symptom. However, some conditions or diseases that are more serious, such as colorectal or anal cancer, can mimic the symptoms of a hemorrhoid. Your doctor can help rule these conditions out through a physical exam and additional testing. Your doctor can also help to ease your hemorrhoid symptoms, including excessive bleeding, if they’re painful or don’t improve over time. Call your doctor right away if you’re having excessive rectal bleeding, dizziness, or lightheadedness.
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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.
Will Rectal Bleeding Go Away On Its Own
Depending on the cause of the bleeding, your rectal bleeding can actually stop on its own. However, you need to pay attention to your body and keep track of the bleeding. If it happens one time and then stops, take note of it, but it most likely isnt an emergency. If you have heavy rectal bleeding or are regularly seeing blood, reach out to your healthcare provider to get immediate care. Its always a good idea to let your healthcare provider know about any rectal bleeding you have experienced.
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What If I Have A Family History Of Colorectal Cancer
Your doctor may recommend earlier screening for colorectal cancer if you have a family history of the condition. To determine the appropriate age to start screening, your doctor will discuss all of your risk factors with you. These risk factors can include a family or personal history of polyps, a history of cancer in the abdomen, and a history of inflammatory bowel disease.
Some studies have found that having a first-degree relative with colorectal cancer puts you at a risk that is 2-3 times higher than someone without a first-degree relative with colorectal cancer. A first-degree relative is defined as your mother, your father, your brother or sister, and your child. Your risk can also be higher if you have other people in your family with colorectal cancer, even if they are not first-degree relatives. They could be grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, even grandchildren.
The age at which any relative is diagnosed is also important. The risk to you is more significant when the relative is diagnosed before age 45.
About 75% of people who do get colorectal cancer do not get it because of genetics. About 10% to 30% do have a family history of the disease.
My Hemorrhoids Have Bright Red Blood
Bleeding after a bowel movement is normal and you shouldnt panic. Hard stools are often the cause of the bright red blood left behind after a bowel movement.
You may see this bright red blood on your stool or on the toilet paper after wiping or dripping directly into the bowl of the toilet after a bowel movement.
Fortunately, internal hemorrhoids are painless. The nerves in the lower rectum dont sense pain like the other nerve endings in our body. Hemorrhoid bleeding is widespread with internal hemorrhoids.
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Changes In Bowel Habits
Changes in bowel habits that can indicate colon or rectal cancer include the following:
New-onset constipation or diarrhea
Changes in frequency or size and caliber of bowel movements
A bowel that doesnt seem to empty completely
Stool that is narrower than normal
Occasional bowel changes can be caused by a dietary change, disagreeable food or a viral/bacterial infection. However, if you are experiencing something new and unexplainedand it lasts more than a couple of dayssee your doctor.
5 Things Your Poop Can Tell You About Your Health
Ever curious what bowel changes could signal about your health? Poop may be a gross topic that no one likes to talk about, but taking a quick peek before you flush may give you clues about your health.
Is Blood In Stool Hemorrhoids Or Cancer
Rectal bleeding is usually the sign of the general ailment of hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are so common that nearly half of American adults over the age of 50 have hemorrhoids or have previously experienced them.
However, consulting with a physician or hemorrhoid doctor is very important and something we recommend.
The truth is, we all have hemorrhoids, as they are the veins in the lower region of the rectum. The problem arises when they become swollen, damaged, or inflamed.
Having hemorrhoids is not necessarily life-threatening, and hemorrhoids typically go away on their own after just a few days. Maintaining a healthy and fibrous diet can prevent hemorrhoid flare-ups.
Colon cancer, on the other hand, typically comes with a slew of other symptoms, and these symptoms will arise suspicion.
Vomiting, sudden weight loss, change in your daily bowel habits, abdominal painall of these symptoms usually accompany the rectal bleeding and should help you realize that something is amiss.
Of course, rectal bleeding may indicate other lower intestinal issues like IBS, be sure to let your doctor know all of the symptoms you are experiencing.
Regardless of whether or not your rectal bleeding is from the typical issue of hemorrhoids, you should tell your doctor. Depending on your age and other hereditary and genetic factors, rectal bleeding could be a sign of something more serious than hemorrhoids.
Your doctor may want to do additional examinations only to be sure.
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What Treatments Are Available For Patients With High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Without treatment, you can have a transient ischemic attack or stroke, heart attack, enlarged heart, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease , aneurysms, kidney disease, and broken blood vessels in your eyes. Treatment includes making changes recommended by your healthcare provider.
Diet and lifestyle changes:
- Reach and stay at your ideal body weight
- Get regular exercise
- Eat a well-balanced, heart healthy diet that is low in salt, fat and cholesterol, and contains lots of fresh fruits and vegetables*
- *Your diet is an important part of blood pressure control. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension eating plan and limiting sodium help control blood pressure. Ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian for a more personalized eating plan. More information is available from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at www.nhlbi.nih.gov or the American Heart Association at www.americanheart.org*
Medications and follow-up care:
What Parts Of The Body Are Affected By Colorectal Cancer
To understand colorectal cancer, it is helpful to understand what parts of the body are affected and how they work.
The colon is an approximately 5- to 6-foot long tube that connects the small intestine to the rectum. The colonwhich along with the rectum is called the large intestinemoves and processes digesting food across your body and down towards the rectum, where it exits the body as stool. There are several parts of the colon, including:
- Ascending colon: This section is where undigested food begins its journey through the colon. Undigested food moves upwards through this section, where fluid is reabsorbed more efficiently.
- Transverse colon: Moving across the body, the transverse colon takes the food from one side of the body to the other .
- Descending colon: Once the food has travelled across the top through the transverse colon, it makes its way downward through the descending colontypically on the left side.
- Sigmoid colon: The final section of the colon, this portion is shaped like an S and it is the last stop before the rectum.
The rectum is a 5- to 6-inch chamber that connects the colon to the anus. It is the job of the rectum to act as a storage unit and hold the stool until defecation occurs.
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