How To Tell If You Have Internal Hemorrhoids
This article was co-authored by Chris M. Matsko, MD. Dr. Chris M. Matsko is a retired physician based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With over 25 years of medical research experience, Dr. Matsko was awarded the Pittsburgh Cornell University Leadership Award for Excellence. He holds a BS in Nutritional Science from Cornell University and an MD from the Temple University School of Medicine in 2007. Dr. Matsko earned a Research Writing Certification from the American Medical Writers Association in 2016 and a Medical Writing & Editing Certification from the University of Chicago in 2017.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 107,701 times.
Hemorrhoids are enlarged veins that can be found either externally or internally around the anus. They are caused by increased pressure on the pelvic and rectal veins and are related to constipation, diarrhea, and straining to pass a stool. Internal hemorrhoids can be difficult to self diagnose, but there are some signs and symptoms that you can be aware of.
Symptoms Of Internal Hemorrhoids
Symptoms of internal hemorrhoids vary depending on their severity. Even as hemorrhoids worsen, you arent likely to experience pain due to the lack of nerve endings in the lower rectal area. Pain associated with hemorrhoids is typically caused by an associated condition, such as anal fissures or external hemorrhoids.
If you cant feel internal hemorrhoids, then how do you know theyre there?
In most cases, its because you begin to notice bleeding. You may see blood in your stool or notice it on the toilet paper when you wipe. Because this blood has a short path to travel outside the body, it should be bright red. You may not notice it right away if the bleeding is light.
While bleeding is the most common indicator of internal hemorrhoids, you may experience other symptoms if a hemorrhoid prolapses. This typically happens during a bowel movement, and in many cases, the tissue will go back in on its own. In other cases, you may have to push the tissue back in. In the case of Grade IV hemorrhoids, the tissue will remain prolapsed.
Its important to note that bleeding is also a common symptom of colorectal cancer, as well as internal hemorrhoids. Thats why we recommend you see a physician right away if you are experiencing any rectal bleeding, especially if it is accompanied by other suspect symptoms.
Only a qualified physician can accurately diagnose internal hemorrhoids.
You can help prevent hemorrhoids by
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
How Serious Are My Hemorrhoids
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, but typically,doctors will recommend conservativeoptions first.
Mild or occasional rectal bleeding may respond to changes in dietary habits, like upping your dietary fiber and drinking more water, Dr. Zutshi says. For periodic anal irritation caused by inflamed hemorrhoids, over-the-counter skin protective creams and warm sitz baths may help.
There are also some simple, in-office treatments for mild, on-and-off bleeding from internal hemorrhoids. Rubber band ligation is a commonly used procedure that involves placing little rubber bands above a hemorrhoid to cut off the blood supply. The hemorrhoid then shrinks and falls off.
This procedure is usually only used on smaller hemorrhoids,Dr. Zutshi explains. But larger internal hemorrhoids can still be easilytreated with minimally invasive surgery.
If the issue is large internal and external hemorrhoids, a more invasive surgery might be necessary. However, if its only skin tags, which are residual hemorrhoid tags, these are usually not treated, Dr. Zutshi says, as trimming them off is very painful, and residual bulges may still persist.
Occasionally, external hemorrhoids become very painful whenthey develop a clot in them, she explains. This is called a thrombosed hemorrhoid.If you see your doctor within a few days of onset, the clots can be removed,Dr. Zutshi says. Otherwise it takes a few weeks for the swelling and pain tosettle down.
Recommended Reading: Can External Hemorrhoids Be Removed Without Surgery
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Do You Really Have Hemorrhoids
Many people who experience pain, irritation or anything outof the ordinary in the anal region probably assume its a hemorrhoid. But dontgo reaching for the medicated cream or pads just yet. Manyother conditions could be the culprit, including anal fissure, analwarts, an infection, anal cancer in serious cases, or even just a cut.
Work with a doctor to rule out those things and determinewhat treatment you need.
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How Long Does Thrombosed Hemorrhoid Pain Last
Thrombosed hemorrhoids can be very painful. How long the pain lasts depends on what action you take to treat these hemorrhoids.
A surgical procedure is often performed within three days of the onset of thrombosed hemorrhoids.
While you may still experience pain after hemorrhoid surgery, you should notice a substantial difference.
Pain of thrombosed hemorrhoids should subside within seven to ten days when no treatment is provided.
Make sure you do not lift anything heavy after your surgery . A very common procedure for thrombosed hemorrhoids is called banding.
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How Do Hemorrhoids Form
We dont always know what causes hemorrhoids. But they usually develop when too much pressure is placed on the veins around the rectum or anus. When someone has constipation or diarrhea, it can cause straining that leads to this pressure to develop. This can also happen if their bowel isnt functioning properly from using laxatives or enemas too often.
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How To Make Hemorrhoids Go Away Effectively
As you know that hemorrhoids will not go away naturally without getting a curing method properly. There are several ways to treat hemorrhoids.
You can prevent them from occurring and if they already occur, you can attempt at getting rid of them. The following are several hemorrhoids that are known to be effective.
What To Expect At Your Appointment
Your doctor will diagnose whether you have hemorrhoids based on symptoms and a digital rectal exam, which involves inserting a gloved finger into the rectum to feel for swollen veins. He or she or he may also examine the anal canal with an anoscope, a small, rigid, tubular instrument. If thereâs bleeding, your doctor may schedule a flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.
If the diagnosis confirms hemorrhoids, your doctor may prescribe medications that can reduce the swelling of the anal area and produce an easier bowel movement. Other options are coagulation, a beam of infrared light that destroys internal hemorrhoids and rubber-band litigation, which shrinks the hemorrhoids by cutting off blood circulation to it.
Surgery, where the excess tissue causing the blood is removed, is only required in a small number of hemorrhoids cases. Such removal is known as hemorrhoidectomy.
In any event, if the symptoms donât go away, Dr. Dacha urges people to see a doctor, not only to confirm a diagnosis of hemorrhoids, but also to eliminate other possible diseases.
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What Does A Small Hemorrhoid Look Like
Many small hemorrhoids go undetected. Internal hemorrhoids that are small are not visible. They may bleed during bowel movements, this being the only indication that you have hemorrhoids.
External hemorrhoids that are small may still go undetected. They form as pillow-like, soft lumps around the opening of the anus. Usually, internal hemorrhoids that have not prolapsed exhibit little to no hemorrhoid pain.
It is common for a thrombosed hemorrhoid to burst and bleed. The clot will usually only bleed for about 10 seconds.
They often go away on their own without treatment. It is not until an external hemorrhoid becomes increasingly prolapsed that they can be easily felt or seen. Small hemorrhoids have been compared to the size of a pea.
What Is The Difference: Anal Fissures Vs Hemorrhoids
One of the main differences between anal fissures and hemorrhoids is that anal fissures tend to only show symptoms during bowel movements, while hemorrhoids tend to be painful throughout the day. Without an examination, this difference in symptoms is usually very telling of what condition the patient is suffering from.
Another big difference is that the majority of anal fissures do not require surgery and can typically be resolved with stool softeners and a high-fiber diet. Meanwhile, hemorrhoids typically require at least a noninvasive procedure.
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Causes And Risk Factors Of Hemorrhoids
You may be more likely to get hemorrhoids if other family members, like your parents, had them.
Pressure building up in your lower rectum can affect blood flow and make the veins there swell. That may happen from:
- Pushing during bowel movements
- Anal sex
People who stand or sit for long stretches of time are at greater risk, too.
What Do Hemorrhoids Look Like
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins that develop in the lining of the anal and rectal cavity. External hemorrhoids, being the only type visible to the naked eye, are the easiest to spot. These hemorrhoids look like small bulbs or growths of skin that stick out of the anal sphincter.
The color of hemorrhoids is typically the same as that of your skin, but may be red or blue depending on the severity. The size of the hemorrhoid will also vary depending on the severity.
You will only see an internal hemorrhoid with the help of an endoscopic camera, such as that is used in a colonoscopy. An image of internal hemorrhoids will show small growths sticking out of the lining of the anal cavity.
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How To Know If You Have Hemorrhoids
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Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are clusters of swollen veins in the anus at the lowest part of the rectum. A fairly common condition in adults, by the age of 50 about half of men and women will experience the itching, rectal pain and bleeding associated with these bulging blood vessels. While not necessarily dangerous, the reoccurring swelling, irritation, bleeding and pain make hemorrhoids an uncomfortable condition.
While hemorrhoids can often be treated with over-the-counter medications, it is important to see a doctor if you experience bleeding, or feel a lump in the anal area, to rule out more serious causes.
What Happens If You Leave Hemorrhoids Untreated
Basically, youre leaving piles untreated and risk them getting worse and ultimately more problematic. If the hemorrhoid is small and treated soon then it may continue to get smaller until it eventually goes away but if a hemorrhoid is left untreated then over time it could become bigger and potentially cause more problems such as bleeding and discomfort.
Just because youve been given advice on how to treat piles doesnt mean that you can ignore them and put them off for later, as the longer you leave hemorrhoid untreated then the more likely it is that it could become more problematic.
If hemorrhoid persists for longer than 4 weeks or other symptoms such as pain and bleeding become apparent, please seek medical attention as soon as possible. Piles may not be life-threatening but it doesnt mean that they cant or wont become more problematic and this is why its so important to treat them sooner than later and take any necessary precautions for the future.
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What Do Hemorrhoids Feel Like To Touch
Hemorrhoids usually feel wet to touch. This is because the veins are broken and damaged. Dont touch your hemorrhoids with your bare hands.
The last thing you want to do is touch your hemorrhoids and pass germs on to them.
If a hemorrhoid gets infected, that can be a problem. If you have to touch your hemorrhoids make sure your hands are clean.
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Can Hemorrhoids Be Prevented
Hemorrhoids cant always be avoided, but the steps to help prevent hemorrhoids are similar to the ones I recommend for coping with them:
- Sit on the toilet if you have the urge to go, but not longer. Try not to spend more than 10 or 15 minutes having a bowel movement and avoid straining or forcing. If youre having trouble going, its better to get up and try again later than to simply keep sitting there.
- Limit distractions. Its fine to read or look at your phone while youre sitting on the toilet for a few minutes. Just set a timer so you dont end up staying there for too long.
- Eat more fiber. If youre regularly having trouble going, adding more high-fiber foods to your diet can help. So can limiting your intake of low-fiber foods like cheese, meat, ice cream, fast food, and highly processed snacks.
- Avoid heavy lifting when possible. Straining to lift can put excess pressure on the rectal and anal veins.
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Add Fiber To Your Diet
Adding fiber to your diet can help relieve constipation by making stools softer and easier to pass. To increase your fiber intake, your healthcare provider may recommend a bulking agent, such as psyllium. This is a high-fiber supplement available at most grocery stores and drugstores. Eating more fiber-rich foods will also help. There are two types of fiber:
Insoluble fiber is the main ingredient in bulking agents. Its also found in foods such as wheat bran, whole-grain breads, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
Soluble fiber is found in foods such as oat bran. Although soluble fiber is good for you, it may not ease constipation as much as foods high in insoluble fiber.
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How To Tell If You Have Hemorrhoids
You may shudder at the word hemorrhoid for many reasons. Perhaps you have experienced hemorrhoids first-hand, or have heard about them from someone who has experienced them. No matter the circumstance, you may not like to talk about it. However, hemorrhoids are quite common in middle and later life.1 In fact, most people by age 50 have experienced one or more of the symptoms of hemorrhoids, which include rectal pain, itching, and bleeding.2
If youve been wondering how to tell if you have hemorrhoids, here we explain more about the common causes and symptoms one can experience if they do have hemorrhoids. Read on to learn more about hemorrhoids and what to do if you have them.
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Its Crucial To Rule Out Other Problems Besides Hemorrhoids
Most people who have hemorrhoids discover them by either feeling the lump of an external hemorrhoid when they wipe after a bowel movement noticing drops of blood in the toilet bowl or on toilet paper or
feeling a prolapsing hemorrhoid after bowel movements.
With a history of symptoms, physicians like those of us at Alabama Colon & Rectal Institute, can make an accurate diagnosis on the basis of an examination of the anus and anal area. We want to identify the hemorrhoids, but its also very important that we rule out other causes of hemorrhoid-like symptoms, such as: anal fissures, fistulae, bowel disorders like ulcerative colitis, blood coagulation disorders, perianal skin diseases, infections, and tumors.
We want to stress that you should not assume that rectal bleeding is due to hemorrhoids, especially if you are over 40 years of age. Rectal bleeding can occur with other diseases, including colorectal cancer and anal cancer. If you have bleeding along with a noticeable change in bowel habits or if your stools change in color or consistency, consult your doctor. These types of stools can signal more extensive bleeding elsewhere in your digestive tract. Seek emergency care if you experience large amounts of rectal bleeding, lightheadedness, dizziness or faintness.
What we can do about hemorrhoids & what to expect at your appointment
Prevention & treatment for hemorrhoids
Blood Clots In The Hemorrhoid
External hemorrhoids can be very painful if they become thrombosed. Thrombosed hemorrhoids usually appear purple-blue on light skin and grey, black, or dark brown on dark skin.
A thrombosed hemorrhoid occurs when the veins that cause the bulge in the hemorrhoid develop a blood clot. As a result, blood cannot flow to the hemorrhoid, and the effect can be excruciating.
The body will often absorb the blood clot in time, reducing the symptoms and easing the pain.
When the blood clot passes or the body reabsorbs it, an external hemorrhoid may sometimes leave behind a
- ascites, which is a buildup of fluid that places extra pressure on the stomach and intestines
Hemorrhoids are one of the most common medical conditions, and the likelihood of developing them increases with age. The reason for this is that the tissues lining the anus and sphincter become thinner and less able to withstand pressure from pushing and straining.
External hemorrhoids are different than other hemorrhoid types, mostly due to their location. Internal hemorrhoids, for example, are inside the rectum. They are usually painless but may bleed.
Prolapsed hemorrhoids are internal hemorrhoids that sometimes bulge outside of the anus. It is possible to push these hemorrhoids back inside, but they may go back in without intervention.
External hemorrhoids protrude from the anus. They tend to cause more pain than internal hemorrhoids because the outside of the anus is more sensitive than the inside.
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