Things That Increase Your Risk
- Constipation or diarrhea that does not go away. These conditions may lead to straining with bowel movements.
- Being overweight
- A family history of hemorrhoids. You may inherit the tendency to get them.
- Being age 50 or older. Half of people who are older than 50 seek treatment for hemorrhoids.
- Pregnancy and labour and delivery. As the fetus grows during the last 6 months of pregnancy, blood volume and pressure on pelvic blood vessels increase. The strain of labour also can cause hemorrhoids to start or get worse.
- Liver disease, heart disease, or both. These conditions may cause blood to back up in the pelvis and abdomen.
Anal Fissures Vs Hemorrhoids: The Difference & Treatment Options
If your rear is sore and uncomfortable, I feel your pain. This problem is certainly an unpleasant one, and the sooner you can get it resolved, the better.
The question is: Whats causing the discomfort? Read on to learn about anal fissures vs. hemorrhoids to get a handle on which is giving you trouble. Then, find out what you can do to find relief.
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Differentiating Between The Two
The symptoms of a fissure and a hemorrhoid can be similar. Either can cause pain, itching and bleeding. However, if you are in pain and don’t feel an external lump, the condition is more likely to be a fissure. If you notice that you are leaking mucus from your anus, the problem is probably a hemorrhoid.
The best way to settle the question of anal fissures vs. hemorrhoids is to see a doctor, who will perform an examination using anoscopy. This involves looking at the area with a special tool.
You might also be referred to a specialist to perform an internal examination. The procedure, called sigmoidoscopy, examines both your rectum and part of your colon with a lighted instrument.
Your symptoms could also be the result of a more serious condition, such as an infection, an abscess or cancer. Before trying to self-treat, have a doctor rule out these other possibilities.
How Is Rectal Bleeding Diagnosed
Your doctor will start by asking you about your symptoms. Questions may include when you first noticed the bleeding, related symptoms youre experiencing, and what color the blood is.
- Visual or physical exam. The doctor will look or feel to check the affected area. This can include inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the anus to check for abnormalities, such as hemorrhoids.
- Endoscopic procedures. The doctor inserts a thin, flexible lighted scope with a camera into the anus. This allows the doctor to view the area. Examples include a sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy.
- Blood tests. A complete blood count can help assess the extent of the bleeding and show if anemia is present.
- Stool tests. These can show if theres bleeding that isnt visible.
- Gastric lavage. If the doctor suspects the problem may lie in the stomach, they may pass a tube through the nose into the stomach to remove the contents and try to locate the site of any bleeding.
- Imaging tests. This could be a scan or an X-ray, possibly with a contrasting agent, such as barium.
Rectal bleeding treatments depend on the cause and severity.
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How To Tell If You Have Hemorrhoids
Almost three out of four adults have hemorrhoids but most get relief with home treatments and changes in their lifestyle.
How to tell if you have hemorrhoids can be diagnosed in many ways, if you are feeling pain in the rectal area and lumps around the anus you probably suffer from hemorrhoids. Another sign is if you see blood in the toilet or on the tissue. Hemorrhoids do not necessarily need to be painful in the early stages.
Hemorrhoids often occur due to increase pressure during pregnancy, overweight or constipation, or straining during a bowel movement. In midlife, hemorrhoid becomes a frequent complaint. Approximately half the population of people at the age of 50 have experienced several classic symptoms such as itching, rectal pain as well as bleeding and prolapse, which is a hemorrhoid that protrudes via the anal canal. How to tell if you have hemorrhoids is critical for your health however, hemorrhoids are not that dangerous, but they can become recurrent and very painful. Likely, there are ways in which you can tackle hemorrhoids. In this article, we shall be discussing how to tell if you have hemorrhoids. For more information on how to know if You have hemorrhoids check thisblogout and for info on how long does it take hemorrhoids to go away read thisarticle.
Learn what the early signs for hemorrhoids are to avoid getting them!
A Physical Exam Is Usually Done To Make A Hemorrhoids Diagnosis
Hemorrhoids may feel embarrassing to address, which is why many people try to diagnose themselves and avoid seeing a healthcare provider. However, its important to see a healthcare provider to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. Hemorrhoids can have symptoms similar to other, more serious conditions, and those should be ruled out before assuming symptoms are from hemorrhoid. In most cases, hemorrhoids can be easily diagnosed with a history and a physical exam.
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When Youre At Greater Risk
Hemorrhoids definitely have a genetic component. If you had parents with the swollen veins, youll likely develop them at some point, too. If youre obese or do a lot of heavy lifting, hemorrhoids can develop. If you experience chronic constipation or strain often during bowel movements, you may end up with hemorrhoids. Pregnancy can also be a time at which youre more susceptible to developing hemorrhoids.
What Can You Do For Relief
If you have hemorrhoids, lifestyle changes may help them heal faster. One cause of hemorrhoids is straining during bowel movements. Adding more high-fiber foods to your diet, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, can help soften your stool and make it easier to pass.
You should also drink plenty of water to help relieve constipation and reduce straining during bowel movements.
Here are some additional things that may help relieve symptoms:
- Minimize the time you sit on the toilet.
- When you feel the urge to move your bowels, go as soon as possible.
- Put your feet on a small stool during bowel movements to change the position of your rectum.
- If youre pregnant, sleep on your side. This will help relieve some of the pressure around your anus.
- Ask your doctor about taking a stool softener or a fiber supplement, such as psyllium or methylcellulose . A tablespoon of mineral oil added to food can also help soften stools.
- Keep the anal area clean. Take regular showers, and use moist wipes to clean the area around your anus after you pass a bowel movement.
- Use a sitz bath or sit in a warm tub for a few minutes to bathe the anal area.
You may also try using over-the-counter topical medications to ease discomfort, such as phenylephrine hemorrhoidal gel . These products are used if the hemorrhoids are bulging and inflamed.
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What Causes Hemorrhoids
Traditionally, hemorrhoids are associated with chronic constipation, straining during bowel movements, and prolonged sitting on the toilet all of which interfere with blood flow to and from the area, causing it to pool and enlarge the vessels. This also explains why hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy, when the enlarging uterus presses on the veins.
More recent studies show that patients with hemorrhoids tend to have a higher resting anal canal tone that is, the smooth muscle of the anal canal tends to be tighter than average . Constipation adds to these troubles, because straining during a bowel movement increases pressure in the anal canal and pushes the hemorrhoids against the sphincter muscle. Finally, the connective tissues that support and hold hemorrhoids in place can weaken with age, causing hemorrhoids to bulge and prolapse.
Do You Have Hemorrhoids
If you have any of the symptoms that have been described, then you may have hemorrhoids. If so dont ignore these symptoms, especially if you are experiencing occasional or frequent rectal bleeding.
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Talk with a physician and have them diagnosed or rule out other serious conditions which these symptoms could potentially be indicative of. Your health is very important, be wise and take care of yourself.
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Procedures For Hemorrhoids Treatment
Some hemorrhoids can’t be managed with conservative treatments alone, either because symptoms persist or because an internal hemorrhoid has prolapsed. Fortunately, a number of minimally invasive hemorrhoid treatments are available that are less painful than traditional hemorrhoid removal and allow a quicker recovery. These procedures are generally performed in a surgeon’s office or as outpatient surgery in a hospital.
Band it. The most commonly used hemorrhoid treatment in the United States is rubber band ligation, in which a small elastic band is placed around the base of a hemorrhoid . The band causes the hemorrhoid to shrink and the surrounding tissue to scar as it heals, holding the hemorrhoid in place. It takes two to four procedures, done six to eight weeks apart, to completely eliminate the hemorrhoid. Complications, which are rare, include mild pain or tightness , bleeding, and infection. Other office procedures include laser or infrared coagulation, sclerotherapy, and cryosurgery. They all work on the same principle as rubber band ligation but are not quite as effective in preventing recurrence. Side effects and recurrence vary with the procedure, so consult your physician about what’s best for your situation.
Signs Of Internal Hemorrhoids
Internal hemorrhoids are the most common type of hemorrhoid. These swellings develop inside the anal canal.
Small hemorrhoids stay inside the anal canal and cannot be seen or felt by the person affected by them. Larger hemorrhoids may fall outside the anus in a process called prolapse, often during a bowel movement or while the buttocks are being wiped. Hemorrhoids which prolapse may go back inside the anal canal on their own or may be pushed back in by the affected person.
Internal hemorrhoids generally cause no pain. Noticeable signs and symptoms of internal hemorrhoids include:
- Bright red blood in feces, on toilet paper after wiping, or in the toilet bowl
- Bodily tissue falling outside the anus, i.e., prolapse
- Mucal or fecal discharge
- A feeling of not having fully evacuated the bowels
Additional signs of a prolapsed internal hemorrhoid include:
- Itching around the anus, i.e.,pruritus ani
- A lump felt outside the anus
An internal hemorrhoid cannot be seen unless it prolapses. A prolapsed internal hemorrhoid has the following characteristics:
- Approximately the size of a grape
- A rubbery texture
- Skin colored or of reddish appearance
- Can usually be pushed inside the anus
- There may be more than one
If an internal hemorrhoid cannot be pushed back into the anus, it may become trapped by the sphincter muscle. This is called a strangulated hemorrhoid and can cause severe pain.
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When Do I Need To See A Health Care Provider For Hemorrhoids
You should see your health care provider if you
- Still have symptoms after 1 week of at-home treatment
- Have bleeding from your rectum. Hemorrhoids are a common cause of bleeding, but other conditions can also cause bleeding. They include Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, colorectal cancer, and anal cancer. So its important to see your provider to find the cause of the bleeding.
Keep Your Bowels Moving
The most important thing is to make sure youre not constipated and having to bear down when you go to the bathroom, Ramas says. Constipation can both lead to hemorrhoid flare-ups and make them last longer.
Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water not alcohol and caffeine. These tend to dehydrate, which is the opposite of what you want.
I found out that dairy was a huge culprit for me, Adams says, so I cut it out a little bit, and I had good results.
Add fiber to your diet with fresh fruit, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, and bran. Its about fueling your body appropriately and giving yourself the nutrients that your body needs to function effectively, Ramas says. Your doctor might also want you to take psyllium husk supplements.
Exercise can help keep you regular, too.
And when you feel the need to go, dont wait. You want to have a bowel movement as quickly and efficiently as possible, she says.
Adams used a foot stool that wraps around the toilet to put her in a squatting position. Its like an ergonomic way to poop, Ramas says. If that helps some people, thats definitely OK.
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How Are Haemorrhoids Diagnosed
Diagnosis of haemorrhoids usually involves an examination of the anal passage to look for any swollen blood vessels. Your doctor may conduct one of the following tests.
- Digital rectal examination, where your doctor puts on gloves and places a lubricated finger inside the back passage to gently feel for any abnormalities. This is likely to be uncomfortable but will probably not be painful.
- Proctoscopy, where your doctor examines the inside of the rectum using a proctoscope to look for any swelling or other symptoms. Again, this may be uncomfortable but will probably not be painful.
There is no need to feel embarrassed about these tests haemorrhoids are a common problem and your doctor is used to diagnosing and treating them.
In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a surgeon who can assess your haemorrhoids and recommend a treatment.
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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When To Call Your Doctor
Even if you think it’s from hemorrhoids, you should call your doctor about any rectal bleeding. It’s also a symptom of colon polyps, colitis, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, and colorectal cancer. Anal fissures can also cause pain and bleeding. So you’ll want to make sure you get the right diagnosis and treatment.
If your hemorrhoids are very painful or aren’t getting better after you’ve tried treating them yourself, let your doctor know.
Blood From Hemorrhoids Or Colon Cancer
Hemorrhoidal bleeding can present with blood on the toilet paper after wiping due to the location of hemorrhoids close to the anal sphincter, says Dr. Sengupta.
Stools themselves are not bloody because the stool is formed in the colon .
Colon cancer can be present with bloody stools because the stool has time to mix with blood in the colon.
Blood on toilet paper can also be caused by any of the following:
Irritated anal skin tag Postmenopausal vaginal atrophy Postmenopausal urethral atrophy
The above four possible sources of minute bleeding can be aggravated by aggressive wiping or by using a paper towel to wipe rather than gentler tissue paper.
However, any rectal bleeding should be evaluated by a physician or gastroenterologist to determine whether any diagnostic testing is necessary to exclude a serious cause of bleeding, says Dr. Sengupta.
Another serious cause other than colon cancer or an ulcer is Crohns disease.
A bleeding hemorrhoid, though a nuisance, is not a serious medical condition but it should be treated and managed.
Dr. Senguptas research interests involve optimizing the care and outcomes of patients hospitalized with gastrointestinal bleeding. Specific interests include GERD, colon cancer screening and fatty liver disease.
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Is There A Distinction With The Way The Blood Would Look If Its From A Hemorrhoid Vs Rectal Fresh Blood From Colon Cancer
Both hemorrhoid blood and colon cancer bleeding from the lower rectum is red rather than brown. Its often described as a bright red or fresh looking.
Its scary to see blood on the toilet paper after you wiped following a bowel movement, and even more alarming when you see blood mixed with your stools.
Typically, bleeding from hemorrhoids usually occurs in the setting of having constipation or frequent straining upon having a bowel movement, says Dr. Neil Sengupta, MD, a general gastroenterologist and assistant professor at the University of Chicago, and GI Research Foundation Scholars Award Recipient.
Bleeding typically is small volume, may be on the top of stools, or present only on the toilet paper after wiping, continues Dr. Sengupta.
Colon cancer may lead to more significant bleeding or blood intermixed amongst stools.
The actual appearance of the blood is the same, meaning, its the same shade of red, whether its from a bleeding hemorrhoid or a cancerous tumor in the lower colon.
Its not as though a certain shade or red means it must be colon cancer.
The shade changes depending on where in the colon the bleeding is originating.
The higher up in the colon, the darker the blood because its older, and it may even appear black when mixed with the stools.
But hemorrhoid blood is always a fresh looking or bright red. It may even be pink if a little is mixed in with a combination of residual fecal smear or urine on the tissue paper.