Signs Your Hemorrhoids Warrant A Doctor’s Visit
Your doctor may also check for blood in the stool, examine the muscle tone of your anus, and perform a rectal exam to diagnose internal hemorrhoids. This is done in the doctor’s office with a gloved, lubricated finger and an anoscope . Your doctor may also recommend additional tests to rule out other causes of bleeding, especially if you are over age 40.
Research And Statistics: Who Gets Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are very common in both men and women, affecting about 1 in 20 Americans. The most common time to get hemorrhoids is between ages 45 and 65. Hemorrhoids are also common in pregnant women.
By age 50, about half of us have experienced hemorrhoid symptoms, such as itching, bleeding, and rectal pain. At any given time, about 10 million Americans roughly 4 percent of adults have hemorrhoids. Its estimated that 75 percent of Americans will have hemorrhoids at some point in their lives.
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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Hemorrhoid Treatment In A Doctors Office With Or Without Surgery
Medical procedures may be needed for hemorrhoids that dont go away with home treatments.
Painful external hemorrhoids can be excised during an office visit following a shot of local anesthetic to numb the area.
For internal hemorrhoids, a few office procedures may be considered. In rubber band ligation, the most common hemorrhoid procedure performed in the United States, the doctor places a small rubber band around the base of the hemorrhoid, cutting off the hemorrhoid’s blood supply. The hemorrhoid typically shrinks and falls off within about a week, though several quick follow-up visits may be required to completely get rid of the hemorrhoid.
Other procedures include sclerotherapy, in which a chemical injected into the hemorrhoid causes scar tissue to form, shrinking the hemorrhoid and infrared coagulation, in which an intense beam of infrared light causes the scar tissue to form, cutting off the blood supply and shrinking the hemorrhoid.
If you have a large external hemorrhoid, both internal and external hemorrhoids, or an internal hemorrhoid thats prolapsed , a surgical operation called a hemorrhoidectomy may be necessary, though few patients require this procedure.
Another option that aims to reduce postoperative pain is a stapled hemorrhoidopexy, in which a device pulls the hemorrhoidal tissue upward and to its normal position, stapling it in place.
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.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Hemorrhoids
Seeing blood in your toilet bowl after a bowel movement is no doubt alarming, but its one of the main symptoms of hemorrhoids. Other symptoms include:
- Bright red blood on toilet paper or in your stool after a bowel movement
- Itching in the anal area
- Pain in the anal area, especially when sitting
- Pain during bowel movements
- One or more hard, painful lumps around the anus
If you experience any of these hemorrhoid symptoms, avoid excess straining, rubbing, or cleaning around the anus, which can make irritation and itching worse, and can even lead to bleeding. In addition, try to pat the area dry instead of wiping it.
Although Hemorrhoids And Colon Cancer Are Two Very Different Conditions They Can Share Similar Symptoms This Guide Will Help You Learn About The Different Signs
Noticing blood in your stool for the first time is understandably alarming. The good news is that its likely that blood in your stool is an indication of hemorrhoids, which while not much fun, arent generally a serious medical condition.
Hemorrhoids are actually swollen veins located in the anus and rectum area, and theyre quite common: Approximately half of all adults experience hemorrhoids by the age of 50. They can be internal or external , and symptoms can range from no or mild discomfort to significant pain, itchiness and bleeding.
While the exact cause of hemorrhoids is unknown, theyre most likely to occur when theres an increase in pressure in the area, such as when you strain to have a bowel movement, for example. Theyre more likely to occur during pregnancy, aging, sitting for long periods of time, chronic constipation or diarrhea, straining or lifting heavy objects.
Factors That Can Cause Constipation And Hemorrhoids In Men:
- Not drinking enough water
- Eating foods high in fat content
- Eating too many dairy products
- Certain medications
- Resisting the urge to go
- Lack of exercise
- Using laxatives too often
If you are in your fifties or older and can relate to the problem of constipation, your risk of a hemorrhoid flare-up is much higher.
The best solution is to eliminate the list of potential factors that cause constipation.
Remember, if you need to drastically change your daily dieting habits from junk food to healthy meals, do so in small increments.
This also includes any other lifestyle change, like your exercise regime. A drastic change can lead to further constipation, and you wont want that for your hemorrhoids.
The 5 Signs You Are Suffering From Hemorrhoids
Countless people suffer from hemorrhoids every year, causing pain and discomfort that disrupts everyday life in both personal and professional capacities. While todays many advanced treatments are frequently able to eliminate both the causes and results of hemorrhoids, there are many people who still live with the condition. Given the hectic nature of daily life, many people simply ignore the signs that they have hemorrhoids, especially when they dont know the signs of the condition.
Whether youre at risk for developing hemorrhoids or believe that you may currently have the condition, it is important that you know the symptoms. The sooner you catch your hemorrhoids, the sooner you can put an end to them.
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Internal Hemorrhoids Vs External Hemorrhoids
There are two main types of hemorrhoids:
Internal Hemorrhoids These hemorrhoids develop inside the lower rectum. Internal hemorrhoids usually dont hurt, but they often bleed painlessly, resulting in bright red blood you might notice when you go to the bathroom and wipe.
Most of the time, internal hemorrhoids are not visible to the naked eye. But in some cases, internal hemorrhoids may protrude through the anus, which is known as becoming prolapsed. When this happens, they will usually shrink back inside the rectum on their own. Protruding hemorrhoids can become irritated and itchy, and patients may find it difficult to clean themselves after a bowel movement.
Internal hemorrhoids are categorized by how prolapsed they are, which helps determine how they should be treated.
Grade 1 hemorrhoids means there is no prolapse. A prolapse that goes back in by itself is categorized as grade 2. Prolapse that needs to be pushed back in by the patient is considered grade 3. Grade 4 is when the prolapse cant be pushed back in.
External Hemorrhoids These hemorrhoids develop under the skin around the outside of the anus. They can be itchy or painful, and may feel lumpy.
External hemorrhoids are called thrombosed hemorrhoids when a blood clot develops within the hemorrhoid. The increased pressure can be very painful, especially within the first 48 hours after it develops.
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.
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When Do Hemorrhoids Require Medical Intervention
Your hemorrhoids can be an embarrassing topic to discuss with anyone, even your doctor. But hemorrhoids are common and affect 5% of adults in the United States every year, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Its estimated, in fact, that as many as three in four adults will experience problems with hemorrhoids at some point in their lives.
Though you can find many treatments for hemorrhoids at your local pharmacy, home remedies dont help everyone. At Rivas Digestive Center, located in Hollywood, Florida, our expert gastroenterologist, Dr. John Rivas, wants you to know when its time to get medical help for your hemorrhoids.
The Most Common Symptom Of Internal Hemorrhoids Is Bleeding
Internal hemorrhoids form when blood vessels inside the rectum become swollen and engorged. Although they form in the lowest part of the rectum, internal hemorrhoids are still far enough inside you may not even know that theyre there. In fact, everyone actually has internal hemorrhoids, but we only notice them once they become a problem. Internal hemorrhoids can worsen over time, but since there are very few pain-sensing nerves in the lower rectal area, you are unlikely to feel any pain. In fact, the most common symptoms of mild internal hemorrhoids is bleeding. You can read more about hemorrhoid bleeding on our blog: here. However, when internal hemorrhoids become moderate to severe, you will likely begin to experience those hard-to-ignore hemorrhoid symptoms.
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When To Consult A Doctor
Though they are quite painful, however, hemorrhoids are not a major health issue, but a person should never ignore signs of bleeding and swelling in the anal region. The person should immediately consult a doctor if he or she sees any of the following signs:
- bleeding from rectal region for no apparent reason
- pain and discomfort during bowel movement
- lump near anal opening
What Are The Symptoms Of Hemorrhoids
Internal hemorrhoids rarely cause pain unless they prolapse. Many people with internal hemorrhoids dont know they have them because they dont have symptoms.
If you have symptoms of internal hemorrhoids, you might see blood on toilet paper, in stool or the toilet bowl. These are signs of rectal bleeding.
Signs of external hemorrhoids include:
- Itchy anus.
- Hard lumps near the anus that feel sore or tender.
- Pain or ache in the anus, especially when you sit.
- Rectal bleeding.
Prolapsed hemorrhoids can be painful and uncomfortable. You may be able to feel them bulging outside the anus and gently push them back inside.
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Medical Treatment For Your Hemorrhoids
Dr. Rivas develops personalized hemorrhoid treatment plans after completing a thorough examination. The treatments we recommend may depend on the type of hemorrhoids, as well as your symptoms. Initially, we may suggest lifestyle changes to ease your pain, such as increasing your intake of fiber and water to improve bowel movements and sitz baths to alleviate pain and discomfort.
However, when at-home treatments fail, Dr. Rivas may suggest a procedure to destroy or remove your hemorrhoids, such as:
- Rubber band ligation
- Infrared, laser, or bipolar coagulation
Can Natural Home Remedies Treat And Prevent Hemorrhoids
Regardless of the size or swelling of a hemorrhoid, no treatment is required if symptoms do not exist. Prevention is perhaps the most effective treatment. Diet and adequate hydration are very important to maintain normal bowel movements. Hemorrhoid symptoms can occur with the passage of hard stool and constipation, as well as diarrhea and frequent bowel movements. People with constipation may require a high-fiber diet, adequate hydration, and stool softeners. Those with too frequent bowel movements may require antidiarrheal medications and diet adjustments. These preventive measures decrease the amount of straining that is required to have a bowel movement, thus decreasing the pressure within the blood vessels to prevent swelling. The internal hemorrhoid always stays protruded or prolapsed and is at risk for thrombosis or strangulation should the anal muscles go into spasm.
Grade 1 hemorrhoids are treated symptomatically. There can be some spasm of the anal muscles. Warm sitz baths, sitting in a warm tub for 20 minutes, two or three times a day may be helpful. Avoiding spicy food may also prevent anal itching. Over-the-counter medications may be helpful.
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Common Hemorrhoid Symptoms To Watch For
The following signs and symptoms may indicate hemorrhoids:
- Bright red blood on toilet paper, in stool, or in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement
- Anal itching
- Pain around the anus, especially while sitting
- Pain during bowel movements
- One or more hard, painful lumps around the anus
If you have any symptoms of hemorrhoids, try to avoid excessive straining, rubbing, or cleaning around the anus.
Doing these things can make any irritation and itching worse, and can sometimes lead to bleeding.
Possible Effects On Bone And Soft Tissue Healing
It has been hypothesized that NSAIDs may delay healing from and by inhibiting inflammation. On the other hand, it has also been hypothesized that NSAIDs might speed recovery from soft tissue injuries by preventing inflammatory processes from damaging adjacent, non-injured muscles.
There is moderate evidence that they delay bone healing. Their overall effect on soft-tissue healing is unclear.
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Hemorrhoids Treatment: Rubber Band Ligation
The principle of rubber band ligation is to encircle the base of the hemorrhoidal clump with a tight rubber band. The tissue cut off by the rubber band dies, and is replaced by an ulcer that heals with scarring.
A similar procedure was described in 460 BC by the Greek physician Hippocrates:
And hemorrhoids you may treat by transfixing them with a needle and tying them with very thick and woolen thread, for application, and do not foment until they drop off, and always leave one behind and when the patient recovers, let him be put on a course of Hellebore.
Rubber band ligation can be used with first-, second-, and third-degree hemorrhoids, and may be more effective than sclerotherapy. Symptoms frequently recur several years later, but usually can be treated with further ligation.
The most common complication of ligation is pain. However, bleeding one or two weeks after ligation or bacterial infection in the tissues surrounding the hemorrhoids may occur.
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.
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