Why Do External Hemorrhoids Itch
External hemorrhoids often cause moderate to severe itching around the anus. The itching comes from the inflammation of your anal area.
As inflammation increases due to external hemorrhoids, the intensity of your itching will increase as well.
For a list of products that can help, take a look at our guides below.
Related Conditions And Causes Of Hemorrhoids
Gastrointestinal problems such as constipation and diarrhea can lead to or worsen hemorrhoids. The prolonged sitting or straining that may occur when you’re dealing with these issues puts pressure on the hemorrhoidal tissue.
Hemorrhoids also often develop during pregnancy. This is similarly due to greater pressure in the area but can also be due to an increase in blood volume and as a result of hormonal changes that increase the likelihood of swelling. Constipation during pregnancy is a common cause of hemorrhoids.
Why Do Hemorrhoids Itch
Hemorrhoids are either external or internal. External hemorrhoids are found beneath the skin surrounding the anus while internal hemorrhoids are found inside the rectum.
Sometimes straining while using the bathroom pushes an internal hemorrhoid until it protrudes through the anus. When this happens its called a prolapsed internal hemorrhoid.
When an internal hemorrhoid prolapses it brings along mucus that can irritate the sensitive area around the anus causing itching. If the hemorrhoid stays prolapsed, mucus production continues and so does the itching.
If stool mixes with the mucus, that combination can make the irritation, and thus the itching, greater.
Anal itching is also referred to as pruritus ani which could be triggered by a number of conditions aside from hemorrhoids.
These other causes include:
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What Are The Types Of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids can happen inside or outside the rectum. The type depends on where the swollen vein develops. Types include:
- External: Swollen veins form underneath the skin around the anus. Your anus is the canal where poop comes out. External hemorrhoids can be itchy and painful. Occasionally, they bleed. Sometimes they fill with blood that can clot. This is not dangerous, but can result in pain and swelling.
- Internal: Swollen veins form inside the rectum. Your rectum is the part of the digestive system that connects the colon to the anus. Internal hemorrhoids may bleed, but they usually arent painful.
- Prolapsed: Both internal and external hemorrhoids can prolapse, meaning they stretch and bulge outside of the anus. These hemorrhoids may bleed or cause pain.
How Do Healthcare Providers Treat Hemorrhoids
You should see your healthcare provider if symptoms get worse or interfere with your daily life or sleep. Also seek help if signs dont improve after a week of at-home treatments. Your provider may treat hemorrhoids with:
- Rubber band ligation: A small rubber band placed around the base of a hemorrhoid cuts off blood supply to the vein.
- Electrocoagulation: An electric current stops blood flow to a hemorrhoid.
- Infrared coagulation: A small probe inserted into the rectum transmits heat to get rid of the hemorrhoid.
- Sclerotherapy: A chemical injected into the swollen vein destroys hemorrhoid tissue.
Surgical treatments include:
- Hemorrhoidectomy: Surgery removes large external hemorrhoids or prolapsed internal ones.
- Hemorrhoid stapling: A stapling instrument removes an internal hemorrhoid. Or it pulls a prolapsed internal hemorrhoid back inside the anus and holds it there.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of An External Or Thrombosed Hemorrhoid
Thrombosed external hemorrhoids are a painful condition. These occurs when a blood clot develops in a hemorrhoidal blood vessel causing swelling and inflammation.
- When a blood clot occurs in a hemorrhoid, the hemorrhoid will become even more swollen. This swelling leads to increased pain.
- The pain is usually worse with bowel movements and may increase with sitting.
A thrombosed external hemorrhoid may resolve on its own however, this condition often needs medical care. Bleeding with a bowel movement is never normal and should prompt a visit to a health-care professional. While hemorrhoids are the most common cause of bleeding with a bowel movement, there may be other reasons for bleeding including inflammatory bowel disease, infection, and tumors.
Hemorrhoids are not arteries or veins, but instead are normal blood vessels called sinusoids that are located in the walls that surround the rectum and anus. When the venous pressure within these blood vessels increases, the hemorrhoids swell and dilate, because it is more difficult for blood to empty from them. This leads to the most common symptoms of bleeding and swelling.
Common situations that increase pressure within the hemorrhoidal blood vessels and lead to abnormalities include the following.
- Straining to have a bowel movement. This may be due to constipation or diarrhea.
- Prolonged sitting, including on the toilet
- Lack of exercise
How Can I Stop Pruritus Ani
Anal itching usually disappears when the underlying cause is treated. If we discover hemorrhoids are the cause of your pruritus ani, we may be able to prescribe an ointment or hydrocortisone cream that will temporarily relieve the itching while you heal. Witch hazel pads may also bring some relief while you wait on other treatments to work.
If you have a prolapsed hemorrhoid, we may need to discuss procedure for prolapse and hemorrhoids . This quick procedure is almost as effective as a traditional hemorrhoidectomy, but you can heal much faster. As soon as we treat your hemorrhoid, your symptoms should disappear.
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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 Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, colorectal cancer, and anal cancer. So it’s important to see your provider to find the cause of the bleeding.
What Do Hemorrhoids Look Like On A Woman
Hemorrhoids do not look any different on women than they do on men.
External hemorrhoids are still flesh-colored sacs of inflamed blood vessels, some darker than others.
This cluster of lumps forms around the anal opening and can range in size, from grape-sized to the size of a golf ball.
The skin stretches tightly over the most inflamed and irritated part of the hemorrhoids and can become loose near the outer region.
A thrombosed hemorrhoid appears bluish or purple, signifying the blood trapped beneath the skin’s surface.
When burst open, thrombosed hemorrhoids can be an intense red with visible bleeding.
Prolapsed hemorrhoids can be flesh-colored or various shades of red, usually coated in mucous or other body fluids.
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How Are Hemorrhoids Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider diagnoses hemorrhoids based on symptoms and a physical exam. You may also have:
- Digital rectal exam: Your provider inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel for swollen veins.
- Anoscopy: Your provider uses an anoscope to view the lining of the anus and rectum.
- Sigmoidoscopy: Your provider uses a sigmoidoscope to view inside the lower part of the colon and rectum. Procedure types include flexible sigmoidoscopy and rigid sigmoidoscopy .
These tests may be uncomfortable but arent painful. They typically take place in a doctors office or outpatient center without anesthesia. You go home the same day.
Your provider may perform a colonoscopy to confirm findings from other tests or check for signs of colon cancer. This outpatient procedure requires anesthesia.
Do Hemorrhoids Look Like Blisters
Although it is not uncommon to confuse a hemorrhoid for a blister, there are noticeable differences. Blisters develop on the surface of the skin , while hemorrhoids originate from below the skin.
They form noticeably different lumps.
Another way to tell the difference between a hemorrhoid and a blister is the size.
While some hemorrhoids can be as small as a pea, most blisters do not get any larger than the size of a pea. Blisters have a thin membrane and are only located on the surface of the skin.
If it feels as though the lump has a mucus protective membrane and originates from deeper below the skin, chances are you are dealing with a hemorrhoid and not a blister.
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How Do Foods Influence Hemorrhoids Diet
Diet is believed to have a big impact in causingand preventinghemorrhoids. People who consistently eat a high-fiber diet are less likely to get hemorrhoids, while those people who prefer a diet high in processed foods face a higher hemorrhoid risk.
A low-fiber diet can leave you constipated, which can contribute to hemorrhoids in two way. For one, it promotes straining on the toilet. It also aggravates the hemorrhoids by producing hard stools that further irritate the swollen veins.
You can help prevent hemorrhoids by
- Eating foods that are high in fiber
- Taking a stool softener or a fiber supplement
- Drinking enough fluids every day
- Not straining during bowel movements
- Not sitting on the toilet for long periods of time
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
External Hemorrhoid Healing Time
For small external hemorrhoids, healing time can be as little as a few days even without treatment.
Prolapsed hemorrhoids have a longer healing time and may require doctor treatment.
Depending on the course of treatment, healing time can be as little as a week or as long as a few months.
For women who experience hemorrhoids during pregnancy, they will usually last until after you give birth.
Because every patient is different, and there are several different types of hemorrhoids, healing time for external hemorrhoids will vary based on specific case and specific individual.
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What Are The Causes Of External Hemorrhoids
The most common cause of hemorrhoids is repeated straining while having a bowel movement. This is often caused by severe cases of constipation or diarrhea. Straining gets in the way of blood flow into and out of the area. This results in the pooling of blood and enlargement of the vessels in that area.
Pregnant women may also be at an increased risk of hemorrhoids because of the pressure that the uterus places on these veins.
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Who Removes External Hemorrhoids
In many cases of mild external hemorrhoids, a general practitioner or your family doctor can treat you.
For hemorrhoid removal, however, your regular doctor may refer you to a specialized physician such as a gastroenterologist or a proctologist.
A gastroenterologist has received training in diagnosing and treating intestinal and rectal conditions while a proctologist specializes in surgical procedures for intestinal and rectal disorders.
If you are suffering from severe or chronic external hemorrhoids, ask your doctor about treatment methods best for your condition.
Surgery is often the last tried method in serious cases of hemorrhoids, and there are plenty of treatments that are non-operative.
How To Heal Hemorrhoids: Over
Products used to treat hemorrhoids are available as
- foams, and
When used around the anus, ointments, creams, and gels should be applied as a thin covering. When applied to the anal canal, these products should be inserted with a finger or a “pile pipe.” Pile pipes are most efficient when they have holes on the sides as well as at the end. Pile pipes should be lubricated with ointment prior to insertion. Suppositories or foams do not have advantages over ointments, creams, and gels.
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Causes Of External Hemorrhoids
The most common cause of external hemorrhoids is repeated straining during a bowel movement, leading to the veins of the anus or rectum becoming dilated or enlarged. Because external hemorrhoids result from excessive pressure in the rectums veins, certain factors can increase the chances of external hemorrhoids forming.
Some of the most common external hemorrhoid causes include:
- Heavy weight lifting.
Each of the above places added pressure on the rectal veins, which may eventually cause increased swelling in the external hemorrhoids. For example, in pregnant women, the uterus puts extra pressure on these veins and can cause them to enlarge. To reduce the likelihood of developing external hemorrhoids or prevent symptoms from worsening, limit the amount of time you spend on the toilet to two minutes and make sure you always practice proper form when heavy lifting.did
How Do They Occur
Veins in the rectum and around the anus tend to swell under pressure. Hemorrhoids can result from too much pressure on these veins. You may put pressure on these veins by:
- straining to have a bowel movement when you are constipated
- waiting too long to have a bowel movement
- sitting for a long time on the toilet, which causes strain on the anal area
- coughing and sneezing often
- sitting for a long while
Hemorrhoids may also develop from:
- injury to the anus, for example, from anal intercourse
- some liver diseases
Flare-ups of hemorrhoids may occur during periods of stress. Some people inherit a tendency to have hemorrhoids.
Pregnant women should try to avoid becoming constipated because they are more likely to have hemorrhoids during pregnancy. In the last trimester of pregnancy, the enlarged uterus may press on blood vessels and cause hemorrhoids. Also, the strain of childbirth sometimes causes hemorrhoids after the birth.
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Effective External Hemorrhoid Treatment Options
If at-home treatments arent enough to soothe your recurring symptoms and you are tired of dealing with external hemorrhoids, it might be time to consider a professional treatment option. While usually longer-lasting than other types of treatments, many of these options have their own complications to consider.
Here are three of the most common, but invasive, hemorrhoid treatment options:
Less Strain More Gain
Prolonged sitting or straining, often associated with constipation or diarrhea, may lead to hemorrhoids. “By straining you are causing more hemorrhoids and creating more symptoms,” Dr. Wolf says.
Don’t delay bowel movements during hemorrhoid flare-ups. Go when you need to go, because putting off bowel movements can worsen constipation, which then aggravates the hemorrhoids.
Also, elevating your feet a bit with a step stool as you sit on the toilet changes the position of the rectum in a way that could allow for easier passage of stools.
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Who Is At Risk For External Hemorrhoids
If your parents have had hemorrhoids, you may be more likely to have them as well. Hemorrhoids may also be caused by pregnancy.
As we age, hemorrhoids can occur due to increased pressure caused by sitting a lot. And anything that causes you to strain during bowel movements can lead to external hemorrhoids.
If youre not sure what the cause of your hemorrhoids may be, your doctor might be able to determine why.
Hemorrhoids And Their Symptoms
Hemorrhoids occur when blood vessels in your rectum or under the skin around your anus become swollen. Theyre very common. Some studies estimate that three out of every four people will experience problems with hemorrhoids at some point in their life.
Hemorrhoids can be painful and may bleed as the wall of the affected blood vessel thins and becomes irritated. Just as frequently, however, you may not have any discomfort but notice bright red blood with a bowel movement. It really all depends on the type of hemorrhoid youre struggling with.
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How Do Doctors Treat Hemorrhoids
Doctors treat hemorrhoids with procedures during an office visit or in an outpatient center or a hospital.
Office treatments include the following:
- Rubber band ligation. Rubber band ligation is a procedure that doctors use to treat bleeding or prolapsing internal hemorrhoids. A doctor places a special rubber band around the base of the hemorrhoid. The band cuts off the blood supply. The banded part of the hemorrhoid shrivels and falls off, most often within a week. Scar tissue forms in the remaining part of the hemorrhoid, often shrinking the hemorrhoid. Only a doctor should perform this procedureyou should never try this treatment yourself.
- Sclerotherapy. A doctor injects a solution into an internal hemorrhoid, which causes scar tissue to form. The scar tissue cuts off the blood supply, often shrinking the hemorrhoid.
- Infrared photocoagulation. A doctor uses a tool that directs infrared light at an internal hemorrhoid. Heat created by the infrared light causes scar tissue to form, which cuts off the blood supply, often shrinking the hemorrhoid.
- Electrocoagulation. A doctor uses a tool that sends an electric current into an internal hemorrhoid. The electric current causes scar tissue to form, which cuts off the blood supply, often shrinking the hemorrhoid.
Outpatient center or hospital treatments include the following:
Sometimes complications of hemorrhoids also require treatment.