How long do hemorrhoids?

Treatment of Hemorrhoids

How can I treat my hemorrhoids?

You can most often treat your hemorrhoids at home by

  • eating foods that are high in fiber
  • taking a stool softener or a fiber supplement such as psyllium (Metamucil) or methylcellulose (Citrucel)
  • drinking water or other nonalcoholic liquids each day as recommended by your health care professional
  • not straining during bowel movements
  • not sitting on the toilet for long periods of time
  • taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin
  • sitting in a tub of warm water, called a sitz bath, several times a day to help relieve pain

Applying over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams or ointments or using suppositories—a medicine you insert into your rectum—may relieve mild pain, swelling, and itching of external hemorrhoids. Most often, doctors recommend using over-the-counter products for 1 week. You should follow up with your doctor if the products

  • do not relieve your symptoms after 1 week
  • cause side effects such dry skin around your anus or a rash

Most prolapsed internal hemorrhoids go away without at-home treatment. However, severely prolapsed or bleeding internal hemorrhoids may need medical treatment.

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 procedure—you 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:

  • Hemorrhoidectomy. A doctor, most often a surgeon, may perform a hemorrhoidectomy to remove large external hemorrhoids and prolapsing internal hemorrhoids that do not respond to other treatments. Your doctor will give you anesthesia for this treatment.
  • Hemorrhoid stapling. A doctor, most often a surgeon, may use a special stapling tool to remove internal hemorrhoid tissue and pull a prolapsing internal hemorrhoid back into the anus. Your doctor will give you anesthesia for this treatment.

Sometimes complications of hemorrhoids also require treatment.

How can I prevent hemorrhoids?

You can help prevent hemorrhoids by

  • eating foods that are high in fiber
  • drinking water or other nonalcoholic liquids each day as recommended by your health care professional
  • not straining during bowel movements
  • not sitting on the toilet for long periods of time
  • avoiding regular heavy lifting

4 Signs Your Hemorrhoids Warrant a Doctor’s Visit

Different Types of Hemorrhoids

There are two types of hemorrhoids: external and internal. External hemorrhoids arise from the anal canal, while internal hemorrhoids arise from the rectum, immediately above the anal canal. According to Cuckoo Choudhary, MD, associate professor of gastroenterology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, one type is not worse than the other, but both can cause problems. “It all depends on the size and degree of the hemorrhoid,” Dr. Choudhary says. “Untreated internal hemorrhoids can cause bleeding. External hemorrhoids can cause thrombosis , which gives way to severe pain from hemorrhoidal strangulation.”

If you know you have hemorrhoids and you have acute and severe anal pain, it could be a sign of thrombosed hemorrhoids.

Know When to See Your Doctor

Though the annoyance of hemorrhoids can be reason enough to call your doctor, use this checklist to know when a visit is a must:

  • If you’re experiencing any type of rectal bleeding
  • If the hemorrhoids are causing you pain or discomfort
  • If the problems persist despite trying over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams or other remedies
  • If you’re passing stools that look maroon in color or tarry in color, a sign of bleeding

If you experience a large amount of rectal bleeding that is accompanied by dizziness or faintness, be sure to seek emergency medical care immediately.

Though hemorrhoids are thought of as a minor health problem, you shouldn’t let that notion keep you from getting them examined. The ultimate goal is hemorrhoid relief, and for many people, that means an office visit.

Read more: Hemorrhoids: What to Know

Hemorrhoids and what to do about them

What causes internal and external hemorrhoids and simple ways to treat them

Updated: February 6, 2019Published: October, 2013

Hemorrhoids are usually caused by increased pressure due to pregnancy, being overweight, or straining during bowel movements. By midlife, hemorrhoids often become an ongoing complaint. By age 50, about half the population has experienced one or more of the classic symptoms, which include rectal pain, itching, bleeding, and possibly prolapse (hemorrhoids that protrude through the anal canal). Although hemorrhoids are rarely dangerous, they can be a recurrent and painful intrusion. Fortunately, there’s a lot we can do about hemorrhoids.

What are hemorrhoids?

In one sense, everyone has hemorrhoids (or piles), the pillow-like clusters of veins that lie just beneath the mucous membranes lining the lowest part of the rectum and the anus. The condition most of us call hemorrhoids (or piles) develops when those veins become swollen and distended, like varicose veins in the legs. Because the blood vessels involved must continually battle gravity to get blood back up to the heart, some people believe hemorrhoids are part of the price we pay for being upright creatures.

There are two kinds of hemorrhoids: internal hemorrhoids, which occur in the lower rectum, and external hemorrhoids, which develop under the skin around the anus. External hemorrhoids are the most uncomfortable, because the overlying skin becomes irritated and erodes. If a blood clot forms inside an external hemorrhoid, the pain can be sudden and severe. You might feel or see a lump around the anus. The clot usually dissolves, leaving excess skin (a skin tag), which may itch or become irritated.

Internal hemorrhoids are typically painless, even when they produce bleeding. You might, for example, see bright red blood on the toilet paper or dripping into the toilet bowl. Internal hemorrhoids may also prolapse, or extend beyond the anus, causing several potential problems. When a hemorrhoid protrudes, it can collect small amounts of mucus and tiny stool particles that may cause an irritation called pruritus ani. Wiping constantly to try to relieve the itching can worsen the problem.

Internal and external hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are distended blood vessels that form either externally (around the anus) or internally (in the lower rectum).

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 (even when not straining). 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.

Diagnosing hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids can usually be diagnosed from a simple medical history and physical exam. External hemorrhoids are generally apparent, especially if a blood clot has formed. Your clinician may perform a digital rectal exam to check for blood in the stool. She or he may also examine the anal canal with an anoscope, a short plastic tube inserted into the rectum with illumination. If there’s evidence of rectal bleeding or microscopic blood in the stool, flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy may be performed to rule out other causes of bleeding, such as colorectal polyps or cancer, especially in people over age 45.

Hemorrhoid treatment

Dramatic relief for most hemorrhoid symptoms can be found with simple, home remedies for hemorrhoids. To avoid occasional flare-ups, try the following.

Get more fiber. Add more fiber to your diet from food, a fiber supplement (such as Metamucil, Citrucel, or Fiber Con), or both. Along with adequate fluid, fiber softens stools and makes them easier to pass, reducing pressure on hemorrhoids. High-fiber foods include broccoli, beans, wheat and oat bran, whole-grain foods, and fresh fruit. Fiber supplements help decrease hemorrhoidal bleeding, inflammation, and enlargement. They may also reduce irritation from small bits of stool that are trapped around the blood vessels. Some people find that boosting fiber causes bloating or gas. Start slowly, and gradually increase your intake to 25–30 grams of fiber per day. Also, increase your fluid intake.

Exercise. Moderate aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking 20–30 minutes a day, can help stimulate bowel function.

Take time. When you feel the urge to defecate, go to the bathroom immediately; don’t wait until a more convenient time. Stool can back up, leading to increased pressure and straining. Also, schedule a set time each day, such as after a meal, to sit on the toilet for a few minutes. This can help you establish a regular bowel habit.

Sitz. A sitz bath is a warm water bath for the buttocks and hips (the name comes from the German “sitzen,” meaning “to sit”). It can relieve itching, irritation, and spasms of the sphincter muscle. Pharmacies sell small plastic tubs that fit over a toilet seat, or you can sit in a regular bathtub with a few inches of warm water. Most experts recommend a 20-minute sitz bath after each bowel movement and two or three times a day in addition. Take care to gently pat the anal area dry afterward; do not rub or wipe hard. You can also use a hair dryer to dry the area.

Seek topical relief for hemorrhoids. Over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams containing a local anesthetic can temporarily soothe pain. Witch hazel wipes (Tucks) are soothing and have no harmful effects. A small ice pack placed against the anal area for a few minutes can also help reduce pain and swelling. Finally, sitting on a cushion rather than a hard surface helps reduce the swelling of existing hemorrhoids and prevents the formation of new ones.

Treat the clot. When an external hemorrhoid forms a blood clot, the pain can be excruciating. If pain is tolerable and the clot has been present for longer than two days, apply home treatments for the symptoms while waiting for it to go away on its own. If the clot is more recent, the hemorrhoid can be surgically removed or the clot withdrawn from the vein in a minor office procedure performed by a surgeon.

Rubber band ligation of hemorrhoid

To perform a rubber band ligation, the clinician places a ligator over the hemorrhoid to position a rubber band around its base.

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 (hemorrhoidectomy) 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 (see box above). 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 (usually relieved with a sitz bath), 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.

Hemorrhoidectomy. You may need surgery if you have large protruding hemorrhoids, persistently symptomatic external hemorrhoids, or internal hemorrhoids that return despite rubber band ligation. In a traditional hemorrhoidectomy, a narrow incision is made around both external and internal hemorrhoid tissue and the offending blood vessels are removed. This procedure cures 95% of cases and has a low complication rate — plus a well-deserved reputation for being painful. The procedure requires general anesthesia, but patients can go home the same day. Patients can usually return to work after 7–10 days. Despite the drawbacks, many people are pleased to have a definitive solution to their hemorrhoids.

Staples. An alternative to traditional hemorrhoidectomy is called stapled hemorrhoidopexy. This procedure treats bleeding or prolapsed internal hemorrhoids. The surgeon uses a stapling device to anchor the hemorrhoids in their normal position. Like traditional hemorrhoid removal, stapled hemorrhoidopexy is performed under general anesthesia as day surgery.

Image: Bigstock

Disclaimer:
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Diagnosis of Hemorrhoids

How are hemorrhoids diagnosed?

Your doctor can often diagnose hemorrhoids based on your medical history and a physical exam. He or she can diagnose external hemorrhoids by checking the area around your anus. To diagnose internal hemorrhoids, your doctor will perform a digital rectal exam and may perform procedures to look inside your anus and rectum.

Medical history

Your doctor will ask you to provide your medical history and describe your symptoms. He or she will ask you about your eating habits, toilet habits, enema and laxative use, and current medical conditions.

Your doctor will ask you to provide your medical history and describe your symptoms.

Physical exam

Your doctor will check the area around your anus for

  • lumps or swelling
  • internal hemorrhoids that have fallen through your anal opening, called prolapse
  • external hemorrhoids with a blood clot in a vein
  • leakage of stool or mucus
  • skin irritation
  • skin tags––extra skin that is left behind when a blood clot in an external hemorrhoid dissolves
  • anal fissures—a small tear in the anus that may cause itching, pain, or bleeding

Your doctor will perform a digital rectal exam to

  • check the tone of the muscles in your anus
  • check for tenderness, blood, internal hemorrhoids, and lumps or masses

Procedures

Your doctor may use the following procedures to diagnose internal hemorrhoids:

  • Anoscopy. For an anoscopy, your doctor uses an anoscope to view the lining of your anus and lower rectum. Your doctor will carefully examine the tissues lining your anus and lower rectum to look for signs of lower digestive tract problems and bowel disease. Your doctor performs an anoscopy during an office visit or at an outpatient center. Most patients do not need anesthesia.
  • Rigid proctosigmoidoscopy. Rigid proctosigmoidoscopy is similar to anoscopy, except that your doctor uses an instrument called a proctoscope to view the lining of your rectum and lower colon. Your doctor will carefully examine the tissues lining your rectum and lower colon to look for signs of lower digestive tract problems and bowel disease. Your doctor performs this procedure during an office visit or at an outpatient center or a hospital. Most patients do not need anesthesia.

Your doctor may diagnose internal hemorrhoids while performing procedures for other digestive tract problems or during routine examination of your rectum and colon. These procedures include colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy.

Hemorrhoids

What causes hemorrhoids?

You may get hemorrhoids if you:

  • Often strain during bowel movements
  • Are pregnant
  • Have a family history of hemorrhoids
  • Are older
  • Have long-term or chronic constipation or diarrhea

Who is at risk for hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are very common. Most people will have a hemorrhoid at some time in their life.

You are more likely to get hemorrhoids if you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Sit on the toilet for too long
  • Are obese
  • Do things that make you strain more, such as heavy lifting
  • Have a family history of hemorrhoids
  • Have long-term or chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • Are between 45 and 65 years old

What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?

Each person’s symptoms may vary. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Bright red blood in your stool, on toilet paper, or in your toilet bowl
  • Pain and irritation around your anus
  • Swelling or a hard lump around your anus
  • Itching

Hemorrhoid symptoms may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider to be sure.

Having blood in your stool can also be a sign of other digestive disorders, such as colorectal cancer. It’s important to see your healthcare provider for a complete exam.

To see if you have hemorrhoids, your healthcare provider may do several tests including:

  • Physical exam. This is done to check your anus and rectum and look for swollen blood vessels that are a sign of hemorrhoids.
  • Digital rectum examination (DRE). Your healthcare provider inserts a gloved, greased (lubricated) finger into your rectum to check for any problems.
  • Anoscopy. A hollow, lighted tube is put into your anus. This is used to see internal hemorrhoids.
  • Proctoscopy. A lighted tube is put into your anus. This gives a view of your entire rectum.
  • Sigmoidoscopy. This test checks the inside of part of your large intestine. It helps to tell what is causing diarrhea, belly pain, constipation, abnormal growths, and bleeding. A short, flexible, lighted tube (sigmoidoscope) is put into your intestine through the rectum. This tube blows air into your intestine to make it swell. This makes it easier to see inside. A tissue sample (biopsy) can be taken if needed.
  • Colonoscopy. This test looks at the full length of your large intestine. It can help check for any abnormal growths, tissue that is red or swollen, sores (ulcers), or bleeding. A long, flexible, lighted tube called a colonoscope is put into your rectum up into the colon. This tube lets your healthcare provider see the lining of your colon and take out a tissue sample (biopsy) to test it. He or she may also be able to treat some problems that may be found.

How are hemorrhoids treated?

Your healthcare provider will create a care plan for you based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and past health
  • How serious your case is
  • Whether you have internal hemorrhoids, external hemorrhoids, or both
  • How well you handle certain medicines, treatments, or therapies
  • If your condition is expected to get worse
  • What you would like to do

The main goal of treatment is to reduce your symptoms. This may be done by:

  • Sitting in plain, warm water in a bathtub several times a day
  • Using ice packs to reduce swelling
  • Using hemorrhoid creams or medicines inserted into your rectum (suppositories)

Your healthcare provider may also suggest that you add more fiber and fluids to your diet to help soften your stools. Having softer stools means you don’t have to strain during bowel movements. This reduces the pressure on your hemorrhoids.

Adding more fiber to your diet means eating more:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains

Your healthcare provider may also suggest that you take stool softeners or fiber supplements.

In some cases, surgery is needed. There are several types of surgeries used to remove or reduce internal and external hemorrhoids. These include:

  • Rubber band ligation. A rubber band is placed around the base of the hemorrhoid inside your rectum to cut off circulation to the hemorrhoid. The hemorrhoid shrinks and goes away in a few days.
  • Sclerotherapy. A chemical solution is shot (injected) around the blood vessel to shrink the hemorrhoid.
  • Electrical coagulation, also called infrared photo coagulation. A special device uses a beam of infrared light to burn hemorrhoid tissue.
  • Hemorrhoidectomy and hemorrhoidopexy. These procedures permanently remove your hemorrhoids.

What are the complications of hemorrhoids?

In rare cases, hemorrhoids may cause other problems. These may include:

  • Having a low blood count that makes you tired (anemia). This can happen because of bleeding from a long-term or chronic hemorrhoid.
  • Blood flow being cut off from a hemorrhoid that is sticking out (prolapsed). This can happen when the blood supply to the hemorrhoid is cut off. This can be very painful and cause bleeding. You may need surgery.

What can I do to prevent hemorrhoids?

It’s not always possible to stop hemorrhoids from happening. But you may reduce your risk of getting hemorrhoids if you:

  • Eat a healthy diet, with plenty of fiber and liquids
  • Limit the amount of time you sit on the toilet
  • Work with your healthcare provider to manage constipation and prevent straining
  • Stay at a healthy weight

When should I call my healthcare provider?

Call your healthcare provider if your symptoms get worse or if you have new symptoms. Also call if you see blood in your stool or on toilet paper for the first time, or if you see more blood than normal.

Key points about hemorrhoids

  • Hemorrhoids are a swelling of the veins or blood vessels in and around your anus and lower rectum. This happens when there is extra pressure on these veins.
  • Hemorrhoids are either inside your anus (internal) or under the skin around your anus (external).
  • About half of all people will have hemorrhoids by age 50.
  • Many women get hemorrhoids during pregnancy and childbirth.
  • You may get hemorrhoids if you have a family history, often strain during bowel movements, or have long-term (chronic) constipation or diarrhea.
  • Symptoms may include blood in your stool, pain around your anus, or itching.
  • Your healthcare provider may do several tests to be sure you have hemorrhoids.
  • You may need to add more fiber and fluids to your diet.
  • The goal of treatment is to reduce your symptoms.
  • In some cases, surgery is needed.

Next steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:

  • Know the reason for your visit and what you want to happen.
  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
  • Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you.
  • At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you.
  • Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how it will help you. Also know what the side effects are.
  • Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
  • Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
  • Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
  • If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
  • Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.

Hemorrhoids

What Is It?

Published: April, 2019

Hemorrhoids are lumps or masses of tissue in the anus, which contain enlarged blood vessels. Any increase in abdominal pressure may produce hemorrhoids. This may be from:

  • Repeated straining to have a bowel movement, especially in people who suffer from frequent constipation.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Repeated episodes of diarrhea.
  • Obesity.
  • Many patients have no apparent explanation for the formation of hemorrhoids, however.

Internal hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids lie inside the anal canal, where they primarily cause the symptom of intermittent bleeding, usually with bowel movements, and sometimes mucous discharge. They are usually painless. Internal hemorrhoids also may protrude (prolapse) outside the anus, where they appear as small, grape-like masses. Usually the prolapsed hemorrhoid can be pushed back into the anus with a fingertip.

To continue reading this article, you must login.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor’s visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise

Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online “

Can you ignore rectal bleeding

Yes you can but with a huge risk.

Seeing blood in the toilet, on the outside of your stool, or with wiping after a bowel movement is common. Fortunately, most of the causes of such rectal bleeding are not life-threatening; common causes include hemorrhoids and anal fissures. However, the only way to be certain of the cause is to be evaluated by a healthcare provider.

WHEN TO SEEK HELP — Most people with minor rectal bleeding do not have colon cancer or another serious condition. However, it is not possible to know the cause of rectal bleeding without an examination. Thus, ANYONE who notices rectal bleeding should talk to their healthcare provider to determine if an examination is needed.

RECTAL BLEEDING CAUSES — Seeing a small amount of blood after wiping, on the outside of your stool, or in the toilet is most commonly caused by hemorrhoids or an anal fissure.

Hemorrhoids — Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in the rectum or anus that can be painful, itchy, and can sometimes bleed. Painless rectal bleeding with a bowel movement is a common symptom of hemorrhoids. Bright red blood typically coats the stool or blood may drip into the toilet or stain toilet paper.

Anal fissure — An anal fissure is a tear in the lining of the anus, the opening where feces are excreted. Anal fissures can cause bleeding and a sensation of tearing, ripping, or burning during or after a bowel movement.

Other causes of rectal bleeding — There are many other causes of rectal bleeding, including colon cancer, colon polyps, colitis, and diverticulosis.

In addition, bleeding from higher in the digestive tract, such as the stomach, can produce black, tarry bowel movements because stomach acid turns blood black. Bismuth (such as in Pepto Bismol) and iron supplements can also make the stool appear black. Passing blood from the rectum that is dark red or includes clots usually indicates bleeding from higher in the colon than anal fissures or hemorrhoids would produce.

RECTAL BLEEDING TESTS — The best test for rectal bleeding depends upon your age, symptoms, and past medical history.

Rectal examination — Sometimes a clinician can detect the cause of rectal bleeding with a rectal examination. In younger people, this examination may be all that is necessary.

Anoscopy — Anoscopy allows a clinician to inspect the anus and lower rectum. It can be done in the office and does not require sedation.

Sigmoidoscopy — During a sigmoidoscopy, a clinician can examine the rectum and most of the lower large intestine Sigmoidoscopy can be done without sedation.

Colonoscopy — A colonoscopy is a procedure in which a physician examines the entire colon, usually while the patient is sedated.

WHY SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT RECTAL BLEEDING? — While most rectal bleeding is caused by the non-serious causes mentioned above, bleeding can also be caused by cancerous or precancerous conditions. Precancerous polyps near the end of the colon can mimic bleeding from hemorrhoids. These are generally present in the colon for years before they become cancerous, and they can be removed very safely from the colon, preventing progression to cancer.

Colon cancer may be diagnosed in patients who have ignored bleeding for years because they assumed it was from hemorrhoids. Polyps and colon cancer become more common with aging, and thus investigation of bleeding is most important, and is usually most intensive, in patients over the age of approximately 40 to 50 years.

Hemorrhoids vs. Colon Cancer

Colon cancer and hemorrhoids are very different conditions, but they can produce blood in the stool. Seeing blood in the stool can be alarming, especially if you have never experienced it before. Most likely, you may have been straining when having a bowel movement and the bleeding is due to a hemorrhoid. In other cases, blood in the stool could be an indication of something more serious. Let’s take a look at both hemorrhoids and colon cancer so you can be informed.

What Are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are itching, painful or bleeding masses of swollen tissues and veins located in the anus and rectum. This results from congestion in the blood vessels around the anal canal. Hemorrhoids can be either internal (above the junction between the anus and rectum) or external (below the junction of the rectum and anus). About 89 percent of all Americans will experience hemorrhoids at some point in their lives, so they are much more common than you may think. Most hemorrhoids occur from an increase in pressure, often from straining to have a bowel movement. Hemorrhoids can also be caused by:

  • Pregnancy
  • Aging
  • Sitting for long periods of time
  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • Straining
  • Lifiting objects that are too heavy

Find a Gastroenterologist

Symptoms of Hemorrhoids

Although the most common symptom of hemorrhoids is blood in the stool or blood on the toilet paper after wiping, there are other warning signs as well. Some other common symptoms of hemorrhoids are:

  • Irritation and itching
  • Pain or discomfort during bowel movements
  • Sensitive, painful lumps around the anus
  • Leakage of feces

Hemorrhoids can be completely painless, as with internal hemorrhoids, or they can be quite painful when they are outside the anus. Depending in your toilet habits, you can exacerbate irritation and cause more bleeding and itching. Excessive rubbing or cleaning of the affected area can just make it worse.
Find out if you’re eligible for afree or reduced cost screening colonoscopy

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *