Hemorrhoids are swollen, inflamed veins around the anus or lower rectum. Hemorrhoids are common in men and women and affect about 1 in 20 Americans. Nearly half of adults older than age 50 have hemorrhoids … you are not alone! Hemorrhoids can be painful and sometimes decrease your quality of life depending on your grade and type of hemorrhoid.
There are two types of hemorrhoids:
As you may guess, internal hemorrhoids develop inside the rectum, while external hemorrhoids develop around the anus. When patients develop symptoms like pain and itching, it is most often due to external hemorrhoids; these are usually more bothersome because the skin around the anus becomes agitated. Fortunately, the symptoms typically resolve within a few days for most. In contrast, Internal hemorrhoids usually go unnoticed unless you find bright red blood in the toilet bowl.
Anal itching & pain - Too much straining, rubbing, or cleaning around your anus may worsen the symptoms.
Bleeding – most often found in the stool, toilet, or upon wiping after a bowel movement
It may feel like tender lumps near your anus
In some cases, internal hemorrhoids can bulge outwards from the anus. This is known as a prolapse.
Internal hemorrhoids can be further classified depending on their appearance and degree of bulging or prolapse.
Prolapsed hemorrhoids are usually noticed when wiping after a bowel movement. It often is described as a bump on your anus. Patients typically complain of general discomfort and the pressure to constantly use the bathroom.
Usually, internal hemorrhoids become prolapsed when there is a build-up of pressure in the canal. Depending on the grade of your hemorrhoid, your doctor may recommend treatment. Sitz baths salts for hemorrhoids can help shrink a prolapsed hemorrhoid, and hemorrhoid cream with 5% lidocaine can help dissolve some of the pain.
Most thrombosed hemorrhoids occur from external hemorrhoids. They look like small lumps on the outside of your anus. The distinguishing feature is the color of the node and the sudden intense pain. It will appear to be dark and bluish. Remember – hemorrhoids are swollen, inflamed veins around the anus or lower rectum. Veins are blood vessels that carry blood back to your heart. Sometimes a blood clot can form inside the hemorrhoidal vein obstructing the passing of blood and causing painful symptoms. Your doctor may recommend preventative measures and treatment options to help with the pain and reduce the swelling, like topical pain relievers or warm water sitz baths. In severe cases, surgical excision may be needed to drain the blood clot. It is always best practice to speak to your healthcare provider before starting any new treatment.
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