Hemorrhoids - Symptoms

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What were the symptoms of your hemorrhoids?

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What are the signs and symptoms of a hemorrhoid?

Hemorrhoids are the most common cause of rectal and anal complaints. The most common complaint is painless bleeding, anal itching, pain, swelling and feeling a lump at the anus are all associated with an inflamed hemorrhoid.

It is important to remember that rectal bleeding or blood in the stool is never normal and while it may come from a relatively benign cause like hemorrhoids, more serious causes can be life threatening. These include bleeding from ulcers, diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and tumors. If rectal bleeding occurs, it is important to contact your health care professional or seek emergency medical care. This is especially important if the person is taking blood thinning medications.

When an internal hemorrhoid becomes inflamed, it can cause swelling. This in itself does not cause pain because there are no pain fibers attached to the veins above the pectinate line. Passing a hard stool can scrape off the thinned lining of the hemorrhoid causing painless bleeding. However, the swollen hemorrhoid can also cause spasm of the muscles that surround the rectum and anus causing pain, especially if they protrude or prolapse through the anus. A lump can be felt at the anal verge. Internal hemorrhoids can also thrombose (clot) leading to severe pain.

The inflamed hemorrhoid can leak mucus that can cause inflammation of the skin surrounding the anus causing burning and itching, known as pruritis ani.

External hemorrhoids behave differently since they are covered by "regular skin" and have pain fibers associated with them. A thrombosed external hemorrhoid occurs when an underlying vein within the hemorrhoid clots off causing intense pain from the rapid stretching of the skin covering the hemorrhoid. A hard painful lump can be felt at the anus. External hemorrhoids can also result in excess skin tags that can be felt at the anal verge and can cause difficulties with cleaning after a bowel movement, leading to secondary skin infections.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: cory, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: November 05

I felt a swelling on the left side of anus. Then it increased in size within 3-4 days and developed pain. Doctor examined and declared external hemorrhoids. He gave me some anesthetic cream and asked me to add fiber in the diet. Then after 10 days the swelling was over so is the pain, but still after 10 months I have a small lump over the same place and my toilet paper do have small blood mark after bowel moments. I don't have constipation. I exercise a lot. I eat vegetables and fruit. I don't know why my problem is still not over. I am ashamed of telling others.

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Comment from: Deena, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 05

I am so thankful for this website and the helpful tips. I have been suffering from hemorrhoids for a few years now. Mine have not shrunk at all and in fact have gotten worse. The biggest issue is the itching and burning- a little bleeding too. Prep H did nothing and after going to a handful of doctors who weren't helpful, I decided to do more research and see what my options were for treatments. I found lidocaine to help but only if I douse the area. The suppositories also help at night - I can at least get a few hours of sleep. I will now try desitin and hemeez. I am so frustrated with my doctors because they take it so lightly. They even make me feel ashamed (one said I had herpes even though I'm not sexually active for religious reasons). I am a healthy 28 year old female and I just want some relief and a doctor who has more treatments than prep H. Hopefully MDs will research this topic more to help out their patients.

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