What Is a bleeding hemorrhoid?

Bleeding hemorrhoids are veins in and around the anus that swell and become irritated. Home care treatment consists of fiber supplements, laxatives, sitz bath, and over-the-counter creams and rectal suppositories. For more severe cases, rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy or surgery to remove may be used.
Bleeding hemorrhoids are veins in and around the anus that swell and become irritated. Home care treatment consists of fiber supplements, laxatives, sitz bath, and over-the-counter creams and rectal suppositories. For more severe cases, rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy or surgery to remove may be used.

Some people see blood in their stool, in the toilet, or after a bowel movement. The amount of blood is usually small, and it is bright red. The most common reason for rectal bleeding is hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are swollen, irritated veins in and around the anus. About 50% of Americans experience hemorrhoids by the age of 50: 

Bleeding hemorrhoids are veins in and around the anus that swell and become irritated until they bleed. If you have bleeding hemorrhoids, you might experience symptoms like:

  • Painless rectal bleeding
  • Anal itch and pain
  • Skin tissue bulging from the anus
  • Leaking feces and difficulty cleaning after using the bathroom 

Hemorrhoids are usually caused by:

Bleeding hemorrhoids may be painful, but they usually go away on their own. However, in some cases symptoms don’t go away and can get worse. If this is the case, contact your doctor. 

Severe pain and bleeding may be happening because of something more serious. It’s important to have your doctor complete an evaluation to determine the underlying cause of your rectal bleeding.

Diagnosis for bleeding hemorrhoids

A licensed healthcare professional can help diagnose bleeding hemorrhoids. To get the diagnosis, your doctor may have you undergo a physical examination and:

  • Rectal examination, where a doctor uses a gloved finger to check inside your rectum.
  • Anoscopy, where a doctor inserts a lighted scope into your rectum to examine the anal canal.
  • Colonoscopy, where a doctor places a long flexible tube with a tiny camera into your rectum to examine the entire colon.

There are two types of hemorrhoids:

  • Internal hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids hidden inside the rectum are called internal hemorrhoids. These are usually painless but can cause bleeding when you use the bathroom. 
  • External hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids that you can see or feel are called external hemorrhoids. These are usually more painful because the skin becomes irritated and eroded.

A health care provider will help you determine what kind of hemorrhoids you have and discuss the best treatment options.

SLIDESHOW

How to Get Rid of Hemorrhoids: Types, Causes, and Treatments See Slideshow

Treatments for bleeding hemorrhoids

Health care providers usually advise treating bleeding hemorrhoids with at-home treatments, but may consider other options if your symptoms are more severe.

Your doctor can help you determine the right treatment option for you. It could include one of these options or a combination of treatments, such as:

Home care

One of the most effective ways to treat a bleeding hemorrhoid is to prevent it from happening in the first place. You can do this by taking care of your digestive systems so you can avoid constipation

Your doctor may recommend treatments like: 

  • Fiber supplements to help soften your stool 
  • Laxatives to help you make healthy stools
  • Sitz bath to improve blood flow and relax the muscle around the anus 

Over-the-counter creams and rectal suppositories may be another option to treat a bleeding hemorrhoid. These can help relieve pain, itching, and inflammation temporarily:

Minimally invasive treatments

In some cases, if symptoms don’t subside, your doctor may recommend you undergo a minimally invasive treatment. This could include a rubber band ligation where the doctor places bands around the internal hemorrhoid to restrict the blood supply to the hemorrhoid. This treatment is successful in 70–80% of cases.

In other cases, your doctor might recommend sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is when a doctor injects a chemical solution into a hemorrhoid, causing it to break down and scar.

Surgery

Some providers may use surgical treatment to treat a bleeding hemorrhoid. Surgery done to remove hemorrhoidal tissue is called a hemorrhoidectomy. This procedure is done under anesthesia and is effective in about 95% of cases.

Possible complications and side effects

If you have a bleeding hemorrhoid, you might consider it a small problem, but it can still be a very painful experience. Seeing blood after we use the bathroom can be scary, but you’re not alone.

There are a lot of different ways to treat a bleeding hemorrhoid and in some cases, it’s best to seek medical attention sooner rather than later if:

  • You’re experiencing rectal bleeding or see blood on your toilet paper
  • You have pain in and around your anus 
  • You’ve tried over the counter treatments for a week with no change in symptoms 
  • Your bowel movements look maroon or tarry in color (a common side of bleeding)

If your doctor recommends surgery to treat a bleeding hemorrhoid, there are some possible complications to be aware of like {SCL Health: “Hemorrhoids.”}:

  • Bleeding
  • Constipation
  • Injury to the anus
  • Narrowing of the anus 

Other treatments and medications may have different side effects. Consult your healthcare provider about possible complications of any medications you might take for a bleeding hemorrhoid.

QUESTION

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Medically Reviewed on 2/17/2021
References
Geisinger Health: "When to see your doctor about your hemorrhoids."

Harvard Health Publishing: "Hemorrhoids and what to do about them."

SCL Health: "Hemorrhoids."