The term “hemorrhoids” has got a bad rap for the discomfort it brings to the sufferer. The fact is that all of us have hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are a part of our body. They are the tissues, consisting of blood vessels, connective tissues, and a few muscles within the anal canal and nearby area – the perianal area.1 It is when hemorrhoids become swollen do we have the painful piles. The causes can include constipation, diarrhea, or a difficult labor. There are two types of hemorrhoids – internal and external. Though the symptoms of hemorrhoids are pretty much the same for both, subtle differences exist.
1. Fresh Blood In Stool Or Toilet Bowl
Hemorrhoids exhibit telltale symptoms hard to miss when they are engorged (swollen). Internal hemorrhoids are the blood vessels inside the rectum. When they become swollen, it is marked by bleeding in the rectum. It will appear as a small amount of blood in stool or on the toilet paper after wiping or in the water in the bowl. Since the bleeding happens in the rectum, the blood will be bright red in color. Don’t ignore the bleeding. In certain cases, it could be so profuse that it could lead to anemia or iron deficiency.2
2. Pain In the Anal Area
While rectal bleeding is pretty much the only symptom of internal hemorrhoids, external hemorrhoids could throw up more issues like severe anal pain. This anal pain is usually absent in internal hemorrhoids where only the visceral nerves are involved. These only transmit a feeling of pressure. However, in external hemorrhoids, the pain-conducting somatic nerves are involved. Internal hemorrhoids can cause anal pain if there is a prolapse or hemorrhoids fall through the anal canal.3
3. Itching And Burning In The Anus
Other than anal pain, especially during or after bowel movements, anal itching or burning too are noticed, mostly while sitting.
4. Bulging Around The Anus
Due to the prolapse, the anal area becomes hard to clean. One or more lumps could be noticed around the anus. These lumps are often hard and tender.4 They may be bluish in color because of the underlying blood clot.5 This bulging or prolapse becomes more pronounced during bowel movements. The hemorrhoids may go back on their own or can be pushed back inside the anus by hand.
Hemorrhoids or piles is a painful condition but not a dangerous one. Various treatments are available to take care of it – pills in mild cases and surgical removal in severe ones. So, if you suspect you have hemorrhoids, make a trip to the physician without any delay.