Signs and Symptoms of Hemorrhoids

At TransSouth Health Care our goal is to provide knowledge and understanding of potential health concerns. We know the importance of recognizing signs and symptoms early to get proper treatment quickly to avoid as many complications as possible. If you suspect that you may have a hemorrhoid it is important to know what signs and symptoms to look for. If you have any of the following symptoms, contact us immediately to schedule an appointment. Symptoms include:

  • Painless bleeding during bowel movements
  • Small amounts of red blood on your toilet paper or in the bowl
  • Irritation and itching in the anal region
  • Discomfort and/or pain
  • Swelling around the anus
  • A lump in the anal region, which can be painful and sensitive
  • Fecal leakage

More often than not, hemorrhoid symptoms usually depend on the location in which the hemorrhoid is located. Internal hemorrhoids which lie inside the rectum usually aren’t visible, and typically do not cause pain or discomfort. Straining and irritation when defecating can damage the surface of an internal hemorrhoid, causing it to bleed and even push through the anal opening.  External hemorrhoids are under the skin, outside of the rectum, usually located near the anus. These hemorrhoids can itch, bleed, and sometimes form a clot resulting in severe pain, swelling, and inflammation.

What is a hemorrhoid and what causes them?

A hemorrhoid is a swollen and inflamed group of veins in the anus and lower rectum. They may result from straining during bowel movements or from increased pressure on veins during pregnancy. Hemorrhoids are very common, and nearly half of all adults by the age of fifty have experienced one. There are many effective treatment options available, and most people can relieve symptoms through simple home remedies or small lifestyle changes. A hemorrhoid is almost always caused by an increase in pressure on the veins surrounding your anus. Common causes of hemorrhoids include:

  • Straining during defecation
  • Elongated time periods sitting on the toilet
  • Chronic diarrhea and constipation
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Anal intercourse
  • Low-fiber diet

The likeliness of hemorrhoids increases as you get older due to the weakening and stretching of veins and tissues around the anus as you age.

When should I seek medical help?

Bleeding during bowel movements is a common sign of hemorrhoids. However, rectal bleeding can occur due to many other conditions. Colorectal cancer and anal cancer is always a concern when rectal bleeding is present. It is better to be checked than to assume rectal bleeding is caused by a hemorrhoid. Your doctor can perform a physical exam or other tests to diagnose if the problem is a hemorrhoid or something more serious. TransSouth Health Care advises all patients to seek medical attention if your hemorrhoid or suspected hemorrhoid causes pain, frequent bleeding, excessive bleeding, or if home remedies and lifestyle changes do not improve symptoms.

If your symptoms began with other marked changes such as black or tarry stools, blood clots, or blood in stool, you should treat your condition as a medical emergency and seek medical attention immediately. These symptoms can be caused by more extensive bleeding somewhere else within the digestive tract. If you experience large amounts of bleeding, lightheadedness, dizziness, or faintness seek emergency care immediately.