Symptoms & Causes of Hemorrhoids

What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?

The symptoms of hemorrhoids depend on the type you have.

If you have external hemorrhoids, you may have

  • anal itching
  • one or more hard, tender lumps near your anus
  • anal ache or pain, especially when sitting

Too much straining, rubbing, or cleaning around your anus may make your symptoms worse. For many people, the symptoms of external hemorrhoids go away within a few days.

If you have internal hemorrhoids, you may have

  • bleeding from your rectum––bright red blood on stool, on toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement
  • a hemorrhoid that has fallen through your anal opening, called prolapse

Internal hemorrhoids that are not prolapsed most often are not painful. Prolapsed internal hemorrhoids may cause pain and discomfort.

Although hemorrhoids are the most common cause of anal symptoms, not every anal symptom is caused by a hemorrhoid. Some hemorrhoid symptoms are similar to those of other digestive tract problems. For example, bleeding from your rectum may be a sign of bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or cancer of the colon or rectum.

When should I seek a doctor’s help?

You should seek a doctor’s help if you

  • still have symptoms after 1 week of at-home treatment
  • have bleeding from your rectum

What causes hemorrhoids?

The causes of hemorrhoids include

  • straining during bowel movements
  • sitting on the toilet for long periods of time
  • chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • a low-fiber diet
  • weakening of the supporting tissues in your anus and rectum that happens with aging
  • pregnancy
  • often lifting heavy objects
October 2016
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