How Do You Know If You Have Hemorrhoids?
It is a problem that no one wants to have.
Bleeding during bowel movements, consistent itching, a throbbing pain throughout your rectal area—these are the symptoms of hemorrhoids, but these could be signs of any number of other medical concerns. So, how do you know if the problem is hemorrhoids or if there is another issue you need to address?
There are some signs and symptoms that can help you determine if you are experiencing hemorrhoids.
As a rule, if you aren’t sure about something that you are experiencing regarding your health or body, then you really ought to see a doctor to gain clarification.
That being said, hemorrhoids are a fairly common condition, affecting about two-thirds of the adult population at least once in their lives, and there are some aspects of hemorrhoids that make the condition quite evident.
A lot of people have hemorrhoids without even realizing it. When they are small or you are only dealing with one or two of the swollen veins it is possible that you may not notice any discomfort or irritation on a regular basis. However, as hemorrhoids grow or as more develop, the condition can become quite painful.
There are two types of hemorrhoids:
- Internal Hemorrhoids
- External Hemorrhoids
Internal hemorrhoids develop inside of the anal cavity. It is impossible to see this type of hemorrhoid, unlike external hemorrhoids which are visible in the mirror as they develop outside of the anal sphincter. In some situations, it is possible to feel the presence of an internal hemorrhoid just inside the anal cavity, but you can’t always depend on this.
If you have never had hemorrhoids before, then you may have a few questions as to the specifics of the condition. Here is a quick guide to how to determine whether or not you have hemorrhoids with answers to a couple of frequently asked questions.
What do Hemorrhoids Look Like?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins that develop in the lining of the anal and rectal cavity. External hemorrhoids, being the only type visible to the naked eye, are the easiest to spot. These hemorrhoids look like small bulbs or growths of skin that stick out of the anal sphincter.
The color of hemorrhoids is typically the same as that of your skin, but may be red or blue depending on the severity. The size of the hemorrhoid will also vary depending on the severity.
You will only see an internal hemorrhoid with the help of an endoscopic camera, such as that is used in a colonoscopy. An image of internal hemorrhoids will show small growths sticking out of the lining of the anal cavity.
What do Hemorrhoids Feel Like?
Do hemorrhoids itch? Do hemorrhoids hurt?
These are some of the first questions that people will ask when they are trying to determine the cause of their discomfort. By far, the biggest complaint regarding hemorrhoids is the itching. The feeling of blood pulsing through a swollen and twisted vein in such a sensitive region of your body is going to cause you to feel itchy.
The worst part about itching hemorrhoids is that you can’t simply itch them, which typically causes the sensation to grow more severe. Sitting for a prolonged period of time will typically worsen the itching.
To alleviate itching caused by hemorrhoids you can try using cold compresses, take a warm sitz bath, or try using an over the counter ointment.
These solutions will help to reduce itching, as well as lessen the severity of other symptoms that commonly develop with hemorrhoids. Whether they are internal or external, all hemorrhoids produce the same symptoms at different levels of severity.
Common symptoms of hemorrhoids include:
- Throbbing or pulsing
- Light bleeding
- Pain during bowel movements
Bleeding causing by hemorrhoids is not typically severe. Bleeding occurs typically during a bowel movement, when the process of pushing causes the bulbous vein to tear or scratch. When this happens, the blood will show clearly on the tissue in a streak of bright red.
Any instance of blood in the stool, including tarry stools, is not caused by hemorrhoids. Blood in the stool is an indication of internal bleeding and should be immediately addressed by your doctor.
Another way to determine if the problem may be hemorrhoids is to try a few natural hemorrhoid remedies. If the problem is hemorrhoids then you ought to be able to find some relief by trying strategies like:
- Taking a warm bath or a sitz bath, which is a bath with just a few inches of water in the tub
- Using hemorrhoid ointments
- Sitting with a cold compress or ice pack
- Carefully wiping with a moist tissue after a bowel movement
- Applying witch hazel to the swollen vein