At least three of every four adults will experience hemorrhoids at one point or another in their life. If you have recently been diagnosed with hemorrhoids, you may not know that not all hemorrhoids are created equal. In fact, there are four different types of hemorrhoids, characterized by type, location, symptoms, or side effects. Below, we discuss the four types of hemorrhoids and how to distinguish between them.
What is a hemorrhoid?
Hemorrhoids, also called piles, are swollen veins or a group of veins in the region of the anus. Most hemorrhoids aren’t serious and you may not notice them. In fact, less than 5 percent of people who get hemorrhoids have symptoms, and most people will never need treatment for their hemorrhoids.
Overall symptoms of hemorrhoids include:
· Bleeding during bowel movements
· Itching or irritation in your anal region
· Pain or discomfort
· Swelling around the anus
· A lump near your anus which may be painful
Internal hemorrhoids are found inside the rectum and develop above the boundary that divides the upper two-thirds of the anal cavity from the lower third. If you notice bleeding during a bowel movement, this is a sign that you may have internal hemorrhoids. Bleeding happens when you pass stool, since it scrapes off the thinned lining of the hemorrhoid. Symptoms of internal hemorrhoids includes itching or discomfort in the area or blood on your toilet paper after bowel movements.
External hemorrhoids happen directly on the surface of your anus in the area where bowel movements evacuate. The symptoms of external hemorrhoids very similar to those associated with internal hemorrhoids. However, external hemorrhoids may cause additional discomfort of pain when sitting down or having a bowel movement due to their location.
These refer to hemorrhoids that have protruded through the anal canal. Prolapsed hemorrhoids often cause blood to appear on your stool, in the toilet bowl or on toilet paper. In some cases, people with prolapsed hemorrhoids also feel anal itching or incomplete evacuation, a feeling of discomfort that occurs when a person feels they may not have passed stool completely.
Thrombosed hemorrhoids are painful lumps in the anus that occur when a vein in the hemorrhoid forms a clot. This can cause pain, swelling and inflammation in the affected area. Thrombosed hemorrhoids are very common among pregnant women and young people.
If your hemorrhoids produce only mild discomfort, your doctor may suggest over-the-counter creams, ointments, suppositories or pads. These products contain ingredients, such as witch hazel, or hydrocortisone and lidocaine, that can relieve pain and itching, at least temporarily. If you experience a thrombosed external hemorrhoid, your doctor can remove the clot with a simple incision, which should provide immediate relief.
If you are feeling pain or discomfort in the anal region or suspect you may have hemorrhoids, contact a hemorrhoid specialist at the Colorectal Clinic of Tampa Bay today!