Symptoms and signs of hemorrhoids can include:
- Discomfort or pain in the anal region
- Irritation, swelling or itching of the anus
- Bleeding bright red blood into bowl or toilet paper during bowel movements, without feeling pain
- Bumps near the anus that can be painful or sensitive
- Feces leakage
The symptoms of hemorrhoids vary depending on where they are located. Internal hemorrhoids are found inside the rectum. They are usually unable to be seen or felt, and they generally cause no discomfort. Passing stool while straining or when the hemorrhoids are irritated can damage them and lead them to bleed. Sometimes, bearing down too hard can force an internal hemorrhoid outside through the anus. These protruding or prolapsed hemorrhoids can be painful and irritating.
External hemorrhoids are found under the skin of the anus. Irritated external hemorrhoids can bleed or itch uncomfortably. There is a risk of blood accumulating in an external hemorrhoid, causing a clot to form (thrombus). This in turn causes intense pain, inflammation and swelling.
While rectal bleeding is the commonest sign of hemorrhoids, other diseases such as anal and colorectal cancers cause bleeding as well. A physician's diagnosis of hemorrhoids is necessary to rule out any other, more serious, conditions that cause rectal bleeding. A physician should also be consulted if hemorrhoids bleed an excessive amount or for too long, cause excessive pain, or don't clear up after the use of over the counter medications.
It is also necessary to see your doctor right away if hemorrhoid symptoms are found alongside a drastic bowel habit change, or if stools are black, contain blood or blood clots, or tarry or maroon. Stools such as these can indicate serious bleeding in your digestive system.
If you suffer from excessive rectal bleeding, dizziness, feeling faint or lightheadedness, head to the emergency room right away.