Although developing hemorrhoids may seem embarrassing, it’s one of the most common conditions that we can experience in our lifetime and it can affect any one of us. Estimates state that around half of all adults have had to deal with hemorrhoids by the age of 50, though hemorrhoids are most common between the ages of 45 and 65, or during pregnancy. The good news is that in most cases the condition is mild and easily treatable.
Common Hemorrhoid Symptoms
Hemorrhoid symptoms are usually mild and quite often disappear naturally on their own. In many cases, people don’t even notice the signs. Around fifty percent of the population will suffer from them by the age of fifty, and only a small percentage of those cases will ever become serious. Some of the most common signs are:
- Itchiness around the anus
- Bleeding when passing a stool (bright red blood)
- General discomfort around the anus
- Pain around the anus
- Mucus discharge after passing a stool
- Pain when passing a stool
- Swelling around the anus
- A feeling of fullness in the bowels even after passing a stool
- A hard lump around the anus.
Although bleeding through hemorrhoids isn’t usually a problem, it can become severe, in which case it’s important to visit a doctor.
Internal and External
There are two broad types of hemorrhoid. If it forms within the top of the anal canal, it’s called an internal hemorrhoid. If it forms near the anus, at the lower end of the anal canal, then it’s called an external hemorrhoid.
The hemorrhoids themselves are made up of blood vessels and supporting tissue. As the area bulges out into the anal canal, this can cause the symptoms that are commonly associated with them. These will differ from person to person, and also depend on the type that has developed.
This type is classified according to grades from one to four.
- Grade one are small swollen areas on the inside lining of the anus, which cannot be seen and are very common.
- Grade two are enlarged versions of grade one. They can be pushed out while passing a stool, but go back in afterwards.
- Grade three also called prolapsed hemorrhoids, are outside of the anus, and you may feel lumps in the area. They can be pushed back using a finger.
- Grade four can get very large in size and cannot be pushed back into the anus. It’s important to get medical treatment for this type of internal hemorrhoid.
External hemorrhoids are lumps that develop on the outside of the anus. Because of their position on the anal canal, they have less of an effect on the workings of the anus and usually don’t produce as many symptoms as internal hemorrhoids.
However, external types can cause problems when blood clots form inside of them, a process known as thrombosis. This is a very painful condition that requires professional medical treatment. In general, external hemorrhoids are less common and easily treatable.
The good news is that they are rarely serious. In many cases they can be treated by a few dietary changes or you could use some home remedies for hemorrhoids. When hemorrhoids become more severe, surgery may be used to treat them. Although complications are rare, anemia can form as a result of the blood lost, making you feel weak and tired.
If you’ve noticed hemorrhoid symptoms that include bleeding during bowel movements then it’s important to visit a doctor to rule out any other condition that can also cause bleeding (such as anal cancer or colorectal cancer). Your doctor will perform a number of tests to diagnose hemorrhoids and will give you advice on how to treat them.
This is something we should never be embarrassed about, as it can happen to anyone. So ask your questions or leave your comments…that’s what life is all about.