Bleeding Hemorrhoids, When To Take Them Seriously
Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are varicose veins in the wall of the anus and rectum. Hemorrhoids may result in painless, bright red blood per rectum (fresh discharge) or dark brown blood covered with new red blood (old discharge). This article discusses different types of bleeding Hemorrhoids and when it’s a sign of something more serious.
Hemorrhoids That Bleed
Bleeding occurs because hemorrhoidal tissues are fragile and they often break during bowel movements. However, not all anal bleeding is due to hemorrhoids; any process which irritates the lining of the anus can cause hemorrhoid-like symptoms, including itching, pain, irritation, or bleeding.
Such conditions include colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis), anal fissures, and more. Suppose hemorrhoids have been present for a long time. In that case, they can become thrombosed hemorrhoids, where the hemorrhoidal veins are so engorged with blood that they form a hard woody clot inside them.
Bleeding is often first noticed during bowel movements. It can be more visible if one wipes oneself using toilet paper rather than washing with water afterward.
Small hemorrhoids which do not cause bothersome symptoms may eventually heal themselves without treatment. However, hemorrhoids that produce significant pain or bleeding require a gastroenterologist, family physician, proctologist, or colorectal surgeon evaluation.
What Are Hemorrhoid Symptoms?
Hemorrhoids produce symptoms when they become inflamed, thrombosed, or prolapsed. They may also occur in people with no hemorrhoid symptoms when straining during defecation. Symptoms of hemorrhoids include the following:
- Pain in the anus (internal hemorrhoids)
- Itching around the anus (external hemorrhoids)
- Discomfort while sitting (can be caused by a prolapsed hemorrhoid pressing on nearby tissue)
- Bright red blood on toilet paper, in the bowl of the toilet, and on surrounding tissue after a bowel movement
- Feeling something bulging from the anus.
- Possible constant urge to have bowel movements.
Although hemorrhoids are reasonably common, hemorrhoidal symptoms are still embarrassing for many people. Chronic constipation that commonly accompanies hemorrhoids can cause hemorrhoid symptoms to persist or even worsen in some cases.
What Does It Mean If My Hemorrhoids Bleed?
The two types of hemorrhoids which may bleed are internal hemorrhoids and external hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids usually prolapse (or “pop-out”) during a bowel movement when the muscles surrounding the anus relax suddenly due to passing stool or strain. Some people notice their internal hemorrhoids protruding through the anal opening when they sit down. This exposed hemorrhoid may then rub against clothing, causing pain and itching, leading to hemorrhoid symptoms.
People with hemorrhoids may also notice dark brown clumps of old dried blood passed along with bowel movements that look much like coffee grounds. This is called hematochezia (passage of blood through the anus) and is most commonly the result of hemorrhoidal bleeding.
Can You Pop Hemorrhoids?
Although it can be pretty painful to have hemorrhoids prolapse, they are not really “popped” like a pimple or boil. Prolapsed hemorrhoids cannot be “popped” because they are filled with blood inside the hemorrhoidal veins until they return to the anal sphincter.
It can be pretty painful when this occurs because there is no room for expansion of the engorged hemorrhoidal veins when hemorrhoids prolapse and the anus sphincter muscles squeeze tightly around the hemorrhoid, causing it to become trapped between muscle fibers.
The hemorrhoidal veins can be “popped” outside of the anal canal when they become thrombosed. This may occur during a bowel movement or while wiping oneself after a bowel movement.
How Long Does Hemorrhoid Last?
Although hemorrhoids usually do not last very long, some cases of hemorrhoids do persist for weeks to months. Some people have prolapsed hemorrhoids that do not respond well to hemorrhoid creams, hemorrhoid suppositories, or hemorrhoid enemas.
When this happens, surgery may be necessary to remove hemorrhoids. If hemorrhoids last longer than a few weeks or months, you should consult your primary care doctor about other treatments.
Is There Anything I Can Do To Make My Hemorrhoids Stop Bleeding?
You can take several steps that will help to alleviate the discomfort and itching associated with hemorrhoids. Many people find that taking warm baths helps reduce the pain of inflamed hemorrhoids. Suppose you are currently treating your hemorrhoids topically (such as using Preparation H).
In addition, hemorrhoids can be irritated by wiping too hard, and hemorrhoids often bleed more when the stool is complex and challenging to pass. If this is the case, you should consider using a hemorrhoid cushion or hemorrhoid pillow to sit on.
Ask your doctor about HemWell, an FDA-approved, pain-free treatment that’s permanent. If your provider doesn’t offer HemWell, we can assist you in finding one that does. Please visit our website to learn more about this life-changing treatment. Learn more about hemorrhoids.