One of the main and unpleasant hemorrhoid symptoms is itchiness. Sufferers are very tempted to scratch but need to try to resist this as scratching only makes the symptoms of hemorrhoids worse.
Other symptoms of hemorrhoids include the pain and discomfort from the so called “piles”, resembling soft lumps in bunches, which may appear at the opening of the anal passage after you have been straining when having a bowel movement. There is also a mucus covering to these bunches or piles which can easily be damaged from a bowel movement, leading to bleeding. This bleeding is a further hemorrhoid symptom.
The hemorrhoids that occur outside the rectum are called external hemorrhoids, involving the veins around the anus. They can be itchy or painful and they do sometimes crack and bleed. Sometimes an external hemorrhoid becomes cut off from its blood supply. A clot can then form in the hemorrhoid, resulting in very severe pain. When such a blood clot forms, a tender lump can be felt on the edge of the anus and bight red blood is visible on the toilet paper or even in the toilet after a bowel movement.
Internal hemorrhoids are those that occur inside the rectum. They may be so small and deep inside the rectum that no hemorrhoid symptoms are noticeable.
Some internal hemorrhoids can become prolapsed hemorrhoids. The symptoms in these cases are clear cut – so much so that medical practitioners use a grading system to classify them as follows:
- Grade 1 hemorrhoids project into the anal canal. While they often bleed, they do not prolapse.
- Grade 2 hemorrhoids may protrude beyond the anal verge due to straining when passing a bowel movement but then reduce again when straining ceases.
- Grade 3 hemorrhoids protrude spontaneously or without straining. They require manual reduction which means they need to be gently pushed back into the anal canal.
- Grade 4 hemorrhoids are chronically prolapsed and cannot be reduced. At this stage, they contain both internal and external components and may present with acute thrombosis or strangulation.
The best treatment for hemorrhoids, and the symptoms of hemorrhoids, is often a combination of a change in your habits or lifestyle together with either over-the-counter medications or natural treatments. If you can persevere with this combination, you will usually be able to successfully treat your hemorrhoid condition and hemorrhoid symptoms.
See your doctor if hemorrhoid symptoms do not improve with home treatment. You should also be seen if you have rectal bleeding.