How Do You Know if You Have Hemorrhoid Symptoms or Something More Serious?
Many of the symptoms of hemorrhoids are similar to the signs of more serious conditions like bowel or anal cancer. Because it is important to catch cancer in its early stages you should discuss any new symptoms with your GP, but this guide can help you in the meantime.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins inside or around the opening to your anus. They can present with no symptoms or can cause uncomfortable symptoms like rectal itching and bleeding.
- Bright red blood after you use the toilet
- Itchy or painful rectum
- Lumps in or around your anus
- Still feeling the urge to go
- Slimy mucus
- Pain after you use the toilet
Causes of hemorrhoids include constipation, a low fibre diet, and sitting too long on the toilet as well as being overweight, pregnant, or older in years.
Hemorrhoids vs. Cancer
Cancer is caused by a rapid, uncontrolled growth in cells that can spread to other parts of the body. Rectal cancer can have similar symptoms to hemorrhoids such as bleeding from the rectum, a growth or lump in the or around the anus, changes in bowel habits, bloody stool, and pain when you go to the toilet.
However, rectal cancer has many symptoms that are different from hemorrhoids like unexplained weight loss, tarry stool, fatigue, and anaemia. Rectal cancer has to be diagnosed by a biopsy but hemorrhoids can usually been seen or palpated during a physical exam. Additionally, hemorrhoids cause itchiness but cancer does not.Your symptoms are most likely related to hemorrhoids if:
- Symptoms get better with home treatment
- You are pregnant or have persistent constipation
- You have a history of hemorrhoids
- You can feel a lump near the anus or can see one with a mirror
The good news is hemorrhoids can often be treated effectively at home with products from a pharmacy. The most common method is applying a topical ointment or cream directly to the hemorrhoids to reduce the symptoms and their size.
In the rare case your hemorrhoids don’t go away, you may need medical intervention.
- Band It: a non-surgical procedure where a band is placed around the piles to make them fall off
- Staples: a surgical procedure where the piles are staples back inside your anus