Catching the early warning signs of hemorrhoids is vital to lessen the pain and treat these swollen veins as soon as possible. If you notice these common hemorrhoid symptoms, consult with a physician at once:1
• Extreme itching, irritation and pain around the anus
• Appearance of itchy or painful lumps or swelling near the anus
• Fecal leakage
• Painful bowel movement
• Blood on tissue, stool or toilet bowl after bowel movement2
How to Diagnose a Potential Hemorrhoids Case
It’s important to know that internal and external hemorrhoids are diagnosed differently. External hemorrhoids may be identified via a physical exam, an overview of hemorrhoid history or in some instances may be visible to your physician.3,4
For internal hemorrhoids, there are different techniques that your physician might utilize to reach a proper diagnosis. These include:5,6
• Digital rectal exam: performed in order to check for growths within the anus, your physician inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into your rectum. If your physician spots any abnormalities, he or she might recommended additional testing.
• Sigmoidoscopy: a small fiber-optic camera called a sigmoidoscope is placed into a small tube and positioned into your rectum. Because of this, your physician is able to view the inside of your rectum to check for hemorrhoids.
• Proctoscopy:7 this procedure entails your physician inserting a thin and hollow tube with a light at the end into your anus. This enables him or her to see the entire anal canal or the last section of your large intestine.
• Anoscopy:8 a device called an anoscope (usually made from disposable plastic or stainless steel) is inserted into your anus. Your physician is able to examine your anal-rectal areas for hemorrhoids.
• Colonoscopy:9,10 a 4-foot long, flexible and narrow tube called a colonoscope is slotted into your anus and is moved slowly into your rectum and through the colon. Because of a tiny camera and light source attached to the tube, your physician is able to examine your rectum and some sections of your colon.
However, do take note that a colonoscopy might be recommended by your physician to examine your colon more extensively, especially if:11
o The signs and symptoms might indicate that you have another digestive system disease
o You exhibit risk factors for colorectal cancer
o You are over 50 years old and have not had a recent colonoscopy
Complications That You Could Experience If You Ignore Hemorrhoids
Although hemorrhoids are uncomfortable and painful, they are not life-threatening.12 Still it is important to have yourself checked for them as soon as possible ito prevent further complications such as:13,14
• Anemia: an ailment wherein your body lacks healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen into your cells. Blood loss from hemorrhoids prompts this condition, and may lead to fatigue or weakness.
• Strangulated hemorrhoid: occurs when the blood supply to an internal hemorrhoid is cut off. This can result in extreme pain and gangrene or tissue death.
• Thrombosed hemorrhoids: external hemorrhoids that develop painful blood clots cause thrombosed hemorrhoids. These can become irritated or infected and may increase the need for surgery.
• Prolapsed hemorrhoids: these are internal hemorrhoids that drop through the rectum and protrude from the anus. Just like thrombosed hemorrhoids, these have the potential to become irritated or infected and might require surgery.