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what are hemorrhoids

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  • There are four known types of hemorrhoids, namely internal, prolapsed, external and thrombosed
  • Hemorrhoids can be distinguished from other lumps or marks on your body, because they swell, become inflamed or form a clot, and cause symptoms
 

What You Need to Know About Hemorrhoids

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Hemorrhoids are enlarged and swollen blood vessels that are found in the lower part of the rectum and anus.1 There are four known types of hemorrhoids, namely internal, prolapsed, external and thrombosed.2

Hemorrhoids can be distinguished from other lumps or marks on your body, because they swell, become inflamed or form a clot, and cause symptoms. It’s important to know that not all hemorrhoids look the same, in particular they look different when thrombosis, or blood clots, occurs in the vessels.3

A non-thrombosed hemorrhoid (without blood clots) will appear as a rubbery lump. On the other hand, a thrombosed hemorrhoid appears lumpy, but will rise from the anus and have a dark blue color because of the blood clot inside the vessel.4

Most hemorrhoids patients typically feel better after about two weeks, but healing time actually depends on the type of hemorrhoid that you have:5

Internal: Seven days (small hemorrhoids)

Prolapsed: Two months (for improvement)

External: Seven days (small hemorrhoids)

Thrombosed: Three months

People who get hemorrhoids for the first time often heal faster. Worsened conditions may lead to longer recovery periods, with recurring cases needing an additional two or more recovery weeks.6 While hemorrhoids are not life-threatening or contagious, they are painful and can cause side effects such as bleeding and itching.7, 8

Common Symptoms of Hemorrhoids

Make sure to watch out for blood in your stool, toilet paper or toilet bowl, since bleeding is a major indicator for both internal and prolapsed hemorrhoids.9, 10 Thrombosed hemorrhoids also bleed when the skin over the hemorrhoid breaks and the clotted blood seeps out.11

Itching around the rectum or anus is also common, especially with external hemorrhoids.12 People with internal hemorrhoids experience itchiness as well, since the hemorrhoid itself may leak mucus that results in inflamed skin around the anus, causing a burning and itchy sensation.13

If you notice blood when you pass stool or feel your anus becoming itchy, have yourself checked immediately, since certain complications, albeit rare, can occur. These include anemia or chronic blood loss that can predispose you to fatigue and weakness, or a strangulated hemorrhoid wherein the blood supply to an internal hemorrhoid is blocked and causes extreme pain and gangrene or tissue death.14

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Hemorrhoids: Introduction

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Hemorrhoids Causes

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