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What Are Hemorrhoids?

what are hemorrhoids

Story at-a-glance -

  • 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

Hemorrhoids refer to enlarged and swollen blood vessels that develop in the lower part of the rectum and anus.1 There are four known types of hemorrhoids: internal, external, thrombosed2 and prolapsed.3

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, particularly when thrombosis, or blood clots, occur in the vessels.

Hemorrhoids that are nonthrombosed or without blood clots look like rubbery lumps. Thrombosed hemorrhoids are also lumpy, but these protrude from the anus and possess a dark blue color because of the blood clot.4

How Long Does It Take for Hemorrhoids to Heal?

Hemorrhoids may clear up after a few days, even without treatment. However, as Medical News Today notes, patients with severe or recurring hemorrhoids tend to have a longer recovery time and may experience other complications that can negatively affect the healing process.5 While hemorrhoids are not life-threatening or contagious,6 they are painful and can cause bleeding and itching.7

Make sure to watch for blood in your stool, on your toilet paper or in the toilet bowl, since bleeding is a major indicator for both internal and prolapsed hemorrhoids.8,9 Thrombosed hemorrhoids also bleed when the skin over the lump breaks and the clotted blood seeps out.10

Itching around the rectum or anus is also common, especially with external hemorrhoids.11 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.12

If you notice blood when you pass stool or feel your anus becoming itchy, have yourself checked for hemorrhoids immediately, since certain complications, albeit rare, can occur. These include anemia or chronic blood loss, which 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.13


Hemorrhoids: Introduction

What Are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids Causes

Hemorrhoids Types

Hemorrhoids Symptoms

Hemorrhoids In Pregnancy

Hemorrhoids Treatment

Hemorrhoids Surgery

Hemorrhoids Prevention

Essential Oils for Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids Diet

Hemorrhoids FAQ

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