Bleeding during bowel movements, itching,
and rectal pain are the most common
Rectal pain occurs mainly
with external hemorrhoids. Blood may pool under the skin, forming a hard,
painful lump. This is called a
thrombosed, or clotted, hemorrhoid. You might also
notice streaks of blood on the toilet paper after straining to pass a stool.
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About 10 million Americans suffer from hemorrhoids, which are swollen veins
in the rectum or around the anus. They can be internal or external.
External hemorrhoids more commonly cause symptoms of pain and itching when
irritated. Internal hemorrhoids generally are painless but can cause bleeding.
"They can cause bright red rectal bleeding, but if you have bleeding, don't
The most common symptom of
internal hemorrhoids is rectal bleeding. You may find bright red streaks of
blood on the toilet paper or bright red blood in the toilet bowl after having a
normal bowel movement. Blood also may be visible on the surface of the
Other symptoms of internal hemorrhoids may include:
Itching. This is a frequent complaint,
because internal hemorrhoids often seep mucus, which can irritate the anal skin
and cause itching.
Skin irritation. Large hemorrhoids that bulge
from the anus may secrete mucus, causing mild
Discomfort. You may still feel the urge to pass stool
right after having a bowel movement. This uncomfortable feeling is caused by
the bulging of the hemorrhoid in the end portion of the large intestine (anal
canal). In general, the larger the hemorrhoid, the greater the
Pain. Most internal hemorrhoids are not painful. But
large hemorrhoids that bulge from the anus may become painful if they swell and
are squeezed by the muscles that control the anus. Severe pain may be a sign
that the blood supply to the hemorrhoid is being cut off (strangulated
hemorrhoid). Emergency treatment is needed.
Rectal bleeding and pain and recent changes in bowel
habits are also symptoms of colon, rectal, or anal cancer. People who have
these symptoms, especially those age 50 or older or those with a family history
of colon cancer, need to talk to their doctors.