External hemorrhoids can get irritated and clot under the skin, causing a hard
painful lump. This is called a thrombosed, or clotted, hemorrhoid.
Your doctor can
tell if you have hemorrhoids by asking about your past health and doing a
You may not need many tests at first, especially
if you are younger than 50 and your doctor thinks that your rectal bleeding is
caused by hemorrhoids. Your doctor may just
examine your rectum with a gloved finger. Or your doctor may use a short,
lighted scope to look inside the rectum.
Rectal bleeding can be a
sign of a more serious problem, such as colon, rectal, or anal cancer. So if
the first exam does not show a clear cause of your problems, your doctor may
use a lighted scope (sigmoidoscope) to look at the lower
third of your colon. Or your doctor may use another kind of scope (colonoscope) to
look at the entire colon to check for other causes of bleeding.
For most external
hemorrhoids, home treatment is all you need. This includes slowly adding
fiber to your meals, drinking more water, and using
over-the-counter ointments for a limited time to stop itching. You also may use
stool softeners. The same home treatment can be used for most internal
If your internal hemorrhoids are severe, you may
need other treatment. The doctor may tie off the hemorrhoids with rubber bands
or scar the tissue around the hemorrhoids. These treatments reduce the blood
supply to the hemorrhoids so that they shrink or go away.
to remove hemorrhoids may be done if other treatments don't work.
Healthy habits can help you prevent hemorrhoids or keep them from getting
worse. Eat foods that have lots of fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole
grains. Also, drink plenty of water, and get plenty of exercise.