Signs and Symptoms
You may have a hemorrhoid if you notice:
- Small amounts of bleeding during bowel movements, especially if straining
- Itching or irritation from bulging hemorrhoids
- Pain or discomfort in the rectum
- Soreness or pain when cleaning the anal area
- A lump close to the anus, which may be painful or sensitive
- Stool leakage
There are many factors that may increase your risk of developing hemorrhoids:
- Low fibre intake in your diet
- Straining during a bowel movement
- Chronic constipation or diarrhea
- Sitting for long periods of time on the toilet
- Rushing to complete a bowel movement
- Anal intercourse
- Illness; long-term heart or liver disease which can cause
- blood pooling in the abdomen and pelvic area
Risks associated with hemorrhoids
Sometimes, although rare, complications may arise from bleeding hemorrhoids. Anemia occurs when the red blood cell count is lower than normal, and can develop when you continually loose blood. Symptoms of anemia include fatigue and weakness.
Another complication is a strangulated hemorrhoid. When the blood supply to a hemorrhoid is cut off, the hemorrhoid may become strangled, which causes severe pain and tissue death.
If bleeding from hemorrhoids continues without improvement for more than one week, you should contact your physician.
Preparing for an Appointment to Discuss Hemorrhoids
Working collaboratively with your health care professional will help you protect your body from digestive problems and maximize your digestive health. When you report your health status completely, concisely and accurately, your physician can provide you with the best care and treatment plan. Be sure to stay informed on ways to maintain your health and well-being, track and record your symptoms, and write down questions and concerns to discuss at your next appointment.
Good communication with your doctor is an important part of any effective health management strategy. Before you visit your doctor, write down:
- Symptoms that you are experiencing
- How often you are experiencing symptoms
- Streaks of blood in the toilet, on toilet paper or on stool
- Location and severity of pain or discomfort, if any
- Changes to your bowel movements
- A list of medications you are taking and why you are taking them
- Questions you want answered during the appointment