Most individuals who have hemorrhoids discover them by either
- feeling the lump of an external hemorrhoid when they wipe themselves after a bowel movement,
- noting drops of blood in the toilet bowl or on the toilet paper, or
- feeling a prolapsing hemorrhoid (protruding from the anus) after bowel movements.
- anal fissures,
- perianal (around the anus) skin diseases,
- infections, and
Many people are embarrassed to go to their doctor about their hemorrhoid problems, which is probably why only an estimated 4% of people see the doctor even if 75% of us experience enlarged hemorrhoids at some point in time. Despite the embarrassment, hemorrhoids should always be examined professionally. Getting a medical exam will help your doctor recommend an effective treatment, and will also rule out more serious causes for your symptoms.
When you visit your doctor, you will probably be asked to describe your symptoms. The doctor will perform an examination to see whether your anus is inflamed, and whether enlarged hemorrhoids are present.
The doctor will want to know if you have found blood in your stool, which may prompt a bowel endoscopy examination. The doctor will likely feel for anything unusual through a digital rectal examination.
Remember that while this might be a little embarrassing and uncomfortable, hemorrhoid exams are usually painless. Also, your doctor is accustomed to caring for this sort of problem, which is very common.
If you seem to have enlarged hemorrhoids, the doctor will probably recommend a proctoscopy. During a proctoscopy, a short tube with light and a lens will be used to examine the membranes lining your rectum. This will let your doctor see the enlarged hemorrhoids and determine their size. Again, this procedure is usually painless.
Products used to treat hemorrhoids are available as
- foams, and