1. What do hemroids look like? Feel like?
Uniquely INTERNAL hemroid symptoms
The most obvious symptom of hemroids is that they are often seen (for example, by using a mirror) as a cluster of tiny grapes arising from the anus – the classic appearance of prolapsed internal hemroids. Although an internal hemroid may bleed, they are seldom painful unless infected or thrombosed.
Internal hemroids may protrude or come out of the anus, other times they remain inside the anus, out of view. Internal ones are pink in color.
The EXTERNAL hemroid symptoms
An external hemroid grows near the edge of the anus and looks more like a single small bulge or lump. Specifically,external hemroids have three main symptoms: They are seen as little bleeding areas that occur under the skin near the anus, which can be felt as little lumps. They also do not show through the opening, but develop more on the rim, just outside and because external hemorrhoids develop in the often darkened area of skin near the opening, they are often brownish in color. Most tend to look like the one in the picture shown.
INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL hemroids can have some symptoms in common
The size, shape and number of hemorrhoids varies from one person to another.
SIZE: A hemorrhoid can be larger than a grape, even walnut size, but typically hemorrhoids are the size of a pea.
NUMBER: Sometimes there is only one hemroid, while some people can have many – normally a small cluster of them is found. Most people with external hemroids have just one, while someone with a bothersome internal hemroid will possibly have more inside.
Hemroids can look like flattened grapes, some look like full grapes, while others may look wrinkly.
They can cover the anus, stopping the anal opening from being seen – more common for prolapsed internal ones or very swollen external.
An important symptom of hemorrhoids is their color
External ones are often a brownish colour.
Internal ones that are sticking out are usually a reddish pink colour, and might be shiny on the surface like the inside of your bowel is.
Purplish blue or dark reddish colours on a haemorrhoid might mean the blood inside them has become clotted or thrombosed.
2. The emotional symptoms of hemorrhoids YOU can control
Hemorrhoids have been agony to people throughout recorded history, and have played their part in changing history as well, by their ability to cause us to be grumpy, irritable and quick to anger, to lose focus and to make errors.
Hemorrhoids can be so distressing to a person, that even the horrific operations of bygone centuries were considered worthwhile by sufferers.
To read just how devastating hemorrhoids can be, just read the bit about Napoleon further on. Some historians say his hemorrhoids affected him so badly he lost his war! So you could easily lose your job or lose your business or an important client, even lose out in a relationship.
For some people, lumps in the anal region is a common sign / symptom. It may scare you at first, and cause much fear and concern (is it cancer? Do I have to go for surgery?), as it did me. But the lump is normally only internal hemorrhoids acting up. An anal prolapse literally refers to the internal lining of the anus appearing outside the anal aperture opening. Hence if an internal hemorrhoid appears outside the anal opening, it could be, by definition, described as a prolapse! However, prolapsing ones are not normally a medical emergency.
Guilt is an emotion sometimes linked to hemorrhoids. People can feel they are being punished for their behavior – eg for having anal sex. Hemorrhoids can make you feel that you are unclean in some way – but hemorrhoids aren’t contagious, you canâ€™t catch them off someone.. See the section further below on embarrassment for more information on this aspect of guilt.
3. The Sensation Symptoms of Hemorrhoids – What do Hemorrhoids feel like?
When you touch them with your fingers:
An external one normally feels like a small, hard lump on the outside of the anal opening, but close to it – pretty much growing on the rim itself. A prolapsed internal hemorrhoid feels soft, unless its blood supply has been affected, in which case it may feel very hard. An internal hemorrhoid when felt with fingers, feels like it is coming through the anal hole.
The sensation of having hemorrhoids
A very annoying symptom is that they can cause one’s bottom to become itchy, particularly round the anal opening. However, this symptom could also be a symptom of worms and or parasites. One guy sent me a photo complaining of the terrible itch he had had for months, when I looked, to my trained eye, I could see the poor bloke was infected with pubic lice. That’s one of the reasons why I put up pages to tell you about other conditions that may imitate symptoms of hemorrhoids.
There can be a burning sensation, pain or discomfort around the anal opening.
Hemorrhoids can also cause a feeling of incomplete evacuation of the bowel – you don’t feel like you’ve emptied your bowel, even though you have. This symptom is a particularly nasty one, as trying to get a stool out that isn’t there can aggravate or cause hemorrhoids in its own right. I think the bowel is interpreting large hemorrhoids or clusters of hemorrhoids as a bowel motion that hasn’t passed.
When hemorrhoids canâ€™t be felt and canâ€™t be seen
Generally this type is an internal hemorrhoid that has NOT prolapsed. You are aware of it only because of some spots of bright red blood in the stool or toilet bowel or your doctor has told you you have them.
Other distressing symptoms
Soiling of underwear can be a common symptom. This hemorrhoids symptom can also cause the other symptoms of itching and burning – akin to nappy rash.
Grade 1 hemorrhoids do not prolapse, may bleed.
Grade 2 prolapse – pop out – when straining, but then go back in of their own accord; they may bleed.
Grade 3 pop out when straining, tend to bleed more and have to be gently pushed back in.
Grade 4 hemorrhoids are showing all the time and bleed much more.
So, if your doctor starts talking about your hemorrhoids as a specific grade, you’ll have an idea of what he is on about, as well as the hemorrhoid symptoms he used to make the grading. Grading them is important to your doctor, as it allows him to suggest which medical treatment may be best.
External hemorrhoids are not graded. If the external ones are small and or do not cause any symptoms, your doctor will mostly just prefer to leave them alone. If they are troublesome to you, he may discuss dietary suggestions and creams. If that doesnâ€™t work, there are surgical options that you can consider â€“ have a look at hemorrhoid surgery.
So you think they are NO big deal? Wrong – Napoleon Bonaparte and his fight with Hemorrhoids.
It has been identified by Dr. Paul Wolf, 2001, that Napoleon Bonaparte could have won the Battle of Waterloo by attacking earlier in the day, but Napoleon Bonaparte delayed his attack because he suffered greatly from hemorrhoid pain that morning. By the time the afternoon came, the weather and troop disposition advantaged the British.
Napoleon Bonaparte suffered greatly from hemorrhoid pain during many of his battles, as the tension of battle apparently caused his sphincter muscles to tighten horrendously on them, thereby generating massive pain and discomfort for him.
Napoleon Bonaparte used bathing to help control the pain, but during the battle of Waterloo he was constipated which made his discomfort much worse. So he left the battlefield, left his army in the command of a subordinate, and sat in a bath to ease his miserable state, then went back to the battlefield later in the day, resumed his command. By that time, heâ€™d lost the battle, and thus the war!
An interesting bit of history there, one I think many of us can understand and sympathize with, as well as be warned from!
I have also heard of another version, where the battle was lost because Napoleon was unable to survey the battlefield properly, as his hemorrhoids caused him too much distress at the time. Without this surveillance information, it is argued he lost the battle.
The lesson to be learned:
Imagine what your hemorrhoid symptoms may be doing to you and your loved ones – you get grumpy, they get hurt – you want to ease your situation, they want a family activity. You may snap at your boss, or at a customer and what price do you pay then? You get the idea.
Symptoms, especially the burning, itching and pain, can be soul destroying if not controlled, may destroy your marriage and family, and constant pain and agony can lead to other significant health issues, depression being just one.
So take hemroids very seriously and deal with them, before they perhaps have the time to ruin you.
How Common are Hemorrhoids?
Normally, everyone has internal hemorrhoids at some time in their life, but they are not normally noticeable – they typically remain out of sight and show no signs nor symptoms. Believe it or not, about 10 million people in the world are afflicted by troublesome hemorrhoids every year.
So, if you have them you are not alone!
Normal Reaction to Finding Those Things we call Hemorrhoids
When the hemorrhoids do initially show themselves, the common reaction is one of shock, fear and concern.
All of a sudden, one’s nice looking bottom has the insides look like they are falling out of it and the hemorrhoids may also pain, itch and burn like nothing ever experienced before!
These hemroids symptoms are enough to get any ones attention real fast.
But having the problem of hemorrhoids is an embarrassing one.
We are trained about how dirty and unmentionable that area of our anatomy is, so when hemorrhoids drop out to say “Hi, I’m down here.”, as in pregnancy, the last thing you want to do is talk to people about them. Even talking to doctors about them can be embarrassing for those of us who just don’t like to talk about such things.
Why do I need to see a doctor? It’s so embarrassing!
Dealing with the embarrassment of hemorrhoids in the doctors surgery
The problem of shame may be exasperated even more with hemorrhoids, if you believe you caused them through a sexual act. You might feel that the doctor will pursue a too personal line of questioning. From my experience in discussing hemorrhoids and hemorrhoid treatments with doctors and surgeons, they haven’t asked questions of a too personal nature – they’re more interested in telling me what to do.
In fact, the problem of hemorrhoids is so widespread in the community, that doctors will often be sufficiently skilled to perform a simple banding or injection treatment while you are there in the office, or any type of medical treatment for that matter. They possibly see people suffering with hemorrhoids every day and are not typically embarrassed by it from my experience. So, once you get over the feeling of shame and embarrassment, realizing that the doctor wont likely get too personal in their questioning, you might feel a sense of relief about seeing them, and finding out about the treatment they feel is the best for you – most likely a dietary change to begin with.
Another good idea, is to write down the symptoms you have, so that when you go to discuss your symptoms with the doctor, it’s just a matter of you reading the symptoms out. So, even if you were to get a bit flustered, all the information can be conveyed without the feeling at the end of walking out of the appointment, “Jeez, I forget to say that. Would that change his diagnosis? Or the treatment I am having? ”
Think about me and my hemorrhoids. When I saw doctors, most of whom were males, they would have a look, some inside.
Yes, that was embarrassing, but it was better for me to get the correct diagnosis and the piles treatment options, than not.
Self diagnosis of hemorrhoids is difficult.
A non-medical person may confuse them with warts, abscess, anal fissure, anal prolapse, cancer or other conditions. A picture of hemorrhoids, actually many pictures, are included here to assist you, but medical assessment is strongly suggested.