Unfortunately, most internal hemroids produce no symptoms until well advanced due to their location.
Internal hemroids start inside the anal canal, above the band of sensitive nerves that control the anal sphincter. As they originate in such a low nerve-density area, internal hemroids symptoms usually do not include direct pain.
However, there are a few telltale internal hemroids symptoms that usually occur before the problem gets completely out of control. Catch them early and you have a high chance of treating hemroids at home successfully.
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The most common symptom of internal hemroids is bright red bleeding on underwear, toilet paper, stool or in toilet water.
Internal hemroids are incredibly prone to easy bleeding for a number of reasons. The first reason is that an internal hemroid is a protrusion into the anal canal, which is supposed to be rather smooth. Of course, any protrusion is going to get hit more than smooth muscle wall.
In addition, the mucus membrane is thinner and more delicate than skin to begin with. When it swells outwards, as with a hemroid, the overlying tissue gets even thinner.
Most internal hemroids are also inflamed to some degree, which means that there is more blood collecting in the hemroid than in other areas of the anal canal, which means that more blood comes out.
Last, an internal hemroid is a varicosity, or swelling, of a relatively large blood vessel. Therefore a hemroid brings its blood vessel much closer to the surface of the mucus membrane than normal, which vastly increases the chance of noticeable bleeding.
Another common symptom of internal hemroids is incomplete bowel movements.
If the hemroid is large enough, stools may have a more difficult time getting by, which can seriously prolong a bowel movement past the normal time it takes.
This is a problem that also leads to the infection of internal hemroids. Fecal matter can collect around the protrusion and if a wound is opened, the perfect conditions for infection are promptly created.
In addition to incomplete bowel movements, internal hemroids can cause a continual feeling of incomplete defecation or need to go if they get big enough due to the pressure hemroids put on anal cushions.
Anal itching also tends to be another common symptom of internal hemroids for a variety of reasons.
When internal hemroids get irritated, which they do rather easily, they start putting out mucus to attempt to soothe the irritation. When that mucus gets on exterior skin, it dries and itches like mad.
In addition, an internal hemroid can block the anal canal from closing completely, which can let intestinal fluid and a tiny amount of fecal matter out, leading to further itchiness and irritation.
It is important to never, ever scratch this area, as scratching will only irritate everything worse and lead to a vicious cycle of misery.
Pat or gently wipe with clean, soft unscented toilet paper and wear loose-fitting underwear to help the situation as much as possible. If desired, you can moisten the toilet paper with clean, plain water, but never use harsh or scented cleansers as this, too, will only make the problem worse.
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If your internal hemroid progresses, you may feel a soft lump appearing on occasion at the anal opening.
If the tissue is soft, moist, and about what you’d expect an interior mucus membrane to feel like, you have a prolapsed hemroid.
If it just peeks out and retracts on its own during a bowel movement, it’s at stage two.
At stage three, it comes out with a bowel movement and only retracts when you poke it back with a finger, and at stage four it doesn’t retract at all.
If you have a prolapsed hemroid, you need to get to a doctor before an anal sphincter muscle spasm turns it into a strangulated hemroid. If the anal sphincter closes too tightly around the hemroid, it can cut off the blood supply entirely, which means that gangrene and systemic infection are not far behind.
Keep these symptoms in mind, and remember, hemorrhoids can be treated and cured at home most easily when caught early. If you know that you’re prone to hemroids or are suffering from a condition that leads to them, be aware of these symptoms and don’t let them go on too long before seeking treatment.
Research and main write by Loni L. Ice, editing and additional writing by D. S. Urquhart.