How Do You Know If You Have Hemorrhoids?

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The most common signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids include itching, pain or irritation around the anal area, a lump near the anus, painless bleeding during bowel movements and leakage of feces, according to the Mayo Clinic. Although the primary symptom of hemorrhoids is bleeding during bowel movements, this symptom may also be caused by other, more serious conditions, such as anal cancer.

When the veins around the anus stretch under pressure, the resulting bulge or swelling is known as a hemorrhoid. Some factors that create the pressure needed to cause hemorrhoids include chronic diarrhea, chronic constipation, straining during bowel movements, obesity, pregnancy and a low-fiber diet, according to the Mayo Clinic. The likelihood of experiencing hemorrhoids increases with age as the tissues supporting the veins stretch and weaken.

Over-the-counter medications, such as ointments, creams and suppositories, may be used to ease the pain and discomfort caused by hemorrhoids, notes the Mayo Clinic. On rare occasions, certain minimally invasive procedures may be performed to treat persistent hemorrhoids. These include the use of rubber bands to cut off blood circulation to the hemorrhoid, an injection of a chemical solution or coagulation using a laser, infrared light or other type of light or heat. For large hemorrhoids, surgical removal may be necessary.