What do hemorrhoids feel like?
Hemorrhoids may often be quite painless and can even go quite unnoticed by the person affected. Other sufferers may experience any or all of these symptoms:
- Bleeding during bowel movements.
- Swelling protruding from the anus. In some cases, the hemorrhoids might feel like small lumps in the anus and project from the back passage only after straining on the toilet; in severe cases, the swellings will be constantly visible.
- Itching, discharge or dull pain.
What do they feel like?
Internal hemorrhoids lack nerve endings, and do not feel like the external hemorrhoids when problematic symptoms arise. Without the same abundant nerve endings, inflamed internal hemorrhoids can’t feel like external hemorrhoids. External hemorrhoids are abundant in nerve endings, and when inflamed can feel quite painful.
Thrombosis (clot within the hemorrhoid) can occur with external hemorrhoids. A thrombosed hemorrhoid will feel like a very painful swollen lump and look like a purple grape. This feeling of pain in the hemorrhoid will occur when external hemorrhoids rupture. Blood leaks out of the external hemorrhoid vein and clots under the thick anal skin, causing thrombosis. When thrombosed, external hemorrhoids feel painful and itchy but usually do not bleed unless the clot ruptures. External hemorrhoids can also feel swollen and uncomfortable without thrombosis.
Internal hemorrhoids can also rupture, but when internal hemorrhoids rupture, people usually do not feel pain like with external hemorrhoid rupture. The anal lining covering the internal hemorrhoid is too weak to hold, so the blood leaks out of the anus. Since the lining lacks nerve endings, internal hemorrhoid rupture does not feel like the pain of an external hemorrhoid rupture.
Without rupturing, internal hemorrhoid swelling can cause a feeling of urgency, meaning it feels like the need to have a bowel movement. Internal hemorrhoid prolapse, when the internal hemorrhoid protrudes outside of the anus, can also create a feeling like pressure or urgency. Internal hemorrhoids may feel like itching or pain in the surrounding tissue, or cause mucous discharge from the anus.
It is important to remember that uncomfortable hemorrhoid symptoms are not life threatening when diagnosed properly. Most hemorrhoid symptoms, such as hemorrhoids that feel itchy or mildly uncomfortable, can be treated with medications or in office procedures. Do not be afraid of having your hemorrhoids treated, as the office procedures are quite painless and can prevent the need for a surgical hemorrhoidectomy.
Please keep in mind that not all symptoms that feel like lumps and bleeding in the rectal area are caused by hemorrhoids. Other diseases can produce symptoms which feel like hemorrhoids. Therefore, if you have any hemorrhoid symptoms which feel like an anal lump, bleeding, discharge, pain, prolapse, or itching, it is important to seek the help of a doctor, such as a proctologist or colorectal surgeon.