How Painful Are Hemorrhoids?

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Trying to describe the pain of hemorrhoids to someone who has never had one cannot do the burning, searing, and throbbing sensations justice.

In the U.S. alone, more than 50% of adults over the age of 50 have experienced hemorrhoids, also known as piles. Another 5% of the total population also suffers from the pain of hemorrhoids.

At Sierra Pacific Surgical, our experienced team of doctors regularly gets asked a lot of questions about hemorrhoids from our Sacramento, CA patients. Below, we’re going to answer the most common questions about this frustrating and painful issue, tell you how hemorrhoids are treated, and give you some hemorrhoid prevention tips.

How painful are hemorrhoids?

People with hemorrhoids can experience different symptoms and levels of pain. Some may feel an irritated, burning sensation or a painful throbbing combined with itching. The most common symptoms of hemorrhoids include:

  • Pain during a bowel movement
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Tenderness or soreness
  • Throbbing and aching, especially while sitting
  • Bleeding bright red blood, on toilet paper, in the toilet bowl, and/or in stool
  • Bumps or lumps that may feel hard and tender

Some people with hemorrhoids may not feel anything at all.

What are the different types of hemorrhoids?

Not all hemorrhoids are painful. There are three types of hemorrhoids:

Internal hemorrhoids

These are located deep inside the rectum and typically cannot be seen or felt. This type of hemorrhoid is usually considered painless since there are few pain-sensing nerves in this area.

External hemorrhoids

These are located just under the skin around the anus which is outside the rectum. These are the typical hemorrhoids that can cause much pain and discomfort.

Thrombosed hemorrhoids

These occur when a blood clot causes a hemorrhoid to turn a dark blue/purple color and can cause bleeding, severe pain, and itching.

What causes hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids occur when the veins and blood vessels of the lower rectum and/or anus become irritated and swollen. When the walls of these blood vessels bulge and become inflamed, they become a hemorrhoid.

Hemorrhoids can be caused by:

  • Straining when trying to have a bowel movement
  • Chronic constipation and/or diarrhea
  • A low-fiber diet
  • Pregnancy
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • The effects of aging
  • Sitting for a long time on the toilet
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Obesity

What does a hemorrhoid look like?

Hemorrhoids aren’t always visible. Internal hemorrhoids are typically not seen since they are located high in the rectum. However, an internal hemorrhoid can come down from the rectum and bulge out of the anus, known as a prolapsed hemorrhoid. External hemorrhoids may look like one or more lumps or bumps around the anus or nothing at all. A thrombosed hemorrhoid may look bluish or purple, and in extreme cases, it may resemble a small grape.

How are hemorrhoids treated?

While some hemorrhoids can go away on their own or with lifestyle and dietary changes, others need treatment. At Sierra Pacific Surgical, our board-certified and board-eligible doctors provide three easy, effective treatments for hemorrhoids at our Folsom, CA and Roseville, CA practices. These include:

  • In-office rubber band ligation
  • Hemorrhoidopexy, or stapling
  • Hemorrhoidectomy, or surgical removal

How can you prevent hemorrhoids at home?

There are some very simple at-home tips for dietary and lifestyle changes that can reduce the symptoms of hemorrhoids and help prevent them in the future, including:

  • Eat a diet high in fiber or take fiber supplements
  • Don’t strain during a bowel movement
  • Don’t wait when you feel the urge to go
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid sitting for long periods

Get relief for hemorrhoid pain

The pain, burning, itching, and throbbing of hemorrhoids can make sitting difficult, bathroom time a nightmare, and seriously affect your quality of life. That’s why at Sierra Pacific Surgical, our experienced team of doctors provides a variety of treatment options to help you get relief from hemorrhoids. If you’re in Sacramento, CA, or the Northern California area, contact our Folsom, CA or Roseville, CA practices today to schedule a consultation. Relief from the pain and discomfort of hemorrhoids can be as easy as a simple, quick in-office visit at Sierra Pacific Surgical.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.