Hemorrhoids don’t always cause symptoms, so you may not realize you have them. Most commonly, you could:
- Feel discomfort, itching, or pain around your anus
- See blood on the toilet paper or in the toilet bowl when you go to the bathroom
- Get moist, pink bumps around the edge of or bulging out from your anus (These may look purple or blue, too.)
When to Call Your Doctor
Even if you think it’s from hemorrhoids, you should call your doctor about any rectal bleeding. It’s also a symptom of colon polyps, colitis, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, and colorectal cancer. Anal fissures can also cause pain and bleeding. So you’ll want to make sure you get the right diagnosis and treatment.
If your hemorrhoids are very painful or aren’t getting better after you’ve tried treating them yourself, let your doctor know.
Diagnosis and Tests
Your doctor will look at your bottom. They may put a lubricated gloved finger or an instrument inside your anus. An anoscope is a hollow, lighted tube for viewing the lower few inches of the rectum. A proctoscope works like an anoscope, but it will let your doctor see more of the rectum.
You may need other tests to find internal hemorrhoids or rule out other conditions that can cause anal bleeding.
Sigmoidoscopy looks at the lower colon, or sigmoid, and a colonoscopy looks at the entire colon. Both use a lighted, flexible viewing tube that goes into the rectum.
A barium X-ray can also show the outline of the entire inside of your colon. First you’ll get a barium enema, then a technician will take X-rays of your lower gastrointestinal tract.
- FamilyDoctor.org: “Hemorrhoids Overview"; “Hemorrhoids Treatment"; and “Hemorrhoids Causes & Risk Factors."
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: “Hemorrhoids."
- Sneider E. Surgical Clinics of North America, February 2010.