Hemorrhoids, Polyps, Hernias or Worse

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Between hemorrhoids, colorectal polyps, hernias, and colorectal cancer, the polyps are least likely to cause rectal discomfort. At the first sign of a problem down south, does your mind assume the worse? What are the common symptoms and how do they differ?

Hemorrhoids

Vein swelling causes hemorrhoids. Internal hemor­rhoids often result in painless, bright red rectal bleeding when defecating. With external hemorrhoids, pain and swelling in the area of the anus is common. This vein swelling, in both cases, is more likely to occur between the ages of 45 to 65. Too much sitting or constipation can exacerbate hemmorroids. Thrombosed hemorrhoids occur when blood pools within an external hemorrhoid and forms a clot. With the tender, external nodule, you may not look forward to visiting the toilet. Flushable wipes can ease irritation.

External Hemorrhoid

The sensation ranges from unnoticeable to persistent sharp pain. If hemorrhoids are large enough to constrict elimina­tion, your bowel movements can be difficult. The bulge of external hemorrhoids might feel as though you have not thoroughly wiped yourself after a toilet visit, which is possible. Thrombosed hemorrhoids resemble but differ from cysts, that ooze. Hemorrhoids can, on their own, leak blood for a few seconds or minutes to release pressure. You should not attempt to force this by poking or squeezing. By minimizing area stress, thrombosed hemorrhoids often resolve on their own.

Over-the-counter remedies can shrink hemorrhoids within a week or two. Warm baths with epsom salt for 10 to 15 minutes two to three times a day is one of such remedies. Special anti-inflammatory creams with hydro­cortisone can hasten healing. If you have bleeding, excessive pain, or you have hemorrhoids that do not improve after reasonable home care, contact your doctor who may refer you to a gastroenterology specialist. A hemer­rhoidec­tomy may be necessary.

Anal Warts

Hemorrhoids, Polyps, Hernias or Worse

Anal warts (condyloma acuminata) are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD). The warts affect the area around and inside the anus, but may also develop on the skin of the genital area. They first appear as tiny spots or growths, often as small as a pin head, but can multiply into clusters and increase chances of cancer if left untreated.

Colorectal Polyps

Nearly everyone gets colorectal polyps. These are most often benign growths along the intestinal tract. A gastroenterologist usually lops them off during a routine colonoscopy. Rarely, polyps can become cancerous.

Perineal Hernia

A perineal hernia is the protrusion of intra-abdominal contents through a defect in the pelvic floor. It may contain small bowel, large bowel, bladder, uterus and omentum. A major cause is perineal surgery without adequate reconstruction. In some cases, reconstruction is difficult in surgeries to remove the coccyx and distal sacrum. Excessive straining during defecation can also cause a perineal hernia. Other causes include prostate or urinary disease, constipation, and diarrhea.

Colorectal Cancer

Let’s be honest. This is the most common concern when you are wiping yourself and feel a lump. But colorectal cancer is internal. Screening by means of colonoscopy at 10-year intervals usually begins at age 50 unless family history suggests to your doctor more frequently.

A cancerous growth can manifest anywhere along the intestinal tract. Symptoms include blood in the stool, change in bowel movements, weight loss, and feeling tired all the time. Ribbonlike stools suggest the presence of bowel obstructions. Depending on findings, you may come under the care of an oncologist or gastroenterologist.

Anal Cancer

Significantly more rare than colon cancer, anal cancer can be a byproduct of HPV or anal warts. It is indicated by the presence of external lump(s) and bleeding. Seek immediate medical diagnosis and care if this is a concern. You may be referred to an oncologist.

#AttributesAnal cancerColorectal cancer
IntroductionThis cancer arises from the anus, the distal opening of the gastro­intestinal tract. Symptoms may include bleeding from the anus or a lump near the anus. Other symptoms may include pain, itchiness, or discharge from the anus.Colorectal cancer, also known as bowel cancer, colon cancer, or rectal cancer, is the develop­ment of cancer from the colon or rectum. A cancer is the abnormal growth of cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body.
SymptomsAnal bleeding or lumpBloody stool, change in bowel move­ments, weight loss, constant fatigue
Risk factorsHPV, HIV/AIDS, receptive anal sex, smoking, many sexual partnersDiet, obesity, smoking, lack of physical activity, alcohol use
Diagnostic methodPhysical examina­tion, tissue biopsyTissue biopsy during a sigmoidoscopy or colonos­copy
PreventionHPV vaccination, avoiding risk factorsScreening from age of 50 to 75
TreatmentRadiation therapy, chemo­therapy, surgerySurgery, radiation therapy, chemo­therapy, targeted therapy
PrognosisFive year survival ~68% (US 2015)Five-year survival rate 65% (US)
Prevalence8,300 (US 2019)9.4 million (2015)

Similar disorders can have distinct characteristics that a gastroenterology professional notices. The statistically common cause of anal lumps, barring risky behavior or preexisting conditions, is hemorrhoids. A persistent thrombosed hemorrhoid can be excised by a gastroenterologist.

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Kevin Williams is a health advocate and writer of hundreds of articles for multiple web­sites, including: A Bit More Healthy, KevinMD (WebMD), and Sue’s Nutrition Buzz. He is a prior 15-year con­sul­tant for Neutrogena Research and Scientific Affairs.

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