Hemorrhoids are classified into two major categories. The first category is internal hemorrhoids. The second category is external hemorrhoids.
The main difference between the two classes of hemorrhoids has to do with location. According to Mayo Clinic, external hemorrhoids lie under the skin around the anus while internal hemorrhoids occur inside the rectum.
Therefore, the main difference between the two has to do with where they are located. However, that is not all the difference there is between the two. There are a couple more differences between these two types of hemorrhoids. Here is what you should know.
#2. Bleeding hemorrhoid symptom
Bleeding is a common symptom of hemorrhoids. A person usually notices this bleeding in the toilet bowl. He or she may also notice blood on the toilet paper immediately after wiping themselves.
While it is possible for external hemorrhoids to bleed, this is more of a symptom of internal hemorrhoids. It usually occurs when stool damages a hemorrhoid’s surface, causing it to bleed.
Bleeding by internal hemorrhoids tends to be painless. In fact, in most cases, no other hemorrhoid symptoms usually occur.
#3. Pain symptom
Normally, internal hemorrhoids are painless. They don’t cause any discomfort. They don’t cause a burning sensation. And they don’t cause itching. The only sign that they exist is usually bleeding.
External hemorrhoids on the other hand are notorious for causing pain. They cause itching. They trigger a burning sensation. And they can be painful to such an extent that they call for surgical removal.
#4. Diagnosis by physical examination
Since external hemorrhoids form around the anus, they can be detected by a physical examination. You can see the swelling that these hemorrhoids cause. You can also feel pains when you touch them.
Physical examination is not a common method of detecting internal hemorrhoids. This is because they form inside the rectum. They are too hidden for a simple physical examination detection.
#5. Risks of getting thrombosed
External hemorrhoids are more likely to get thrombosed — meaning that a blood clot is more likely to form in these hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoid thrombosis is a common cause of the extreme pain that is usually associated with hemorrhoids. As for internal hemorrhoids, thrombosis isn’t really something of concern.
#6. Hemorrhoid prolapse
A hemorrhoid is said to be prolapsed when it protrudes outside. This is something that is only possible with internal hemorrhoids. Why? Because external hemorrhoids are already on the outside. They have nowhere to protrude to.
It is important to note that while internal hemorrhoids are generally symptom-less, they can sometimes become painful. They can also get irritated. And they can cause itching. This usually happens when they become prolapsed.
Preventing and treating internal and external hemorrhoids
Lifestyle changes can help prevent both internal and external hemorrhoids. And if you already have either of the hemorrhoids, changing your lifestyle can speed up the rate at which they heal.
Therefore, avoiding things like prolonged sitting and taking too long in the bathroom, can help. Taking a healthy diet that is rich in fiber, drinking plenty of water and exercising will also help.
If lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough to keep your hemorrhoids at bay or simply heal them, then you will need a hemorrhoid cream, ointment or suppository.
The good news about hemorrhoids is that they are common, and they are easy to treat. They can shrink and disappear on their own. And where they don’t, simple natural remedies for hemorrhoids can not only reduce their symptoms, but also heal them.
Therefore, while seeing blood in your stool is scary, sometimes it’s just hemorrhoids. And it is obviously nothing to over-worry about since they can be cleared quite easily.