Thrombosed hemorrhoids happen when sacs in the anal passage get pushed onto the outside of the anus and fill with blood clots. Having thrombosed hemorrhoids is not a serious condition but can be painful. They may make everyday activities uncomfortable, such as walking, sitting, or going to the toilet. Thrombosed hemorrhoids can affect anyone and are not a sign of being unhealthy. Here is more on the symptoms, causes, and outlook for this common condition.
What is a thrombosed hemorrhoid?
Hemorrhoids are enlarged vascular tissue in your lower rectum and anus. In other words, that’s the opening at the end of your large intestine through which stool leaves your body. Everyone has hemorrhoids. They don’t cause problems unless they swell up. Swollen hemorrhoids can cause itching and pain around your anus that can make bowel movements uncomfortable. A thrombosed hernia is when a blood clot forms inside a hemorrhoid. This condition isn’t dangerous, but it can be painful.
Most commonly, internal hemorrhoids have no symptoms but are only found if there is bleeding with a bowel movement or if the hemorrhoid prolapses so that it can be felt outside of the anus. This may lead to itching and pain as well as the bleeding. Prolapse of an internal hemorrhoid occurs when the internal hemorrhoids swell and extend from their location in the rectum through the anus. A prolapsed internal hemorrhoid:
- Can be felt as a lump outside the anus
- Can be gently pushed back through the anus, this may resolve the location of the hemorrhoid, but does not fix the hemorrhoid itself
- May become entrapped, which requires more urgent medical attention
Hemorrhoids are not a symptom of an underlying health concern but may be related to a person's diet. A person may develop hemorrhoids when more pressure is put on their anal passage. This may be caused by:
- pushing too hard when trying to pass a stool
- having diarrhea
- not going to the toilet regularly
- being pregnant, as the weight of the baby may put pressure on veins
When to see a doctor
Bleeding during bowel movements is the most common sign of hemorrhoids. Your doctor can do a physical examination and perform other tests to confirm hemorrhoids and rule out more-serious conditions. Also, make sure to talk to your doctor if you know you have hemorrhoids and they cause pain, bleed frequently or excessively, or don't improve with home remedies. Don't assume rectal bleeding is due to hemorrhoids, especially if you are over 40 years old. Rectal bleeding can occur with other diseases, including colorectal cancer and anal cancer. If you have bleeding along with a marked change in bowel habits or if your stools change in color, consult your doctor. These types of stools can signal more extensive bleeding elsewhere in your digestive tract.
How is it treated?
The main treatment for a thrombosed hemorrhoid is a procedure, called an external thrombectomy that makes a small cut in the clot and drains it. You will get local anesthesia to prevent you from feeling pain. This procedure works best if you have it within three days after the hemorrhoid appears. It works quickly, but the clots can come back. You might still have pain after surgery.
Thrombosed hemorrhoids can be very itchy, painful, and uncomfortable if left untreated, but symptoms can often be relieved using home remedies. If this is not the case, there are some medical treatments available. Rarely, a person may require surgery with general anesthetic. Treatments for hemorrhoids are effective most of the time. If a person experiences recurrent hemorrhoids, it is essential that they discuss this with their doctor.