Hemorrhoid problems can cause various symptoms. These often include itching, mucus discharge or a burning sensation in the anus. Painless bleeding is common too. This can happen if hard stool damages the thin walls of the blood vessels in hemorrhoids. Bleeding from hemorrhoids is usually visible as bright red or red blood, on toilet paper or in the stool. If you have blood in your stool, it’s important to see a doctor rather than try to diagnose the problem yourself.
Swollen hemorrhoids might come out of the anus and can then be seen as soft lumps of tissue. This is called a protruding or prolapsed hemorrhoid. Sometimes hemorrhoids are confused with anal skin tags. These are small flaps of skin that grow around the anus and can cause similar symptoms.
Larger hemorrhoids generally lead to more severe symptoms. They can make it feel like something is pushing against the anus, or like there is something in that area, and sitting can be very uncomfortable. People might also feel like their bowel isn’t really empty, although they have just gone to the toilet. Mucus or stool might come out by accident too, particularly when passing wind. More severe hemorrhoids can be very painful.
Hemorrhoids can be classified according to how severe they are:
Grade 1: Slightly enlarged hemorrhoids that can’t be seen from outside the anus.
Grade 2: Larger hemorrhoids that sometimes come out of the anus, for example while passing stool or – less commonly – during other physical activities. They then go back inside again on their own.
Grade 3: Hemorrhoids that come out of the anus when you go to the toilet or do other physical activities, but don’t go back inside on their own. They can be pushed back inside, though.
Grade 4: Hemorrhoids that are always outside the anus and can no longer be pushed back inside. Usually, a small bit of the anal lining comes out of the anus too. This is also known as rectal prolapse.
Itching or irritation in your anal region.
Pain or discomfort.
Swelling around your anus.