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Piles (haemorrhoids) - Symptoms of piles (haemorrhoids)

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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Most cases of haemorrhoids (piles) are mild and the symptoms often disappear naturally after a few days.

Some people may not even realise they have haemorrhoids as they do not experience symptoms. However, where symptoms do occur they may include: 

  • bleeding after passing a stool (the blood will be bright red)
  • a pile may move down, outside of the anus (prolapse) and may need to be pushed back after passing a stool
  • a mucus discharge after passing a stool 
  • itchiness around your anus (the opening where solid waste leaves the body)
  • soreness and inflammation around your anus
  • feeling like your bowels are still full and need to be emptied

Haemorrhoids are not usually painful unless they become 'strangulated' and bulge outside the anus. In this case, the muscles of your anus will tighten around the haemorrhoid, causing it to become hard and painful.

Other types of haemorrhoid

Haemorrhoids associated with external blood clots beneath the skin are known as perianal haematoma. A thrombosed external haemorrhoid is a hard lump made up of blood clots which develops around the anus. Both perianal haematomas and thrombosed external haemorrhoids are painful.

When to seek medical advice

You should see your GP if your haemorrhoid symptoms are persistent and severe.

Also, seek medical advice if you notice blood or mucus in your stools. As well as being a symptom of haemorrhoids, it could also be a sign of other conditions.

Read more about how haemorrhoids are diagnosed.

Medical Review: April 22, 2012
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