Diagnosing Hemorrhoids

In order to make a hemorrhoids diagnosis, your healthcare provider will ask several questions about your current symptoms, recent trauma, and other issues. The healthcare provider will also look at your anus for signs of hemorrhoids and perform a rectal exam to feel for common causes of rectal bleeding.

How Are Hemorrhoids Diagnosed?

In order to diagnose hemorrhoids, your healthcare provider will begin by asking a number of questions (known as the medical history), followed by a physical exam. He or she may also recommend certain tests.
 

Medical History, Physical Exam, and Tests Used for Diagnosing Hemorrhoids

To help make a hemorrhoids diagnosis, your healthcare provider will begin by asking a number of questions. These questions will be related to:
 
  • Current symptoms
  • Current medical conditions, including such conditions as constipation or diarrhea
  • Any medications you may be taking
  • Any recent trauma
  • Sexual practices.
     
When diagnosing hemorrhoids, the physical exam is usually the most important part of the office visit. During the physical exam, your healthcare provider will look at your anus for signs of hemorrhoids. He or she will also do a rectal exam to feel for common causes of rectal bleeding.
 
If your healthcare provider is still unsure if hemorrhoids are causing your symptoms, he or she may recommend an anoscopy, proctoscopy, or sigmoidoscopy. These tests allow your healthcare provider to directly see the inside of the anus and rectum.
 

Is It Hemorrhoids or Another Medical Condition?

Hemorrhoids are the most common source of bleeding from the rectum and anus. However, there are a number of conditions that affect the anus or rectum that share similar symptoms. Some of these conditions include:
 
  • Anal fissure
  • Anal fistula
  • Perirectal abscess
  • Irritation and itching (pruritus ani) caused by excess moisture, diabetes, or liver failure
  • Infected pilonidal cyst.
     
In older people, the most important cause of bleeding from the rectum is rectal cancer or colon cancer. Therefore, if the bleeding lasts for more than a couple of days, it's important to see your healthcare provider. He or she can then diagnose your problem and recommend treatment.
 

Information on Hemorrhoids

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