Colon cancer and hemorrhoids are very different conditions, but they can produce blood in the stool. Seeing blood in the stool can be alarming, especially if you have never experienced it before. Most likely, you may have been straining when having a bowel movement and the bleeding is due to a hemorrhoid. In other cases, blood in the stool could be an indication of something more serious. Let’s take a look at both hemorrhoids and colon cancer so you can be informed.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are itching, painful or bleeding masses of swollen tissues and veins located in the anus and rectum. This results from congestion in the blood vessels around the anal canal. Hemorrhoids can be either internal (above the junction between the anus and rectum) or external (below the junction of the rectum and anus). About 89 percent of all Americans will experience hemorrhoids at some point in their lives, so they are much more common than you may think. Most hemorrhoids occur from an increase in pressure, often from straining to have a bowel movement. Hemorrhoids can also be caused by:
Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
Although the most common symptom of hemorrhoids is blood in the stool or blood on the toilet paper after wiping, there are other warning signs as well. Some other common symptoms of hemorrhoids are:
Hemorrhoids can be completely painless, as with internal hemorrhoids, or they can be quite painful when they are outside the anus. Depending in your toilet habits, you can exacerbate irritation and cause more bleeding and itching. Excessive rubbing or cleaning of the affected area can just make it worse.