Can hemorrhoids cause cramping: Colon Cancer vs. Hemorrhoid Symptoms and Differences
Is It Hemorrhoids or Colon Cancer?
Although hemorrhoids and colon cancer are two very different conditions, they can share similar symptoms. This guide will help you learn about the different signs.
Noticing blood in your stool for the first time is understandably alarming. The good news is that it’s likely that blood in your stool is an indication of hemorrhoids, which while not much fun, aren’t generally a serious medical condition.
Hemorrhoids are actually swollen veins located in the anus and rectum area, and they’re quite common: Approximately half of all adults experience hemorrhoids by the age of 50. They can be internal (inside the rectum or anus) or external (on, or protruding from, the rectum or anus), and symptoms can range from no or mild discomfort to significant pain, itchiness and bleeding.
While the exact cause of hemorrhoids is unknown, they’re most likely to occur when there’s an increase in pressure in the area, such as when you strain to have a bowel movement, for example. They’re more likely to occur during pregnancy, aging, sitting for long periods of time, chronic constipation or diarrhea, straining or lifting heavy objects.
Hemorrhoids usually aren’t dangerous, and in many cases, the symptoms will go away within a few days.
Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids:
- Itching or irritation in the anal area
- Bright red blood on toilet tissue, stool or in the toilet bowl
- Pain or discomfort, especially during bowel movements
- A sensitive or painful lump(s) on or near your anus
To relieve symptoms, doctors recommend sitting in a lukewarm bath, alternating moist heat with ice and limiting extended periods of time spent sitting. There are also over-the-counter topical creams and suppositories to battle the symptoms. Patients are also advised to use scent- and dye-free toilet paper and to keep the area clean.
Colon cancer (also known as colorectal cancer) is a malignant tumor, arising from the inner wall of the large intestine. Signs and symptoms of colon cancer are often not specific, which means they may be mistaken for a number of different conditions. When colon cancer is detected in its early stages, there may be no symptoms present at all.
The usual symptoms and signs of colon cancer are:
- Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
- Dark-colored stool
- A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation or narrowing of the stool that lasts for more than a few days
- A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by having one
- Cramping or abdominal (belly) pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- Unintended weight loss
In most cases, people who have these symptoms do not have cancer. Still, if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor, so the cause can be found and treated.
To check for colon cancer, physicians use sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy to look for growths (polyps) in the colon. If a growth is found, the physician will take a biopsy to determine whether the growth is cancerous. If you are diagnosed with colon cancer, treatment depends on how early it is found, but it may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and targeted therapies. Risk factors for colorectal cancer include a family history of colon polyps (small clump of cells that form on the lining of the colon) and long-standing inflammation of the large intestine.
Because the symptoms are often subtle and easily overlooked, colon cancer screening is very important. In fact, the American Cancer Society recommends starting regular screenings at age 45.
Ramin Zahed is a Los Angeles-based author and journalist.
How Can I Tell if It’s Colon Cancer or Hemorrhoids?
- Colon Cancer
With the help of Web MD, it is a temptation to research every ailment and self-diagnose. Health websites can be a helpful resource, but they can also encourage us to jump to conclusions. Two conditions that can often be mistaken for one another are colorectal cancer and hemorrhoids. Both conditions are common among Americans. One in every 20 Americans (5 percent) will develop colon cancer in his or her lifetime, and about 4.4 percent of Americans are affected by hemorrhoids (Source: Live Science).
Even though colorectal cancer and hemorrhoids may have some similar symptoms such as blood in the stool, their treatments are quite different. Here are a few characteristics of each condition.
Colorectal cancer is a malignant tumor in the colon or the rectum. Most cases of colorectal cancer begin as small clusters of benign cells called polyps, but they can develop into cancer if they are not removed during a colonoscopy. Symptoms of colorectal cancer may include:
- Stools that are not round in shape but are thinner and pencil-like.
- Anal tenesmus, or the feeling of constantly needing to pass stool.
- Changes in bowel habits such as diarrhea and constipation.
- Weight loss and fatigue.
- Abdominal pain, cramping, and possible nausea and vomiting.
Colorectal cancers are most often diagnosed in individuals over the age of 50 (although young onset colon cancer incidence is increasing). Family history and syndromes like familial adenomatous polyposis and hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer can also contribute to colorectal cancer risk.
Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in the anal and rectal wall. When the vessels and surrounding tissues become inflamed, they often enlarge and protrude. Hemorrhoids can be either internal or external, but both types may produce bleeding. If left untreated, hemorrhoids could cause anemia, infection, anal spasm, increased pain, ulceration, abdominal pain, and discomfort when sitting down or lying down. External hemorrhoids may prolapse and cause increased irritation and itching.
Hemorrhoids are generally caused by specific conditions or activities. Several circumstances or habits may cause hemorrhoids such as:
- Sedentary work and lack of exercise
- Constipation and straining
- Lifting heavy objects
- Spicy food
Because colorectal cancer and hemorrhoids are common among Americans and they have similar symptoms in early stages, they can be mistaken for one another or misdiagnosed. If you experience any rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, call your doctor to schedule an appointment. Early detection means early treatment. For hemorrhoids, this means early relief and better health. For colorectal cancer, it could mean saving your life (Source: Vitality).
Pain and spasms in the anus
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- Pain and spasms in the anus
Pain and spasms in the anus are one of the most common symptoms that indicate a malfunction e in the work of the intestinal tract, namely about the problem in the anus and colon. The pain can be of different nature:
- The pain is sudden, local, intense, burning and directly related to defecation – then most likely it is an acute anal fissure.
- Constant pain in the anal passage most often indicates thrombosis of hemorrhoids, acute paraproctitis or rectal fistula.
- Pressing pain, sometimes associated with defecation, usually accompanies colitis, proctitis.
- Dull, burning pain accompanying defecation can be caused by incomplete fistula of the rectum, cryptitis, papillitis.
- Discomfort in the rectum and anus, itching, burning, stabbing pain, often combined with bleeding – such complaints are characteristic of hemorrhoids.
In any case, you should not make a diagnosis yourself. Pain in the anus is already a signal for you that you need immediate consultation with a doctor – proctologist.
The most important thing is to identify the CAUSE of the pain!
A proctologist treats diseases that cause pain in the anus. The clinic employs male and female proctologists. Our doctors are proctologists.
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Do you feel pain in your anus?
This may be an alarming symptom of the following diseases:
- Thrombosis of hemorrhoids.
- Anal fissures. Regular heavy discharge may indicate the presence of this disease.
- Anal polyps. There is also mucus or pus
It is necessary to start treatment, because the consequences can be unpredictable!
Diagnosis of any disease, proctological – is no exception, it is, first of all, an examination by a doctor. Based on what the doctor reveals during the examination, a diagnosis will be made and treatment will be prescribed. An examination by a proctologist at “Alan Clinic” gives a complete picture of your problem, since it is based on two pillars – the doctor’s experience and modern diagnostic equipment.
Comprehensive diagnostics in the Department of Proctology “Alan Clinic” includes:
- Digital rectal examination
- Hardware diagnostics
- Doctor’s consultation with diagnosis.
Treatment of pain in the anus
Treatment is prescribed by a proctologist and carried out on the territory of the clinic, under the full control of the attending physician. Without surgery and hospitalization!
- Desarterization of hemorrhoids
- Latex ligation
- Infrared photocoagulation (INFRARED device) 9000 4
- Radio wave method of treatment (SURGITRON device)
- Drug treatment
As a rule, pain in the anus appears as a result of several factors or a combination of causes.
- Sedentary lifestyle. There is congestion in the pelvic area, blood supply to the anus is disturbed and usually this is mainly due to the fact that people lead a sedentary lifestyle, have a sedentary job or just sit on the toilet for a long time
- Injuries of the anus . arising from constipation or the practice of anal sex
- Hemorrhoids , in which hemorrhoids affect the walls of the anus, weakening them, which leads to trauma to the anus during diffication
- Interruptions in the work of the intestines (constipation, diarrhea)
- Circulatory disorders (thrombosis) , stagnation in the blood with hemorrhoids also leads to anal fissures
- Hereditary predisposition
- Against the background of any pathologies of the nervous system a prolonged spasm of the sphincter can occur, which leads to a violation of the innervation of the rectum
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diagnosis and treatment
Pain in the anus: causes of occurrence, in which diseases it occurs, diagnosis and methods of treatment.
Pain that occurs in the anus (anus) is accompanied by significant discomfort, and its intensity is due to the presence of a significant number of nerve endings here.
Types of pain in the anus
Pain in the anus can be characterized as dull and aching, burning, sharp, piercing, spasmodic, radiating to the lower abdomen, coccyx and perineum. Often, a doctor can make a preliminary diagnosis based on the nature of the pain.
Pain may be disturbing when walking, sitting for a long time, at the time of defecation and immediately after it.
Possible causes of pain in the anus
The main causes of pain in the anus are diseases of the rectum. An assessment of their prevalence brings hemorrhoids to the first place. The initial symptoms of hemorrhoids are a feeling of incomplete emptying after defecation, discomfort and itching in the anus.
Pain with hemorrhoids appears only with a complication of the disease – prolapse and thrombosis of the hemorrhoid.
The development of hemorrhoids is caused by hereditary factors, as well as an unhealthy lifestyle, poor nutrition, and certain diseases, such as cirrhosis of the liver. Prolonged sitting, hot baths, heavy lifting, tight clothing – all these factors lead to venous congestion in the pelvic area and the formation of hemorrhoids. If at the same time the feces have a dense consistency due to a lack of fluid and plant fibers in food, then the act of defecation is accompanied by prolonged straining, which, in turn, contributes to the prolapse of nodes into the lumen of the rectum.
Hemorrhoids can occur with the abuse of laxatives and cleansing enemas.
Protrusion or prolapse of hemorrhoids, their infringement is accompanied by a feeling of pulling pain, fullness, itching. Symptoms are worse after spicy food, heavy physical labor, heavy lifting. Rupture of blood vessels leads to persistent bleeding, while clots of scarlet blood are clearly visible on the feces. A long-term disease leads to pain in the anus with any physical activity, being in an upright position or walking.
Among the diseases that cause pain in the anus, the second place is occupied by sphincteritis – inflammation of the mucous membrane of the circular obturator muscle. Sphincteritis most often develops against the background of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract: pancreatitis, peptic ulcer of the stomach and duodenum, chronic gastritis and duodenitis, irritable bowel syndrome. Constipation or diarrhea that accompanies these diseases increases the risk of developing inflammatory processes in the rectum. In the initial stage of the disease, patients complain of pain in the anus, burning and itching, which are aggravated by defecation. Then there are false urges to defecate and purulent discharge from the anus, so foaming mucus or pus is found on the feces. Sometimes pain can radiate to the perineum and neighboring organs.
The third place in the prevalence of diseases of the rectum, which give severe and persistent pain in the anus, is occupied by rectal fissures . This pathology is characterized by pain during and after defecation, and a small amount of blood may be released.
Cracks can be caused by congestion in the vascular network, a violation of neuromuscular regulation, and injuries. The latter are most often caused by damage to the intestinal mucosa with solid feces.
Often, cracks are combined with hemorrhoids, which is accompanied by prolapse of nodes and more profuse bleeding. The combination of these conditions leads to the formation of a vicious circle: pain during bowel movements causes spasm of the anal sphincter muscles, and spasm increases pain. Minor bleeding due to anal fissure occurs during or after a bowel movement. In the absence of timely treatment, the disease becomes chronic and is accompanied by inflammation of the surrounding tissues. Sometimes a crack leads to a fistula (fistula) – a pathological passage between the rectum and the surface of the skin near the anus.
paraproctitis also leads to the formation of a fistula of the rectum . This is an acute inflammation of the tissues surrounding the rectum.
Paraproctitis is evidenced by increased pain, swelling in the anus, an increase in body temperature to 38 ° C and above.
The fistula may not close for several months, and then recur.
Malignant tumors that form in the anal region are characterized by pronounced symptoms: red blood in the stool, mucus admixture, pain in the anus (first during defecation, and then throughout the day), radiating to the genitals, thigh, bottom belly. Clinical symptoms of hemorrhoids and malignant tumors are similar to each other.
Pain in the anus is not necessarily associated with diseases of the rectum. It can be caused by pathologies of adjacent organs and tissues, in particular, epithelial coccygeal passage , which manifests itself as pain in the sacrum only in case of inflammation. This formation is formed during the period of embryonic development and is a narrow channel lined with epithelium, inside of which there are hair follicles and sebaceous glands.
Another cause of pain in the anus – coccygodynia – inflammation in the coccyx.
Most often, coccygodynia is caused by trauma to the coccyx as a result of a blow or fall.
In a significant proportion of cases, coccygodynia is a spasm of the deep muscles of the pelvic floor as a result of irritation of pain receptors in surrounding tissues during radiculopathy, difficult childbirth, and inflammatory diseases of the pelvic organs. Pain in the anus appears at a certain position of the body, during inclinations or the act of defecation.
Pain in the anus is also characteristic of prostatitis . In acute prostatitis, in addition to acute pain in the perineum, groin and in the anus, an increase in body temperature, painful urination and defecation are possible. However, more often prostatitis develops gradually, acquiring a chronic form. In this case, the patient is concerned about the same symptoms, but their severity is significantly reduced.
Diagnostics and examinations for pain in the anus
Diagnostics begins with a thorough questioning of the patient, during which the doctor specifies the intensity, duration and nature of the pain syndrome, previous and concomitant diseases. In addition, without fail, the doctor gives directions for clinical and biochemical blood tests, a general urine test.
Clinical blood test: general analysis, leukoformula, ESR (with microscopy of a blood smear in the presence of pathological changes)
Synonyms: Complete blood count, UAC. Full blood count, FBC, Complete blood count (CBC) with differential white blood cell count (CBC with diff), Hemogram.
Brief description of the study CBC: general a…
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General urinalysis (Urine analysis with sediment microscopy)
Method of determination
Determination of physical and chemical parameters is carried out on an automatic analyzer using the “dry chemistry” method.
Hardware microscope. ..
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If anal pain is suspected, the doctor will perform a digital examination of the rectum. In the presence of a chronic crack, not only its localization is determined, but also the type of edges. With a digital examination, you can notice a fistula with a purulent discharge and determine the spastic contraction of the sphincter. In the presence of hemorrhoids, sigmoidoscopy is necessary.
If a digital examination reveals tenderness of the inner surface of the coccyx and its mobility, the doctor may prescribe an x-ray, which can detect subluxation of the coccyx, especially when dynamically examined in a sitting and lying position.
Radiography of the lumbar and sacral spine
X-ray examination to assess the condition and structural integrity of the vertebrae of the lumbosacral-coccygeal spine.
If pelvic pain is suspected, an ultrasound of the abdominal cavity and small pelvis is prescribed, and for men, an ultrasound of the prostate.
US examination of pelvic organs (uterus, adnexa)
Ultrasound scanning of the organs of the female reproductive system to assess the shape and size, as well as exclude pathology.
Ultrasound of the prostate
Ultrasound scan of the prostate, giving an idea of the condition of the prostate and the presence of pathology.
Which doctors to contact for pain in the anus
If you experience pain in the anus, you should contact a proctologist or gastroenterologist. Women should be examined by a gynecologist. If a neurological nature of the pain is suspected, a consultation with a neurologist is required, and if the oncological nature of the pain is suspected, an oncologist or an oncourologist is involved in the treatment.
What to do in case of pain in the anus
The basis of any diseases of the gastrointestinal tract is an unhealthy lifestyle and diet, therefore, when pain occurs in the anus, it is necessary first of all to correct the diet and drinking regimen. The next step is to reduce congestion in the veins by increasing physical activity, therapeutic exercises. When standing, it is advisable to use compression stockings and do gymnastics for the legs.
Treatment of pain in the anus
There are so many causes of pain in the anus that there is no one and the same way to treat all its varieties. Symptomatic treatment, that is, taking analgesics, can reduce the severity of pain, but does not eliminate its cause. Etiotropic therapy is selected individually and only after an accurate diagnosis has been made. It may include antibiotics, venotonics, hemostatic agents, antiplatelet drugs, etc.
- Kadyrov Z.A., Kryachko A.A., Aliev Z.O., Faniev M.V., Ishonakov Kh.S. Chronic inflammatory diseases of the rectum and prostate gland (literature review). Andrology and genital surgery, journal. T. 17, 2016. S. 12-19.
- Clinical guidelines “Anal fissure”. Developed by: Association of Coloproctologists of Russia. – 2021.
- Clinical guidelines “Polyp of the anal canal”. Developed by: Association of Coloproctologists of Russia. – 2020.
- Clinical guidelines “Hemorrhoid”. Developed by: Association of Coloproctologists of Russia. – 2020.
The information in this section should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. In case of pain or other exacerbation of the disease, only the attending physician should prescribe diagnostic tests.