Let’s start by saying, if you think you may have hemorrhoids, you are probably right. But here is some more specific information to help you self-diagnose and, more importantly, start down the path of getting some relief.
Hemorrhoids are swollen, inflamed veins in or around the anus. While not necessarily life-threatening, they are certainly a nuisance and are common during pregnancy and postpartum. There are two types of hemorrhoids: internal hemorrhoids and external hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids develop inside the rectum, while external hemorrhoids develop externally around the anus.
ASSESS YOUR SYMPTOMS
The first step in answering, “do I have hemorrhoids?” is assessing what symptoms you’re experiencing. Hemorrhoids can cause pain, itching, or even bleeding around the anus. If you’re seeing blood on the toilet paper after a bowel movement and feeling some general discomfort in the area, you probably have hemorrhoids.
TAKE A LOOK
If you have external hemorrhoids, you may simply be able to see them (albeit, awkwardly with a hand mirror or bent over in front of a full-length mirror!). They may look like red, inflamed bumps around the recturm, or they may even appear bluish or purplish. If you have internal hemorrhoids, they may not be visible unless they have prolapsed.
TALK TO YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
When in doubt, talk to your healthcare provider. If you are pregnant or postpartum and think you may have hemorrhoids, you may want to talk to your obstetrician. They should be easy to spot during a pelvic exam. If you are not pregnant or postpartum, any general practitioner should be able to determine whether or not you have hemorrhoids.