What do Bleeding Hemorrhoids Look Like?

One of the questions we often get is "What do bleeding hemorrhoids look like?" Before we go there, let's cover some basics.

What are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids occur when the veins in the anal area become irritated and swollen from straining during bowel movements and a variety of other factors. Bleeding hemorrhoids are hemorrhoids that have ruptured as the result of pressure being applied when passing a hard stool or engaging in heavy lifting or any other activity that places pressure on hemorrhoids. Bleeding hemorrhoids can be internal or external and the way they look will depend upon the type of hemorrhoid condition you have.


Internal Bleeding Hemorrhoids

Internal bleeding hemorrhoids are swollen anal veins that have developed on the inner lining of the anal canal. When pressure is applied to internal hemorrhoids they rupture and bleed which results in internal bleeding hemorrhoids. Internal bleeding hemorrhoids are not painful so it can be difficult to identify them unless you are watching and happen to notice blood in your stool, in the toilet water, or on the toilet paper.

Since internal hemorrhoids cannot be seen due their internal nature the only way to identify them is to pay a visit to your physician and undergo an anoscopy. An anoscopy is an internal exam of your anal canal that is performed with an instrument called an anoscope. The anoscope is inserted into your anal opening and then slowly advanced through the rectum. The instrument contains a small light on the end so your physician can identify internal bleeding hemorrhoids on a monitor.

If internal bleeding hemorrhoids are present they will appear as tiny lumps on the inside of the anal canal and will have evidence of blood around the tissue. Internal bleeding hemorrhoids look like the polyps that are often found on your colon only they are red and irritated as the result of passing hard stools.

External Bleeding Hemorrhoids

External bleeding hemorrhoids are more visible with the eye due to their external nature. You can view external bleeding hemorrhoids by placing a mirror near your anal opening and examining the affected area. External bleeding hemorrhoids will take on a different appearance depending upon they type that you have.

  • Prolapsed Hemorrhoids

  • Prolapsed hemorrhoids protrude from your anal area and are the result of an internal hemorrhoid condition that has gotten worse over a period of time. When prolapsed hemorrhoids protrude from the anus they can become strangulated or thrombosed and develop a blood clot. In this case prolapsed hemorrhoids will look like a clump of grapes protruding from the anus and will appear bluish in color. They may also be reddish in color when they become irritated and bleed.

  • Thrombosed External Hemorrhoids

  • External hemorrhoids develop as a soft lump on the outside of the anal opening and can rupture and bleed when pressure is applied through sitting for prolonged periods of time and straining during bowel movements. External bleeding hemorrhoids will appear as a red lump on the exterior of the anal opening. If they are thrombosed and a blood clot has developed inside they will appear to be bluish in color and will rupture and bleed when pressure is applied.


In addition to knowing what bleeding hemorrhoids look like you will also be able to see visible symptoms of bleeding on your clothing, in the toilet bowl, and on the toilet paper and sometimes a secretion of mucus from the rectum or the external hemorrhoid on the outer part of the anal opening.

Bleeding hemorrhoids are not to be taken lightly and for your own peace of mind it is always a good idea to seek medical advice to ensure that there are no other health problems that exhibit symptoms of bleeding hemorrhoids.





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