Hernia vs Hemorrhoids, do you know the difference? A painful bulge may indicate a hernia or hemorrhoid, and while the two conditions may appear similar, they affect different areas of the body and are fundamentally different.
Classifying location categorizes many types of hernias, and categorizing by degree defines two basic types of hemorrhoids.
While some similarities exist, it is critical to understand how to identify each condition so that you can receive proper treatment and care. In this blog post, we will discuss the key differences between a hernia and vs hemorrhoid, as well as common causes, signs, and treatment options.
Types of Hernias
Inguinal is a word that means “in the groin.” They are more common in men, but they can also occur in women. This is the most common kind of hernia, and it usually looks like a bulge in the groin area on either side of the pelvis. Inguinal hernias can develop at birth or when straining or constant pressure affects the abdominal muscles.
A ventral hernia occurs when a tear in any part of the abdomen (except the groin) enables tissue or an organ to protrude through a weak area of the abdominal wall. There are many types of ventral hernias, including:
- Umbilical Hernia – A common hernia that appears in babies’ and young children’s belly buttons. Most of the time, this kind of hernia goes away on its own as the child gets older. If the umbilical hernia is still there when the child is 4 or 5 years old, it may need surgery to be corrected.
- Incisional Hernia – Past surgeries can create a weak spot in the abdominal wall. When this weak spot tears, it can cause a hernia that is often bigger and harder to fix than other types.
- Epigastric Ventral Hernia forms in the center of the abdomen, between the breastbone and the belly button, in a vertical line.
- Lateral Ventral Hernia – A type of hernia that happens very rarely (less than 1%) and is more common in women. It can happen on either side of the vertical center line of the abdomen. They are also called Spigelian hernias, and they can be there from birth or develop later.
- Periumbilical Ventral Hernia – Most of the time, these hernias happen to men of higher-weight people or older age. They can happen above or below the belly button.
Happens in the top part of the stomach and can squeeze through parts of the diaphragm that are weak. Often made worse for those people with higher weight bodies, or chain smokers. Hiatal hernias cause people to have frequent heartburn or trouble swallowing.
How do you recognize a Hernia?
When fat, tissue or a portion of an organ forces its way through a weak area or crack in the abdominal muscle or soft tissue, a hernia occurs. Hernias can range from being mildly inconvenient to potentially fatal, depending on the type and severity of the hernia.
Hernias in adults are most commonly found in the groin or abdomen. You may notice or feel a bulge in one of these areas if you have a hernia, and you may also suffer discomfort that worsens with certain actions, such as lifting something or standing for an extended period.
A hernia can develop suddenly after bending, coughing, laughing, or lifting weights or heavy objects, or it can form over weeks or months.
The majority of hernias are external, which means that the tissue is pushing through the abdominal wall and out the other side, frequently resulting in a visible bulge. However, a hernia may also be internal, meaning it does not protrude from the body and would not be visible externally.
Hernia vs Hemorrhoids Symptoms
- A bulge that grows in size gradually.
- Pain at the site of the bulge gets worse.
- Having pain when you lift heavy objects.
- Groin or scrotum swelling or bulge (men).
- Experiencing pain that is dull and constant.
- Chronically feeling full without haven eaten.
- A bump or bulge that you can depress or that disappears when lying down.
Hernia vs Hemorrhoids Common Signs
When a muscle in the abdominal wall weakens or tears, it allows an organ like the intestines to push through, causing a hernia. Several factors can cause hernias, including:
- Physical injury.
- Weak abdominal muscles.
- Severe straining while constipated.
- Chronic coughing or excessive vomiting.
- Exerting excessive pressure while carrying heavy objects.
- Hernias can be present at birth if there is a malformation in the physical development of the baby or if there are difficulties during the pregnancy.
- Adults who are prone to hernias should avoid activities such as lifting heavy objects and standing for extended periods without taking breaks. There are cases in which hernias are not discovered until the patient is an adult. If you have a hernia, you should get medical assistance as soon as possible, regardless of the cause, because hernia tissue could become entrapped, which could significantly increase the chance of additional complications.
What are Hemorrhoids?
When blood accumulates in enlarged veins of the lower rectal area, a medical ailment known as hemorrhoid develops. Itching, pain, burning, and even bleeding are all possible side effects of hemorrhoids.
Swollen veins cause hemorrhoids to protrude outside the lower rectum, while an organ pushing through tissue or muscle results in a hernia. Comparing hemorrhoids and hernias, pressure and exertion cause both, causing discomfort, yet they are distinct issues. Surgical repair is typically necessary for hernias to alleviate pain and prevent complications, while you can often treat hemorrhoids non-invasively or at home.
Types of Hemorrhoids
- Internal Hemorrhoids are swollen areas within the rectum. They are caused by tiny, bulging veins in the rectum wall. They are normally painless and rarely need treatment.
- External Hemorrhoids are swollen veins that develop outside the rectum and protrude outside of the anus, often causing pain. In many cases, you can treat them with various non-surgical methods, such as warm baths and over-the-counter topical creams. In severe circumstances, you may need a strong prescription drug or surgery.
Perineal Hernia vs Hemorrhoid
While rare, perineal hernias and hemorrhoids can sometimes appear similar, leading to confusion between the two. External hemorrhoid occurs when a swollen vein is displaced outside the rectum and protrudes through the anus. A perineal hernia protrudes through the pelvic floor and sometimes causes a sudden enlargement on either or both sides of the anus, possibly bulging through to the outside of the anus. A perineal hernia can include fat, fluids, intestinal material, a portion of the rectum, or the bladder.
Prior surgical procedures that included the perineum are common causes of perineal hernias. Having to strain too much while defecating might potentially lead to a hernia in the peritoneum. Prostate or urinary illness, prolonged constipation, or persistent diarrhea are other potential triggers. Perineal hernia risk factors include weakened levator ani muscles and pudendal nerve dysfunction.
Although they may look a bit alike, rectal hernias and hemorrhoids have different origins and require different treatments.
Hemorrhoid vs Hernia Key Differences
A hernia is the abnormal protrusion of an organ or a portion of an organ through a weakness in the lining of the cavity where it is located. Hemorrhoids are veins located in your lower rectum that have become swollen and sometimes can protrude from the anus.
Hernias and hemorrhoids differ primarily in that hemorrhoids exclusively impact the area around the anus and rectum. They are more of a collection of blood vessels, connective tissues from the anal canal, and smooth rectal muscles, as opposed to a hernia, which contains internal organs and occurs in the groin, abdominal wall, and internally near the stomach.
Hernias can also move a little bit because of the way the body digests food. A hernia forms when the intestines, involved in digestion, protrude through weak abdominal muscles, becoming visible under the skin.
Hernias are normally softer and more pliable than hemorrhoids due to their composition. You may only notice a hernia if you cough, sneeze, or strain, whereas external hemorrhoids will be continually painful and firmer than a hernia.
Hernia vs Hemorrhoids Symptoms
What to do if you think you may be suffering from Hemorrhoids or a Hernia? If you have symptoms, contact your doctor. Trained professionals differentiate conditions, advise treatment, or refer to specialists if needed.
Hernia vs Hemorrhoids Treatments
The treatment will vary depending on the severity of the condition.
- Some smaller hernias do not require any treatment unless they are causing pain or are in danger of causing complications, but most hernias rarely resolve on their own and tend to gradually grow worse, eventually requiring surgery. It is advisable to have a doctor monitor any existing hernias to avoid a severe complication called a strangulated hernia that often requires emergency medical intervention.
- Most mild or moderate cases of hemorrhoids can be treated with warm baths or over-the-counter medications, but more severe cases may require surgical intervention. Various methods treat severe hemorrhoids: hemorrhoidectomy, rubber band ligation, HRA (hemorrhoid radiofrequency ablation), LHP® Laser Hemorrhoidoplasty®.
Rectal discomfort, itching, bleeding? Contact IBI Healthcare Institute for Hemorrhoids diagnosis and treatment. Visible lump under the skin? Hernia possibility. If you experience chronic GERD or severe chronic heartburn, you may be suffering from a hiatal hernia.
Consult for diagnosis and guidance. IBI Healthcare Institute experts identify pain’s causes and offer safe medical care for discomfort relief. Contact us today and set up an appointment.