Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum and anus that result in discomfort and bleeding. There are two main types of hemorrhoids: internal hemorrhoids and external hemorrhoids. The differences between internal and external hemorrhoids are:
|Internal hemorrhoids are those that arise from the hemorrhoid plexus located above the dentate line.
|External hemorrhoids are those that arise from the inferior hemorrhoidal plexus located below the dentate line.
|Not visible except in advanced stages associated with prolapse
|Visible near the anus, just under the skin.
|May cause bleeding, usually during bowel movements. They can also prolapse or protrude outside the anal opening during straining but retract back on their own.
|It can cause symptoms such as itching, swelling and irritation. The blood can create clots which causes severe local pain.
|Are generally less painful than external hemorrhoids because the inner rectum lacks pain receptors.
|More painful than internal hemorrhoids, especially if a blood clot forms (thrombosed external hemorrhoid).
NOTE: the division into internal and external hemorrhoids is more scholastic than real because the two plexuses communicate widely with each other.