Are you dealing with herpes or hemorrhoids? Hemorrhoids are a common condition that millions of Americans suffer from each year. But anal herpes can also be the cause of irritation around the anus.
So, how do you know if you have hemorrhoids or herpes?
Since talking about hemorrhoids can be a difficult conversation, we’re digging into the uncomfortable discussion to give you all the details you need to tell the difference.
Do I Have Herpes or Hemorrhoids?
Before you start to panic, both hemorrhoids and anal herpes are treatable conditions. Because herpes can display symptoms similar to hemorrhoids, the conditions are often confused for one another.
Since both conditions are treated differently, it’s important to distinguish between the two.
Herpes is a viral infection that can cause blisters and sores. In some cases, herpes can affect the anus. Like hemorrhoids, some cases of herpes do not cause symptoms.
When anal herpes does cause symptoms, you will notice blisters or sores in or around the anus. To understand the differences between hemorrhoids and anal herpes, it’s important to understand both conditions.
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lowest part of the rectum and anus. When the walls of your blood vessels become irritated and bulge, bothersome hemorrhoids can emerge.
Hemorrhoids are split into two categories: internal and external. Most cases of hemorrhoids clear up in a couple of weeks and are rarely dangerous.
There are several at-home and over-the-counter remedies for the condition, but medical intervention may be needed when hemorrhoids don’t go away on their own.
Anal herpes is causes by the herpes simplex virus. This is a contagious condition that is transmitted through physical contact with a person who has the virus. In most cases, anal herpes is transmitted through sexual contact.
Because of this, anal herpes is considered a sexually transmitted disease or infection. Unlike hemorrhoids, anal herpes can be diagnosed through a blood test.
Like hemorrhoids, the condition can also be diagnosed by your medical provider with a physical exam.
Hemorrhoids Symptoms vs. Herpes Symptoms
The symptoms of hemorrhoids are:
- Painless bleeding during or after bowel movements
- Itching and irritation in the anal region
- Pain or discomfort in the anal region
- Swelling around the anus
- Lumps around the anus that have a pillow-like appearance
The symptoms of anal herpes are:
- Persistent pain or itching around the anus
- Red bumps
- Colorless, painful blisters
- Blisters, sores, or ulcers around the anus
- Change in bowel habits
Perianal Hematoma vs. Perianal Herpes
A perianal hematoma is a pool of blood that collects in the tissue surrounding the anus. It is caused by a ruptured or bleeding vein.
These are often mistaken for prolapsed hemorrhoids because they have very similar symptoms.
The difference is that hemorrhoids come from inside the anus while perianal hematomas occur outside the anus.
Perianal hematomas appear as a blue or purple bruise under the skin and a collection of blood near the anus.
They might also be accompanied by a small lump.
Perianal hematomas range in size, some compared to raisins and others tennis balls.
Symptoms of Perianal Hematomas include:
- Bubbling of the skin near the anus
- Mild to severe pain around the anus
- Blood stool
- Bulging skin near the anus
While perianal hematomas can range in size, perianal herpes doesn’t usually present the same problem.
Anal herpes usually appears as red or white puss-filled blisters around the anus. They tend to rupture and scab over, marking the beginning of the healing process.
The symptoms of anal herpes include:
- Tingling or itching sensation in the anal area
- Open blisters that turn to sores
- Blisters filled with liquid
- Ulcers that turn to scabs
- Red or white pus-filled blisters
Hemorrhoids or Herpes Anus Position & Signs
Hemorrhoids are only present in the lower region of the rectum and at the opening of the anus.
Because they affect the veins located inside the anus, they come from the inside.
External hemorrhoids can be present in the veins around the anus, appearing as pillow-like cushions around the opening of the anus.
Common signs of hemorrhoids include:
- Extreme itching around the anus
- Irritation or pain around the anus
- Swelling near the anus
- Itchy or painful lumps around the anus
- Fecal leakage
- Painful bowel movements
- Blood in the stool, toilet bowl, or on the toilet paper during or after a bowel movement
When it comes to anal herpes, both men and women can develop sores on the buttocks, thighs, and around the opening of the anus. The virus presents differently for every patient.
Common signs of anal herpes include:
- Pain or itching
- Small red bumps or tiny white blisters
- Ulcers that form when the blisters rupture, ooze, or bleed
- Scabs that form over the ulcers as they heal
Can You Get Blisters from Hemorrhoids?
Blisters are not a sign of hemorrhoids. If you notice blisters around the anus, it is likely caused by anal herpes or anal eczema.
Are Hemorrhoids a STD?
Hemorrhoids are not a sexually transmitted disease or STD. Hemorrhoids are not contagious. They can be caused by a variety of risk factors, including constipation, obesity, and pregnancy.
But they are not transmitted sexually from one patient to another.