Bump on side of anus

Originally Published: September 1, 1994 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: May 20, 2011
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Hi Alice,

This is sort of an embarrassing question...Recently I found out that there is something unusual just outside of my anus. It has grown like a pea. When I touch it, it is sort of hard but smooth, and it hurts a bit. What should I do? Is this like some kind of cancer? Should I visit Medical Services or some other place? How can I make appointment with Medical Services?

—Bumpy peas

Dear Bumpy peas,

Sounds like you have a situation that you won't want to sit on. All kidding aside, it might be that this "unusual" growth just outside your anus is a hemorrhoid; however, a health care provider, who can see you in person, is the best person to diagnose any growth. At Columbia you can schedule an appointment with  Medical Services by logging into Open Communicator or by calling x4-2284. If you're not at Columbia, contact your primary care provider for an appointment.

For more information on hemorrhoids, including potential causes and treatment options, check out Could it be…hemorrhoids? from the Go Ask Alice archives.

If any of the following occur, it's best to see a provider as soon as possible:

  • The lump increases in size, and doesn't go away for more than a week.
  • You experience heavy bleeding from your anus, or bleeding that lasts for more than a few days.
  • The bump causes you severe pain.
  • You have a sudden change in bowel habits.

If the bump on your anus is a hemorrhoid, you have several treatment options. No one form of treatment works for everyone, but here are a few suggestions you can try to relieve your discomfort:

  • Use room temperature compresses, or compresses with refrigerated witch hazel applied to the area for 10 minutes, 3-4 times a day. Prepackaged witch hazel compresses are convenient and available in drug stores.
  • Put an ice pack on your rectal area for a maximum of 10 minutes to help shrink the hemorrhoid and relieve discomfort/pain.
  • Try a warm tea bag applied to the inflamed area to soothe it — the tannic acid in the tea may provide some relief.
  • Lie down on your stomach or side frequently, instead of sitting, to ease your discomfort.
  • Keep the area clean to help relieve the itching, but do not wipe yourself vigorously. Patting with moistened toilet paper, wet wipes, or the prepackaged witch hazel pads can ease the itching and protect your skin from further irritation.
  • Avoid scratching or applying anti-itch creams and lotions with ingredients that have "caine" in their names. They can cause further irritation. Try a pure, unscented Vitamin E oil instead (expensive, but you only need a few drops).
  • Ointments and suppositories that claim to shrink the swelling of hemorrhoids do little good, and just waste your money.

Hemorrhoids can sometimes be prevented. For more information on how to prevent hemorrhoids, check out Hemorrhoid prevention?