Hemorrhoids are caused when blood vessels around the anus swell up, causing them to inflame or bleed, which in turn can cause:
- Itchiness, irritation, and pain around the anus
- Anal bleeding
- Trouble with bowel movements.
Hemorrhoids do not usually cause a foul odor, but they could be a sign that has them.
A foul odor could also be a sign that you are suffering from:
- Anal and Fecal leakage – Especially large or inflamed hemorrhoids often secrete mucus into your discharges causing a foul smell. This secretion can even spill out of your anus while passing gas incidentally. If your hemorrhoids stop your anus from closing completely, your anus might also be leaking fecal matter causing the smell.
- An Infection – Infected hemorrhoids can develop pus-filled swellings. This occurs often when the hemorrhoid bulge outside of your anus causing it to lose its blood supply and become susceptible to infection. In rare cases these hemorrhoids can become infected with gangrene causing:
- High fever
- Rapid heart rate
- Crackling sound when touching the infection
If your hemorrhoids become prolapsed or start to smell, contact a medical professional as soon as you can.
- Pain that makes proper cleanup difficult – If your hemorrhoids make it difficult to clean around your anus, the smell may be caused by trace amounts of fecal matter being left after cleaning
How to tell the difference based on smell
While there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to hemorrhoid odors, a good rule of thumb is that odors caused by mucus have a fishy smell, while odors caused by infections have a rotten or foul food smell. And the smell of an unclean anus is just the smell of poop.
Hemorrhoids are common and irritating, but they usually clear up eventually or with at-home remedies such as warm baths after rectal movements and creams such as witch’s hazel, or aloe. However, if you have bleeding or black-colored bowel movement, now might be a good time to speak to a medical professional.