How Do I Know My Condition Warrants A Doctor Visit
This is one of the most common questions patients with hemorrhoids ask before seeing a doctor.
While all the symptoms of hemorrhoids can be irritating and leave you in serious discomfort, there are some telltale signs that you need to seek the advice of a medical professional.
Here are the signs from hemorrhoids that let you know you need to see a doctor:
- The presence of any type of rectal bleeding – While this is common amongst patients with hemorrhoids, there are some underlying conditions that can present with this symptom as well. Because these conditions are more severe, it is important to have your doctor diagnose your hemorrhoids properly to eliminate the idea that there is another condition causing the bleeding.
- Pain or discomfort that cant be ignored
- Persistence of your symptoms despite at-home remedies and over-the-counter treatments
- Black, maroon, or tarry looking stool, this can be a sign of rectal bleeding
Different Kinds Of Hemorrhoids Can Cause Similar Symptoms
When internal hemorrhoids do progress, they will often protrude outside the anus, becoming prolapsed hemorrhoids. You can read about prolapsed hemorrhoids in several of our blog posts: Prolapsed Internal Hemorrhoids, What is a Prolapsed Hemorrhoid, and Rectal Prolapse or Hemorrhoids?). An internal hemorrhoid that has reached this stage can cause some external hemorrhoid-like symptoms, such as itchiness and swelling. Since prolapsed hemorrhoids and external hemorrhoids can cause similar symptoms, its sometimes difficult to know which is which without a doctors professional diagnosis. It is also not uncommon for both to be present at once.
How Are Hemorrhoids Diagnosed
Your doctor can often diagnose hemorrhoids based on your medical history and a physical exam. He or she can diagnose external hemorrhoids by checking the area around your anus. To diagnose internal hemorrhoids, your doctor will perform a digital rectal exam and may perform procedures to look inside your anus and rectum.
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Look For Board Certification In Colon And Rectal Surgery
The American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery holds certified surgeons to the highest standards. There are very stringent educational, experiential, and testing requirements they must meet, in addition to passing the written Qualifying examination and the oral Certifying examination from the American Board of Surgery.
A board certified specialist will have at least four years of medical school in addition to at least five years of extensive general surgery training. In addition to all that, they will also undergo an additional year or more of supervised colon and rectal specialty training in an accredited fellowship program under the supervision of a certified specialist. This translates into a much higher level of operative and treatment experience than a general practitioner.
What Are Internal Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are vascular structures in your rectum.Specifically, the final portion of the large intestine that your body uses to store and pass stool. These veins are cushioned by muscle and connective tissue.
Everyone has internal hemorrhoids, but we only notice them once they become a problem.
When we refer to hemorrhoids or piles, we are typically referring to hemorrhoids that have become inflamed. About half of adults over 50 experience this issue.
Internal hemorrhoids form near the end of the rectum, but you likely wont see or feel anything unusual, even when a hemorrhoid swells, because they are still far inside the body.
You only see or feel an internal hemorrhoid if they prolapse. Internal hemorrhoids do not cause pain because they are located in an area without any nerve endings. If you are experiencing pain, it may be from a different condition, such as external hemorrhoids, anal fissures or spasms.
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When Should You Go To The Doctor For Hemorrhoids
Again, before assuming that your condition is hemorrhoids, it’s a good idea to see your doctor for an examination. After all, it’s difficult to take a look for yourself. If there is any bleeding, severe pain or fecal incontinence , you should definitely see the doctor. A large amount of bleeding or the sudden onset of severe pain means you should seek medical treatment immediately.
The Most Common Symptom Of Internal Hemorrhoids Is Bleeding
Internal hemorrhoids form when blood vessels inside the rectum become swollen and engorged. Although they form in the lowest part of the rectum, internal hemorrhoids are still far enough inside you may not even know that theyre there. In fact, everyone actually has internal hemorrhoids, but we only notice them once they become a problem. Internal hemorrhoids can worsen over time, but since there are very few pain-sensing nerves in the lower rectal area, you are unlikely to feel any pain. In fact, the most common symptoms of mild internal hemorrhoids is bleeding. You can read more about hemorrhoid bleeding on our blog: here. However, when internal hemorrhoids become moderate to severe, you will likely begin to experience those hard-to-ignore hemorrhoid symptoms.
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When To See A Proctologist For Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids can cause you to feel many things. But painfully excruciating shouldnt be one of them. Hemorrhoids are the results of inflamed or swollen veins in the lower rectum or anus and occur when heavy straining or pressure is put on the veins of this area. There are many types of hemorrhoid relief treatments however, if your treatment options arent working, it may be time to see your proctologist on other best hemorrhoid treatment options.
What Causes Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are caused by increased pressure in the veins of your anus or rectum. One of the main causes is straining when youre trying to have a bowel movement. This may happen if youre constipated or if you have diarrhea. It may also happen if you sit on the toilet too long. Hemorrhoids are also caused by obesity, heavy lifting, or any other activity that causes you to strain.
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When To See A Doctor
If none of the above options gives you relief, the smartest thing to do is to come see us. We may recommend one of our in-office procedures to resolve your hemorrhoid, such as infrared coagulation, rubber band ligation, or sclerotherapy.
If surgery is necessary, well talk with you about the options and schedule you as soon as we can.Dont let your hemorrhoid symptoms persist beyond a week without relief. Schedule a visit to see us and be evaluated by an expert. at 424-274-0916 to set up an appointment with Dr. Beth Moore, Dr. Zuri Murrell, or Dr. Thomas Sokol.
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About Dr David Heiman
Dr. David R. Heiman is Endoscopy Medical Director and a gastroenterologist at Florida Medical Clinics North Tampa location. He specializes in treating patients with conditions like hemorrhoids, IBS, GERD, and hepatitis, as well as performing endoscopies and colon cancer screenings. Dr. Heiman is dedicated to helping patients find treatment plans that work best for them and that address all of their medical concerns.
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How Long Do Hemorrhoids Last
How long hemorrhoids last will vary from person to person.
In general, small hemorrhoids can go away on their own in a few days. Larger hemorrhoids, particularly ones that cause a lot of pain, swelling, and itchiness, cant go away on their own and may require treatment from a doctor to heal. Pregnant patients may find that hemorrhoids only go away after they give birth.
Its possible for hemorrhoids to return after theyve been treated. A gastroenterologist can help recommend solutions if you find youre struggling with hemorrhoids that dont go away or keep coming back.
What Are The Symptoms
The most common symptoms of both internal and external hemorrhoids include:
- Bleeding during bowel movements. You might see streaks of bright red blood on toilet paper after you strain to have a bowel movement.
- Rectal pain. It may be painful to clean the anal area.
With internal hemorrhoids, you may see bright red streaks of blood on toilet paper or bright red blood in the toilet bowl after you have a normal bowel movement. You may see blood on the surface of the stool.
Internal hemorrhoids often are small, swollen veins in the wall of the anal canal. But they can be large, sagging veins that bulge out of the anus all the time. They can be painful if they bulge out and are squeezed by the anal muscles. They may be very painful if the blood supply to the hemorrhoid is cut off. If hemorrhoids bulge out, you also may see mucus on the toilet paper or stool.
External hemorrhoids can get irritated and clot under the skin, causing a hard painful lump. This is called a thrombosed, or clotted, hemorrhoid.
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Modify Your Daily Activities
- Avoid prolonged sitting or standing. Take frequent short walks.
- If possible, avoid lifting heavy objects frequently. If you must lift heavy objects, always exhale as you lift the object. Don’t hold your breath when you lift.
- If you are pregnant, sleeping on your side will lower pressure on the blood vessels in your pelvis. This can help keep hemorrhoids from becoming bigger.
What Can My Doctor Do For Hemorrhoids
There are many ways that hemorrhoids can be handled and treated. These options vary depending on the condition, severity and location of the hemorrhoids. Below are methods that may be employed to treat your hemorrhoids.
Internal hemorrhoids may be injected with a solution that causes a scar to be formed and close off the hemorrhoids. This procedure will only hurt a little but is usually very effective.
2. Cauterization or Coagulation
This method is a painless method of burning off, removing and sealing the end of the hemorrhoids with an electric probe, infrared light or laser beam.
The Coagulation method allows the hemorrhoid to close and shrink and is most effective for treating prolapsed hemorrhoids.
3. Rubber band ligation
In this treatment, the doctor will put a small rubber band around the hemorrhoid to cut off blood supply to the tissues therein.
Rubber band ligations will usually cause the hemorrhoid to dry up, shrink in size and fall due to the unavailability of blood.
4. Surgery or Hemorrhoidectomy
For large internal or external hemorrhoids that keep on worsening and bring excruciating discomfort to the patient, a surgical procedure may be required to remove the hemorrhoids or a newer technique using staples may be applied.
Most of these medical treatments are effective in treating hemorrhoids.
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How Are Hemorrhoids Treated
For most external hemorrhoids, home treatment is all you need. This includes slowly adding fiber to your meals, drinking more water, and using an ointment to stop itching. The same treatment can be used for most internal hemorrhoids. If your hemorrhoids are severe, you may need medical treatment to shrink or remove them.
How Do You Know If You Have Hemorrhoids
The most common symptoms of hemorrhoids are:
- Anal pain/painful bowel movements
- Rectal bleeding
- Swelling around the anus
However, these symptoms could also be a sign of something more serious, like anal cancer or polyps. Hemorrhoids also have many symptoms in common with anal fissures, which occur when the skin around the anus is torn. Anal fissures tend to be much more painful than hemorrhoids, however.
Even if youre fairly certain youre dealing with hemorrhoids, its still a good idea to go see a doctor to rule out any serious conditions, especially if youre over the age of 50.
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Change In Bowel Habits
With a prolapsed internal hemorrhoid you may develop the sensation that you cant fully evacuate your bowels. You may also notice a mucous discharge or difficulty cleaning yourself following a bowel movement because of displaced toilet tissue.
These symptoms can be uncomfortable but easily treated with medical intervention.
Carolina Digestive Health Associates
Carolina Digestive Health Associates is a group of gastroenterologists serving the residents of North Carolina. We have fourteen highly rated GI doctors who provide service at eight offices and five endoscopy centers. Our doctors work in all major hospitals in the Charlotte metropolitan area.
Our physicians, together with our highly trained physician assistants and nurse practitioners, cover a wide range of specialties and are skilled in diagnosis and treatment. Whether you have chronic problems with your digestive tract, a recent, acute attack or simply want a checkup, our team is here in North Carolina to help you reach your healthcare goals.
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Dr Kane Performs Infrared Treatment Of Hemorrhoids And Band Ligation Of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins. Each of us has veins around the anus that tend to stretch under pressure. One set of veins is inside the rectum and another is under the skin around the anus . Hemorrhoidal tissue is thought to be helpful in holding back stool at rest and in cushioning the sphincter muscles when we empty our bowels.When these veins swell and bulge, they are called hemorrhoids or piles. Swelling can be caused by straining to move your bowels, from sitting too long on the toilet, or from other factors such as pregnancy, obesity or liver disease.
The most common symptom of internal hemorrhoids is bright red blood covering the stool, on toilet paper or in the toilet bowl. Bleeding starts when the swollen veins are scratched or broken by straining or rubbing. This can be aggravated by medicines that thin the blood. An internal hemorrhoid may protrude through the anus outside the body, becoming irritated and painful. This is known as a protruding or prolapsed hemorrhoid.
Symptoms of external hemorrhoids may include painful swelling or a hard lump around the anus that results when a blood clot forms. This condition is known as a thrombosed external hemorrhoid.
How Common Are Problems with Hemorrhoids?
Your doctor might also recommend cold packs, tub bath, warm soaks or bed rest.
Modified and reprinted from the American Gastroenterological Association.
Avoid Making Hemorrhoids Worse
- Blot the anus gently with white toilet paper moistened with water or a cleansing agent after bowel movements. Baby wipes or other pre-moistened towels are also useful for this purpose.
- Avoid rubbing the anal area. You can rinse off in the shower or on a bidet instead of wiping yourself with toilet paper. After cleansing, gently pat the anal area dry with a soft, absorbent towel or cloth.
- Use soaps that contain no perfumes or dyes.
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The Right Doctor Will Listen & Answer Your Questions
A doctor should listen to your questions and concerns and answer them in a way you understand. They will also help you understand your treatment options and feel comfortable discussing the problem.
After treatment, your doctor should thoroughly go over aftercare and how you can treat yourself at home to lessen symptoms and heal.
How Can I Treat My Hemorrhoids
You can most often treat your hemorrhoids at home by
- taking a stool softener or a fiber supplement such as psyllium or methylcellulose
- drinking water or other nonalcoholic liquids each day as recommended by your health care professional
- not straining during bowel movements
- not sitting on the toilet for long periods of time
- taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin
- sitting in a tub of warm water, called a sitz bath, several times a day to help relieve pain
Applying over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams or ointments or using suppositoriesa medicine you insert into your rectummay relieve mild pain, swelling, and itching of external hemorrhoids. Most often, doctors recommend using over-the-counter products for 1 week. You should follow up with your doctor if the products
- do not relieve your symptoms after 1 week
- cause side effects such dry skin around your anus or a rash
Most prolapsed internal hemorrhoids go away without at-home treatment. However, severely prolapsed or bleeding internal hemorrhoids may need medical treatment.
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Should I See A Gastroenterologist Or Proctologist For Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids, commonly called piles, are swollen, inflamed veins around the anus or the lower part of the rectum . They may be felt as tiny lumps in and around the anus. Hemorrhoids may often get better on their own within a few days, but some may need medications and even surgery to go away.
Both gastroenterologists and proctologists can provide you treatment for hemorrhoids. Whether you should visit a gastroenterologist or proctologist depends on the type and severity of hemorrhoids you have. Hemorrhoids are of two main types:
- External hemorrhoids: They form under the skin around the anus.
- Internal hemorrhoids: They form in the lining of the anus and lower rectum.
Talk to a general physician to understand which doctor you need for hemorrhoid management.
A gastroenterologist is a doctor trained in the branch of internal medicine that focuses on the disorders of the gut, gallbladder, liver, bile ducts, and pancreas. A gastroenterologist can diagnose hemorrhoids, provide medications, and advise lifestyle modifications. They can also do certain procedures, such as endoscopy and hemorrhoid banding .
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