What Treatment Methods Are Used By Hemorrhoid Specialists
A visual examination by a primary care doctor is often enough to diagnose a simple case of hemorrhoids, which can then be treated by using:
- corticosteroid cream, which can help to reduce swelling and pain
- hemorrhoid cream containing lidocaine, which helps to reduce pain
- stool softeners designed to minimise straining and constipation
Other useful home treatments include:
- applying witch hazel with a cotton swab
- wearing cotton underwear
- avoiding perfumed and coloured toilet tissue
- avoiding scratching the area
- using a warm-water Sitz bath to relieve the symptoms
In more complex cases, these treatments may not be enough to cure the problem. Where surgery is a recommended option, it will usually involve one of these procedures:
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.
Causes And Risk Factors Of Rectal Bleeding
Diverticulosis is the most common cause of rectal bleeding. It is the presence of tiny bulges, called diverticula, in the colon wall. Diverticula are common and typically do not cause problems, but can sometimes protrude through the walls of the bowels, leading to bleeding or infections.
Often called piles, hemorrhoids are swollen veins that appear at the bottom of the large intestine and outside the anus. They are caused by excessive straining, such as while making a bowel movement, sitting on the toilet too long, or, in women, pregnancy and giving birth. People who have persistent hemorrhoids are often constipated, overweight or obese, or eating a very low-fiber diet.
Hemorrhoids can be itchy, painful, and annoying, but they are rarely serious and often go away on their own. In certain cases, treatment may be needed.
Anal fissures, another cause of rectal bleeding, are tiny tears in the anus and anal canal commonly caused by straining with hard stools.
Colitis is the inflammation of the lining of the tissues of the colon. This inflammation can lead to rectal bleeding. Ischemic colitis occurs when blood flow to the colon is reduced, typically as a result of narrowed or blocked arteries. With infectious colitis, the swelling of the colon is caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites.
Colon cancer is the most serious cause of rectal bleeding. Anal cancer, which is less common than colorectal cancer, can also cause rectal bleeding.
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Prevention Of Rectal Bleeding
The best way to prevent rectal bleeding is to prevent its chief causes.
People at high risk for colorectal cancer should undergo regular screenings, primarily colonoscopy. Colorectal cancer screenings can detect precancerous polyps in the colon or rectum so that they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screenings can also identify colorectal cancer early, when treatment is more likely to be successful.
Bleeding When You Have A Bowel Movement
There are many underlying causes of rectal bleeding, including hemorrhoids. If you have bleeding from internal hemorrhoids, its usually bright red, occurs with bowel movements, causes no pain, and ranges from mild to moderate in quantity.
But never assume rectal bleeding is due to hemorrhoids. If youve never been diagnosed with hemorrhoids or you have noticed a change in the characteristics of the bleeding youve had with hemorrhoids in the past see us for an accurate diagnosis.
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Kind Doctor Handles Hemorrhoids
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When To Go To An Urgent Care Clinic
When you have a problem, do not wait too long to get medical care. If your problem is not life threatening or risking disability, but you are concerned and you cannot see your provider soon enough, go to an urgent care clinic.
The kinds of problems an urgent care clinic can deal with include:
- Common illnesses, such as colds, the flu, earaches, sore throats, migraines, low-grade fevers, and limited rashes
- Minor injuries, such as sprains, back pain, minor cuts and burns, minor broken bones, or minor eye injuries
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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. Dont 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.
How Hemorrhoids Are Diagnosed By Your Doctor
See your doctor if you think you might have hemorrhoids, especially if you notice bleeding from your anus or rectum, or have bloody stools. Your doctor will want to rule out more serious problems that can cause bleeding from the anus or rectum, such as cancer.
Hemorrhoid symptoms may also be similar to those of other anal and rectal problems, including anal fissures, abscesses, warts, and polyps.
Your doctor will ask about your medical history and will ask you to describe your symptoms. Questions about your eating habits, toilet habits, and enema and laxative use are likely to come up.
Your doctor will also perform a physical exam to look for lumps or swelling, prolapsed internal hemorrhoids, external hemorrhoids, skin irritation, skin tags, and anal fissures, which are small tears in the anus that can result in itching and bleeding. This will involve a visual examination of the area.
Your doctor may also perform a rectal exam to diagnose internal hemorrhoids, check the muscle tone of your anus, and check for blood in the stool. This is done with a gloved, lubricated finger and a tool called an anoscope.
An anoscope is a type of endoscope a hollow, lighted tube that is inserted a few inches into the anus to help the doctor see any problems inside the lining of the rectum. This procedure is performed in the doctors office and doesnt require anesthesia.
Your doctor may also recommend additional tests to rule out other causes of bleeding, especially if you are over age 40.
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If I Need Surgery To Remove Hemorrhoids What Are My Options
If your symptoms dont respond to more conservativetreatments, you have options.
Noninvasive options include:
- Electrocoagulation, a minimally invasive procedure that can treat multiple hemorrhoids at the same time. This is also called the HET procedure.
- Doppler-guided hemorrhoid arterial ligation, which uses a special attachment to pinpoint the hemorrhoidal vessels and cut off the blood supply. This procedure is performed under anesthesia.
- A hemorrhoidectomy may be necessary for very large internal and external hemorrhoids or those that are acutely inflamed or thrombosed, Dr. Zutshi says. It involves cutting out the hemorrhoid tissue, which can be painful, especially during recovery. But there are less painful options available.
- Hemorrhoid stapling, in which a surgeon uses a special stapler to cut off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid. This kind of hemorrhoidectomy is thought to be less painful.
Which treatment is best will depend on yoursymptoms and your expectations, Dr. Zutshi says, and those should be discussedwith your doctor.
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Hemorrhoid Treatment At Home
Hemorrhoid symptoms can be uncomfortable but there are several at-home remedies may help relieve the pain and discomfort. These include:
- Take a warm bath or sitz bath for 10 to 15 minutes after each bowel movement.
- Clean your anal area gently with warm water each day.
- Do not use alcohol-based or perfumed cleaning wipes around your anus. These cause drying and irritation.
- Moisten toilet tissue before using it to clean after a bowel movement.
- Apply cold compresses to your anus.
- Use stool softeners.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers, including acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
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Where Can I Go For Hemorrhoid Treatment
An essential initial step is to see your doctor for hemorrhoid treatment. You and your doctor can create a hemorrhoid treatment plan that is appropriate for you and your body.
Making an appointment with your doctor is especially critical if you are experiencing any rectal bleeding.
Bright red blood following a bowel movement is a common symptom of hemorrhoids, but it could be a sign of something more serious. Let your doctor determine if you need additional tests because after all, its better to be safe than sorry.
Many treatment options can be done in your own home. Your local drugstore carries all sorts of ointments, creams, wipes, cushions, supplements, and suppositories that are all designed for hemorrhoid relief.
These over the counter medications are effective in treating hemorrhoids, and for your convenience, can be found at nearly every type of store in your area.
If your family doctor feels it necessary, he or she will recommend or send you to a specialist. Hemorrhoids are easily treatable, but in some cases, our genetics can make this anorectal condition reluctant to respond with basic treatments, and can often produce reoccurring, life-hindering flare-ups.
Cases such as these are better to be dealt with the capable hands of a gastroenterologist or proctologist. At the first sign of hemorrhoids, however, you dont have to worry about going to see one of these specialists right away.
Are Bleeding Hemorrhoids Dangerous
For the most part, hemorrhoids are not dangerous. You may not even know you have them unless you see blood or feel a lump or stiffness around your anus.
However, do not take your hemorrhoids for granted, particularly if you have bleeding hemorrhoids. Not everything that causes blood in your stool is harmless, for example, colorectal cancer. You should see a hemorrhoid doctor or general practitioner as soon as possible.
Hemorrhoids do not cause cancer. However, cancer can cause many of the same symptoms as hemorrhoids, including bleeding.
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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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Causes And Risk Factors Of Hemorrhoids
Several conditions and habits are thought to cause hemorrhoids:
- Chronic constipation or diarrhea
- Straining too hard during bowel movements
- Sitting on the toilet for a long time
Straining, constipation, and prolonged sitting can all affect the blood flow in the area, causing blood to not move at its expected rate within the vessels, leading to hemorrhoids.
Factors that raise your risk of developing hemorrhoids:
- Lack of fiber in the diet.
- Obesity: Being overweight can put pressure on the hemorrhoidal tissue.
- Aging: As we get older, the connective tissue in the rectum and anus becomes weaker, potentially resulting in bulging hemorrhoids.
- Pregnancy: As the fetus grows and puts pressure on the abdomen, the veins in the rectum and anus may become enlarged. The problem typically goes away after birth.
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What To Wear And Bring
On the day of your surgery, wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes and avoid wearing makeup or nail polish. Leave all valuables, including jewelry, at home.
Make sure you bring your driverâs license, insurance card, and a list of your medications.
If you are staying overnight in the hospital, pack a bag the night before your surgery.
In addition to personal care items and comfort items , be sure to pack:
- Any medical devices you use
- Loose-fitting clothes to go home in, especially pants with an elastic waistband and cotton underwear
Someone will need to drive you home when you are discharged, so either plan for the person to accompany you to your surgery or to be on stand-by for your discharge.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Why did I get hemorrhoids?
- What is the best treatment for me?
- What lifestyle changes can I make to keep from getting hemorrhoids again?
- When will symptoms improve?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
An estimated 15 million Americans have sought treatments for hemorrhoids at some point in their lives. But many more suffer needlessly. Dont be too embarrassed to talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms. If hemorrhoids cause pain or discomfort, your provider has treatments that can help. You can also take steps to keep hemorrhoids from coming back.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/18/2021.
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Choosing A Doctor To Treat Your Hemorrhoids
December 22, 2017 by inx Medical
If you suffer from hemorrhoids, the good news is that lower grade hemorrhoids can resolve on their own with at-home treatments. But what if they get to the point where you need to see a doctor to treat them? How do you choose where to go and what doctor is right for you?
Heres what you should know about finding the right doctor for you:
The Initial Exam By A Hemroids Doctor Proctologist
A proctologist is a specific kind of specialist hemroids doctor, that works with the anorectal canal and subsequent structures. In other words, if it has to do with your hemroids, this is probably the hemroids doctor that will be looking at it first.
The hemroids doctor will want to take a look at the area, which will involve a lot of draping and quite a bit of effort to help you feel as though you and your privacy are safe and respected. The draping helps both you and the hemroids doctor to psychologically separate looking at such a private area from any loss of comfortable mental space to communicate in.
As I found in my first gynecological exam at the age of twenty two, while under normal circumstances I would be highly upset at someone I didnt know really, really well, even seeing such a part of me, hemroids doctors are well trained to make it as painless as possible.
After draping and initial external visual examination have taken place, the hemroids doctor may insert an anoscope to check for internal hemroids. This is a small, metal tube that has a port through which to see one quarter of the anal canals wall at a time. You can have it warmed up to a decent temperature first, if necessary.
After the proctologist one specialist type of hemroids doctor has taken a thorough look at the entire area to find anything that he or she needs to, a recommendation will be made from there as to further treatment.
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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.