When To See A Doctor About Hemorrhoids
Talking about rectal problems like hemorrhoids can feel embarrassing. But this common problem affects an estimated 3 in 4 Americans sometime during their lifetimes half of them by the time they turn 50.;
With hemorrhoids being such a widespread problem, its no surprise that local drugstores have plenty of treatments promising to help. But what if over-the-counter treatments dont help? Can medical care solve your problem and relieve your discomfort?
At Paonessa Colon & Rectal Surgery, we say, Yes. And the good news? Getting medical hemorrhoid treatment doesnt always mean you need surgery. In fact, you can rest easy knowing that most of the time, it doesnt.
Board-certified general surgeon and proctologist Nina J. Paonessa, DO, leads our team. Shes a specialist who is well-known for her medical expertise as well as her passion for making her patients feel comfortable when addressing this sometimes embarrassing condition. Dr. Paonessa is also the only female colorectal surgeon in Ocean and Monmouth counties, New Jersey.
When Should I See My Doctor
See your doctor if you start to notice pain and discomfort around your anus, especially when you sit or have a bowel movement.
Seek emergency medical attention if you notice any drastic worsening of your symptoms or any of these other symptoms, especially if theyre interfering with your daily activities:
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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How Are Haemorrhoids Diagnosed
Diagnosis of haemorrhoids usually involves an examination of the anal passage to look for any swollen blood vessels. Your doctor may conduct one of the following tests.
- Digital rectal examination, where your doctor puts on gloves and places a lubricated finger inside the back passage to gently feel for any abnormalities. This is likely to be uncomfortable but will probably not be painful.
- Proctoscopy, where your doctor examines the inside of the rectum using a proctoscope to look for any swelling or other symptoms. Again, this may be uncomfortable but will probably not be painful.
There is no need to feel embarrassed about these tests haemorrhoids are a common problem and your doctor is used to diagnosing and treating them.
In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a surgeon who can assess your haemorrhoids and recommend a treatment.
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When To Consider Hemorrhoid Removal Surgery
Your doctor may decide that you are a good candidate for hemorrhoid removal surgery if:
You have combined internal and external hemorrhoids.
You have grade 3 or 4 prolapsed internal hemorrhoids. Prolapse means that the hemorrhoids are dropping, or slipping out of the anus. Grade 3 prolapse occurs with a bowel movement, but you can manually push the hemorrhoid back through your anus. A grade 4 prolapse cannot be put back.
You have additional anorectal conditions that require surgery.
Youve had minimally invasive procedures or other treatments that have not corrected the problem.
You have significant amounts of bleeding from your hemorrhoids.
You have a strangulated internal . This occurs when the anal sphincter traps the hemorrhoid and cuts off blood supply to the tissue.;
- You have a hemorrhoid with that recur after less invasive treatments.
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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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Eat A High Fiber Diet And Drink Plenty Of Fluids
Fiber is excellent for your health in many ways! Hemorrhoids are generally caused by strain on the blood vessels in the anus and rectum. Your first line of defense is to reduce the amount of pressure you put on your body while defecating. If youre not getting enough fiber in your diet, you may want to consider high-fiber supplements.
Fiber keeps your stool softas long as youre drinking enough water. If you are dehydrated, your lower intestine will remove the water it needs from your stool, leaving it compact and difficult to evacuate.
What To Expect After Hemorrhoid Surgery
Your provider will give you detailed aftercare instructions, including:
- how to clean the surgical site;
- a medication schedule; and
- pain management techniques .
We may prescribe you stronger pain medication to use for up to five days following your surgery. Youll be scheduled for a four-week follow-up visit with your provider when your surgical site has healed.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Haemorrhoids
If you have haemorrhoids you may notice bright red blood on the toilet paper or in the toilet when you have a bowel motion . There may be some itchiness, discomfort or pain around the anus. Sometimes there can be a noticeable lump that sticks out of the anus.
Many people experience no symptoms or very mild symptoms that disappear after a couple of days. For other people, haemorrhoids are more painful.
Haemorrhoids are classified into 4 different types based on their size and how severe they are:
- First degree haemorrhoids often bleed a little bit when you pass a bowel motion, but stay inside the anus and are not usually very painful.
- Second degree haemorrhoids bleed and stick out of the anus when you pass a bowel motion. Once the bowel motion is over, they disappear back inside the anus by themselves.
- Third degree haemorrhoids have to be physically pushed back inside the anus after passing a bowel motion. They may be painful if they are large.
- Fourth degree haemorrhoids are larger lumps that stick out of the anus permanently, and cannot be placed back inside. The blood inside these haemorrhoids may clot and the lumps can become very painful.
Signs Your Hemorrhoids Warrant A Doctor’s Visit
Your doctor may also check for blood in the stool, examine the muscle tone of your anus, and perform a rectal exam to diagnose internal hemorrhoids. This is done in the doctor’s office with a gloved, lubricated finger and an anoscope; . 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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When To Seek Medical Care For Hemorrhoids
When to call the doctor
- Bleeding from the rectum or anus is never normal and although hemorrhoids are the most common reason to have blood in the stool, it should be discussed with your primary health-care professional. Other causes ofrectal bleeding exist and can be serious. Inflammatory bowel disease and cancers of the colon can present with rectal bleeding. Blood in the stool should never be ignored.
- Medical care should be sought urgently if a person is taking anticoagulation medications such as warfarin , dabigatran , rivaroxiban , apixaban , clopidogrel , prasugrel or enoxaparin .
- Individuals who have associated symptoms such as lightheadedness and weakness may have significant blood loss and may require more urgent care.
- Hemorrhoids do not cause abdominal pain; should this pain be present with bleeding, medical care should be sought immediately.
- Prolapsed hemorrhoids that cannot be pushed back through the anus require medical care.
- Thrombosed external hemorrhoids may cause significant pain and medical care may be necessary to remove the clot.
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Research And Statistics: Who Gets Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are very common in both men and women, affecting about 1 in 20 Americans. ;The most common time to get hemorrhoids is between ages 45 and 65. ;Hemorrhoids are also common in pregnant women.
By age 50, about half of us have experienced hemorrhoid symptoms, such as itching, bleeding, and rectal pain. At any given time, about 10 million Americans roughly 4 percent of adults have hemorrhoids. ;Its estimated that 75 percent of Americans will have hemorrhoids at some point in their lives.
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How Are Hemorrhoids Treated
Your healthcare provider will create a care plan for you based on:
- Your age, overall health, and past health
- How serious your case is
- Whether you have internal hemorrhoids, external hemorrhoids, or both
- How well you handle certain medicines, treatments, or therapies
- If your condition is expected to get worse
- What you would like to do
The main goal of treatment is to reduce your symptoms. This may be done by:
- Sitting in plain, warm water in a bathtub several times a day
- Using ice packs to reduce swelling
- Using hemorrhoid creams or medicines inserted into your rectum
Your healthcare provider may also suggest that you add more fiber and fluids to your diet to help soften your stools. Having softer stools means you don’t have to strain during bowel movements. This reduces the pressure on your hemorrhoids.
Adding more fiber to your diet means eating more:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
Hemorrhoid Treatment At Home
Hemorrhoid symptoms can be quite uncomfortable but there are several treatments you can do at home that may help relieve the pain and discomfort.
Take a warm bath or sitz bath for 10 to 15 minutes after each bowel movement.
Clean around your anal area gently each day with warm water.
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.
You may help prevent hemorrhoids from forming or from worsening with some lifestyle changes as well. They include:
Dont while moving your bowels.
Limit the amount of time sitting on the toilet.
Increase fiber in your diet. Fiber helps give stool bulk so it can be moved through your intestines, and it also helps water remain in the stool so it doesnt get too dry and difficult to pass.
Increase fluid intake. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water and other liquids to help keep your stool soft.
Exercise regularly. This will help regulate and stimulate your bowels.
Apply topical ointments. Over-the-counter creams and suppositories can help relieve pain and reduce swelling.
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What Can I Do To Help Prevent Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are prevalent, with up to seventy-five percent of people suffering from a case in their lifetimes. You cant prevent every case of hemorrhoids! But you can take steps to reduce the chances of having hemorrhoids in the first place, and to reduce the severity if you do get them.
There are two main strategies for hemorrhoid prevention: changing your diet and changing your lifestyle.
Complications Of Rectal Prolapse
- Ulcers in the rectum. These can lead to bleeding.
- A prolapse that cant be pushed back into the rectum. Emergency treatment is necessary in this case because the blood supply to the prolapse will be cut off, resulting in pain.
- Damage to the muscles and nerves in the sphincter. These can worsen fecal incontinence.
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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.
What Kind Of Doctor Do I Need To See For My Hemorrhoids
A number of medical practitioners and doctors are all experienced and qualified to manage your hemorrhoids.
You may speak to;the following types of medical professionals or doctors for hemorrhoids:
- General Practicioner
- General Surgeon
For Pregnant mothers who are prone to experiencing hemorrhoids in their third trimester, a Gynecologist may be the best person to visit considering these hemorrhoids are most likely present due to the increased pressure of pregnancy on the rectal and anal muscles.
Hemorrhoids during pregnancy can be very difficult to deal with. If you are pregnant with hemorrhoids, worry not, our;hemorrhoids during pregnancy guide will help you manage your hemorrhoids in the best possible way.
Depending on the treatment, surgery may or may not be required.
A Colorectal surgeon or Proctologist may be required in severe cases that require operating;on your hemorrhoids.
Most of these procedures can be performed in the doctors office to help shrink or remove the hemorrhoids.
Laser hemorrhoid surgery is also an option for your hemorrhoids, and you will want to make sure you choose an experienced hemorrhoid doctor when opting for laser hemorrhoid surgery.
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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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Hemorrhoid Symptoms And Diagnosis: Internal And External Hemorrhoids
Itching, pain, and bleeding in the anal area are common signs of hemorrhoids.
Itching, pain, and bleeding in the anal area are common signs of hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids occur when veins in the skin around the anus or in the lower rectum get swollen and inflamed. Its not exactly clear what causes people to get hemorrhoids, but there are some common, accepted risk factors and conditions that lead to their development.
Aging can decrease muscle tone in the area, weakening the tissue and causing;hemorrhoids;to bulge, while obesity and;pregnancy;can increase the risk for hemorrhoids due to increased pressure on tissue in the area.
Repeated straining to make a bowel movement, as well as constipation, are also associated with hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are generally not dangerous or life-threatening, but they may be painful.
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