Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Why do I have hemorrhoids?
- Are there any lifestyle changes I can do that can relieve or prevent hemorrhoids?
- I saw blood on toilet paper. Is this serious?
- Are having hemorrhoids a sign of another health condition?
- Will I always have hemorrhoids?
- Is there medicine I can take for hemorrhoids? Are there side effects?
When Should I See A Gi Doctor For Hemorrhoids
If you suspect you have hemorrhoids because youve found blood when you wipe, or your rectum feels sore, go see a gastroenterologist for peace of mind. A diagnosis of hemorrhoids may feel embarrassing, but its far preferable to the more serious conditions linked to a bleeding anus, such as anal cancer. And GI doctors are experienced in such matters so theres no need to feel any shame in the examination room.
A diagnosis also means you can pursue the right treatment. Hemorrhoids and anal fissures are often mistaken for each other, but they need to be handled differently.
You need to seek immediate medical attention if you experience anal pain that increases in intensity or spreads, or you have anal discharge or signs of an infection: raised temperature, fever, or chills.
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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A Physical Exam Is Usually Done To Make A Hemorrhoids Diagnosis
Hemorrhoids may feel embarrassing to address, which is why many people try to diagnose themselves and avoid seeing a healthcare provider. However, its important to see a healthcare provider to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. Hemorrhoids can have symptoms similar to other, more serious conditions, and those should be ruled out before assuming symptoms are from hemorrhoid. In most cases, hemorrhoids can be easily diagnosed with a history and a physical exam.
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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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.
What Are The Treatment Options For Hemorrhoids
Knowing when to see your doctor for hemorrhoids is essential as it will determine what treatment options you have. If hemorrhoids havent advanced to the chronic stage, they can be treated using either home remedies or non-surgical methods, such as:
- Rubber band ligation, where a rubber band is placed at the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off the blood supply. The hemorrhoid tissue shrinks due to the shortage of blood and falls off within a week leaving scar tissue behind.
- Sclerotherapyis another non-surgical technique where a chemical is injected into the hemorrhoids to shrink them.
- Coagulationis also effective for the treatment of internal hemorrhoids where an infrared light or electric current is used to halt the blood flow and shrink the hemorrhoid tissue.
If your condition is chronic, these non-surgical methods wont be a suitable choice for you as they will require repeated sittings. As a result, it will take weeks to get rid of hemorrhoids completely. So, instead of using these methods, the doctor may suggest that you opt for a surgical procedure to cure hemorrhoids. The surgical methods include:
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What Are The Signs That You Need To See A Doctor For Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids can be misdiagnosed easily if a person tries to self-diagnose the disease. Most people cant recognize the disease, especially in the earlier stages of internal hemorrhoids when the swollen and inflamed veins are not visible externally. Hence, it is important that you go and see a doctor about your hemorrhoids. Here are four signs that indicate that your hemorrhoids need medical intervention at the earliest.
1. Rectal Bleeding
Bleeding during the bowels is the first sign you will notice if you have hemorrhoids. Both internal and external hemorrhoids bleed even in the early stages. Over time, the bleeding will become more severe and it could lead to mild to moderate anemia. However, rectal bleeding can be a sign of other underlying conditions too. Hence, you should never ignore this sign and get diagnosed right away. Only a professional doctor will be able to diagnose the disease accurately.
2. Bulge from Anus
Hemorrhoids start bulging out from the anus when it reaches the prolapsed stage. If the bulge prolapses during bowel movements and you have to push it back inside, it is time to see a doctor. Prolapsed hemorrhoids will only become worse over time and it increases the risk of strangulation of the hemorrhoidal mass. Thats why early treatment is necessary to prevent the condition from getting worse.
3. Feeling of Fullness
4. Long-lasting Discomfort & Irritation
Lifestyle Changes For Managing Hemorrhoids
You may help prevent hemorrhoids from forming or from worsening with some lifestyle changes. These changes include:
- Do not while moving your bowels.
- Limit the amount of time you spend 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 does not become dry and difficult to pass.
- Increase fluid intake. Drink six to eight 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. OTC creams and suppositories can help relieve pain and reduce swelling.
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When Do Hemorrhoids Require Medical Intervention
Your hemorrhoids can be an embarrassing topic to discuss with anyone, even your doctor. But hemorrhoids are common and affect 5% of adults in the United States every year, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Its estimated, in fact, that as many as three in four adults will experience problems with hemorrhoids at some point in their lives.
Though you can find many treatments for hemorrhoids at your local pharmacy, home remedies dont help everyone. At Rivas Digestive Center, located in Hollywood, Florida, our expert gastroenterologist, Dr. John Rivas, wants you to know when its time to get medical help for your hemorrhoids.
Increasing Your Fibre Intake
You can gradually increase the amount of fibre in your diet by eating foods including:
- fresh fruit and vegetables
- nuts and seeds
Commercial fibre supplements are also available and can be useful if you think you are not getting enough of the above foods in your diet.
Make sure you increase your fibre gradually so your digestive system has time to adapt.
Its also important to increase your fluid intake at the same time. This is because fibre in the stools acts like a sponge, absorbing moisture from the body. Try to drink lots of water. Cutting down on sugary drinks will also help you to cut down on calories that cause weight gain.
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Which Conditions Mimic Hemorrhoids
Another worry you might have is that you suffer from something else other than hemorrhoids. Your imagination might run wild with worries that you actually have cancer or suffer from a more serious illness than hemorrhoids.
It is true that hemorrhoids can mimic symptoms of other diseases, including anal and colon cancer. You can rule out these other possibilities by going through a proper examination at your doctors office. If you are found to suffer from hemorrhoids, your doctor will suggest a number of different treatment options, like using prescription medications or undergoing laser surgery to reduce their size and swelling.
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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When To See A Doctor About Your Hemorrhoids
A Centre of Excellence for Piles Treatment
It is understandable that people usually dont talk about hemorrhoids openly due to embarrassment. The same problem exists when a person thinks about seeing a doctor. Talking to a doctor about hemorrhoids may seem awkward, but it is important to open up about your problem to find the best solution. Seeing a doctor is usually recommended when piles symptoms appear and dont go away for more than a week. In most people, hemorrhoids resolve on their own. But if your condition doesnt improve within a week, you should immediately see a doctor for piles.
Even though hemorrhoids dont always require surgical treatment, consulting a doctor is essential to prevent the condition from advancing. The doctor will diagnose the disease and determine how serious it is. The treatment method is chosen according to the severity of the hemorrhoids. Read ahead to find out when and who you should see for hemorrhoids.
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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Medical Treatment For Your Hemorrhoids
Dr. Rivas develops personalized hemorrhoid treatment plans after completing a thorough examination. The treatments we recommend may depend on the type of hemorrhoids, as well as your symptoms. Initially, we may suggest lifestyle changes to ease your pain, such as increasing your intake of fiber and water to improve bowel movements and sitz baths to alleviate pain and discomfort.
However, when at-home treatments fail, Dr. Rivas may suggest a procedure to destroy or remove your hemorrhoids, such as:
- Rubber band ligation
- Infrared, laser, or bipolar coagulation
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 protrudes 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.
Internal haemorrhoids are classified into 4 different types based on their degree of prolapse .
- 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 protrude 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 protrude 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.
External haemorrhoids occur as a lump outside the anus. A thrombosed haemorrhoid occurs when there is a blood clot in the skin overlying the anus this can cause severe and constant pain.
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Seek Medical Attention In Time
It is not exaggerating to say that it has become one of the most common problems that many people who work around the desk or in an office will likely suffer from hemorrhoids. The sad truth is that not all people can conveniently tell this problem to their closest people until it is too late to realize that they need immediate medical attention or when to see a doctor.
If you are experiencing hemorrhoids I can recommend for you to try this 5-step method that could permanently treat your hemorrhoids and stop your pain. Or if you suffer from constipation too, just adding this flavorless nutrient to your morning coffee or tea can help empty your bowels every morning effortlessly.
When Should I See My Doctor
Haemorrhoids often go away without any treatment. However, if you notice blood when you have a bowel motion, it is important to get checked out by a doctor, to make sure your symptoms are not a sign of something more serious. The symptoms of haemorrhoids can be very similar to those of bowel cancer.
Tell your doctor if you have noticed:
- blood or mucus in your stools
- changes in your bowel habits or movements
- changes in the colour of your stools
- recent weight loss
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Find A Hemorrhoid Specialist
- sitting on the toilet for extended periods of time,
- blood thinners or other medications, which may increase the risk of hemorrhoidal bleeding,
- frequently moving or lifting heavy objects without proper support, and
- pregnancy or labor.
Increased pressure in the abdominal cavity, constipation in pregnancy, and breastfeeding may lead to excess strain on the tissue around the anus and rectum.
Signs And Symptoms Of Hemorrhoids
Seeing blood in your toilet bowl after a bowel movement is no doubt alarming, but its one of the main symptoms of hemorrhoids. Other symptoms include:
- Bright red blood on toilet paper or in your stool after a bowel movement
- Itching in the anal area
- Pain in the anal area, especially when sitting
- Pain during bowel movements
- One or more hard, painful lumps around the anus
If you experience any of these hemorrhoid symptoms, avoid excess straining, rubbing, or cleaning around the anus, which can make irritation and itching worse, and can even lead to bleeding. In addition, try to pat the area dry instead of wiping it.
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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.