You’ve probably heard someone (in many cases a middle-aged male) make a joke about their hemorrhoids “acting up.” While it may provide a little comic relief on the surface, for those suffering with hemorrhoids, they’re certainly no laughing matter.
In this article, we’re going to go over in detail what hemorrhoids are, the symptoms you may be experiencing, and most importantly, how hemorrhoids can be treated.
If you live in or around the Glendale or Valley Stream areas and are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned below, we advise you to contact our gastroenterology office today to schedule your appointment.
What are hemorrhoids?
From an anatomical perspective, everyone has hemorrhoids. However, what most people refer to as hemorrhoids (and seek treatment for) is actually the result of clusters of veins that become distended in the rectum or anal region.
There are actually two types of hemorrhoids: internal and external. External hemorrhoids are the ones that are typically most painful because the overlying skin becomes irritated and erodes. The pain can be sharp, sudden, and oftentimes a lump can be felt in the anal region.
On the other hand, internal hemorrhoids are usually painless, but that doesn’t mean they are asymptomatic. Internal hemorrhoids can lead to rectal bleeding (typically bright, red blood on toilet paper), and can also protrude, causing irritation.
What are the symptoms associated with hemorrhoids?
A few common symptoms frequently associated with hemorrhoids are:
- Sharp pain in the anal area
- Itching and swelling around the anus
- A lump near the anus, which can be sensitive to the touch
- Painless bleeding (oftentimes a bright red color)
And more. If you are experiencing any unusual sensations near your anal region, it’s important to see a doctor. While hemorrhoids are a relatively mild and treatable condition, there are more serious medical issues that could be responsible for your symptoms.
Since these are also symptoms of rectal or anal cancer, it’s important to see a doctor soon (early detection is key).
What are my treatment options?
In some cases, hemorrhoids can be effectively treated with over-the-counter or at-home remedies. We recommend the following:
Eat foods that are rich in fiber. This can make bowel movements easier by avoiding straining, which can cause additional inflammation.
Keep the anal area clean. We recommend soaking in a bath 2-3 times a day for 10-15 minutes. You may also consider using a sitz bath for convenience, which fits over the toilet.
Use oral pain relievers and/or topical numbing agents.
Change your toilet paper. We recommend using moist towelettes instead of coarse, dry toilet paper.
If after a week or two these treatments do not alleviate your symptoms, our office may offer you minimally invasive treatments including:
Rubber band ligation. This is where we essentially “choke” the hemorrhoids until they wither and fall off. It is a very effective procedure for many patients. We perform the CRH O’Regan hemorrhoid treatment safe and pain free!
Infrared Coagulation of hemorrhoids. This is where an infrared light is used to create scar tissue, cutting off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid in the process.
In severe cases, surgery may be your best option. If that’s the case, then hemorrhoid removal or hemorrhoid stapling may be your best option for permanent relief.
When should I see a doctor?
Most patients seek medical attention after they’ve tried some of the at-home or over-the-counter treatments above and have found little or no relief. If you think you may be suffering from hemorrhoids and your condition has worsened (or hasn’t improved), then it’s time to see a doctor.
As mentioned above, we offer a variety of minimally invasive treatments to alleviate the pain associated with hemorrhoids. If your hemorrhoids are serious and require surgery, we’ll be able to make recommendations and help you find a surgeon who can provide you with an exceptional level of care to solve the issues you are experiencing.
Hemorrhoids can be an embarrassing problem, and for that reason many people avoid seeking treatment and choose to just deal with the pain and suffering. At GastroCare LI, we help patients with a wide variety of GI issues each and every day, and you have absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about.
Hemorrhoids are normal and millions of people experience them every year. If you’re tired of the pain, swelling, and general unpleasantness associated with hemorrhoid symptoms, give our office a call today or contact us here to schedule your appointment!