Hemorrhoids, When Is A Good Time To See A Doctor
What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids is a general term used to describe swollen blood vessels in the rectal area. It usually occurs in either one of two places: inside the anus or lower rectum and just inside the anal canal
What are hemorrhoid symptoms?
The main symptom of piles is bleeding. Additional symptoms may include itching, pain, mucus discharge (often resembling blood), and swelling (though it can sometimes be difficult to detect). Symptoms often worsen after bowel movements, prolonged sitting on the toilet, lifting heavy objects, straining during defecation (especially at constipation), and due to external pressure applied directly on the tissue. They may also cause rectal discomfort to the point of pain during bowel movements
Another symptom is seeing blood on tissue when wiping after a bowel movement. Although they may be asymptomatic (without symptoms), most patients with them report having at least some symptoms, most often bleeding.
How to identify hemorrhoids?
To help determine if you have hemorrhoids, first start examining your stools. You can do this by either looking into the toilet bowl right after you flush or by pulling out some toilet paper in the bowl before flushing and looking for any bright red streaks of blood on it. If there are no streaks on the paper after you wipe, then you probably don’t have hemorrhoids, but if there are streaks of blood on the paper after you wipe, then you may have hemorrhoids.
Another hemorrhoidal symptom is bright red bleeding during a bowel movement. If you see bright red bleeding or spotting in your stool, this could indicate hemorrhoids. Other symptoms include rectal itching, anal mucus discharge (similar to what happens with a runny nose), and pain upon defecation. Blood during bowel movements can come from anywhere within the GI tract, so it is essential to monitor for other signs and symptoms.
When should you see a doctor about your hemorrhoids?
If you notice any of these hemorrhoid symptoms or notice blood on tissue when wiping after a bowel movement, you should make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible.
If hemorrhoids are not adequately treated, they can become very painful and even burst open.
What are treatments for hemorrhoids?
Treatment generally depends on the type of hemorrhoid present (internal hemorrhoid vs. external hemorrhoid) and the severity of the hemorrhoidal symptoms (bleeding, pain, itching). Treatment options include topical/over-the-counter medications, chemical peels, banding procedures, infrared coagulation, rubber band ligation, and hemorrhoidectomy.
What types of surgeries are there for hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoidectomy: Generally, hemorrhoidectomies (surgical removal of hemorrhoids) may be open or closed (laparoscopic). During an open hemorrhoidectomy, the hemorrhoidal tissue is removed through a small incision in the lower portion of the anus. The recovery time after open hemorrhoids surgery is typically longer than after laparoscopic hemorrhoidectomy.
Laser therapy uses heat to cauterize and close off hemorrhoidal blood vessels. It usually takes two to four treatments and has a similar recuperation period as chemical peels.
Rubber band ligation – This procedure involves placing unique elastic bands around hemorrhoidal tissue to cut off bleeding. The hemorrhoidal tissue then dies and is absorbed by the body. Infrared coagulation – This hemorrhoid treatment uses infrared light to stop excess bleeding. It also kills hemorrhoidal tissue, causing it to die and be resorbed by the body’s system.
Once hemorrhoids are removed, lifestyle changes should be implemented to prevent hemorrhoids from returning, including eating a high fiber diet, avoiding straining on bowel movements, decreasing time spent sitting on the toilet, and increasing physical activity.
Is it necessary to get surgery for hemorrhoids?
There is no one size fits all answer when it comes to whether or not you need surgery for hemorrhoids. Some people can manage hemorrhoids with lifestyle changes, over-the-counter hemorrhoidal medications, and hemorrhoid suppositories. However, if you want to get rid of hemorrhoids for good, different treatments can help, including hemorrhoidectomy surgery and hemorrhoid banding procedures.
The treatment option(s) chosen will typically depend on how severe your hemorrhoidal symptoms are, along with any underlying conditions (such as pregnancy) related to hemorrhoids.
Ask your doctor about HemWell, an FDA-approved, pain-free treatment that’s permanent. If your provider doesn’t offer HemWell, we can assist you in finding one that does. Please visit our website to learn more about this life-changing treatment. Learn more about hemorrhoids.