Hemorrhoids are a very common side effect of pregnancy, which can a whole new layer of daily discomfort to a pregnant patient’s life. When a pregnant patient comes to you with hemorrhoids, you need to be prepared to discuss with them why hemorrhoids are more prevalent during pregnancy and their treatment options should the hemorrhoids be severe enough. [Read more…]
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?
Here’s what you should know about finding the right doctor for you: [Read more…]
When it comes to anal disorders there may be some confusion among your patients about what each disorder means. For example, they may wonder if they are suffering from hemorrhoids or an anal fistula.
As a colorectal specialist, you can help patients understand the difference between these two conditions and their treatment options. [Read more…]
For many patients, hemorrhoids are merely an annoyance and will resolve on their own with simple care. But when a hemorrhoid becomes serious enough, a patient will come to your office seeking treatment — and perhaps surgery.
But when will a hemorrhoid require surgery? There are several factors you should take into consideration based on the type of hemorrhoid the patient has and the types of treatment options used in the past. [Read more…]
If you suffer from hemorrhoids, you may have used over-the-counter hemorrhoid treatments to relieve symptoms. But are these medications as useful as you think?
Medicated Over-The-Counter Hemorrhoid Treatments
Medicated over-the-counter hemorrhoid treatments include products like creams, pads, and suppositories that contain medications like hydrocortisone, witch hazel, or numbing agents to relieve pain and itching. Oral pain relievers like Tylenol and Advil can also help treat hemorrhoid symptoms.
Brands like Preparation H include a decongestant that acts like a vasoconstrictor, meaning it shrinks blood vessels and temporarily relives pain and swelling associated with hemorrhoids. This medication can come in creams, suppositories, or pads.
These treatments are considered effective in treating the symptoms of hemorrhoids. Do not use over-the-counter hemorrhoid treatments for more than a week unless directed by your doctor.
Over-application of treatments like pads and creams can cause your skin to thin out. If you have certain medical problems like high blood pressure or you are taking certain medications, talk to your doctor before starting a home treatment regimen.
Non-Medicated Over-The-Counter Hemorrhoid Treatments
There are also non-medicated over-the-counter hemorrhoid treatments that include:
- Sitz baths: These warm baths can help reduce swelling and relaxes your muscles.
- Cold packs: Ice helps numb pain and reduce swelling. Remember to wrap the ice in a towel and apply for only several minutes at a time to prevent ice burns.
- Eating high-fiber foods: A fiber-rich diet makes going easier and helping prevent constipation that can worsen hemorrhoids.
- Moist wipes: These wipes are gentler than dry tissue paper and will not irritate hemorrhoids as much. Wipes can also be medicated and contain ingredients like witch hazel and aloe.
These treatments are considered effective in helping relieve pain, itching, and swelling associated with hemorrhoids and are sometimes the only treatment some people need to find relief.
However, it is important to remember to use caution while self-treating at home — especially if taking dietary supplements or using “natural” remedies. These can interfere with prescription medications you may be taking or irritate your skin. Before starting at-home hemorrhoid treatments, talk to your doctor.
What If Over-The-Counter Treatments Are Ineffective?
Despite the effectiveness of over-the-counter hemorrhoid treatments, it’s important to remember that what works for one person may not for another.
If you find that your hemorrhoids aren’t responding to over-the-counter hemorrhoid treatments, reach out to your doctor to discuss non-surgical treatment options like rubber band ligation. Your doctor will be able to recommend treatment options based on your needs.
You can sometimes prevent hemorrhoids from developing in the first place by living a healthy lifestyle and practicing healthy bathroom habits like not straining or sitting on the toilet too long. If your hemorrhoids start bleeding, contact your doctor.
When a patient suffers from hemorrhoids, the hemorrhoid will typically resolve on its own with at-home treatment and care. But what if they don’t? Depending on diagnosis and the patient’s situation, hemorrhoid surgery may be required.
When Is Hemorrhoid Surgery Necessary?
Hemorrhoid surgery is needed when the patient’s case is severe and the hemorrhoid does not resolve on its own.
For example, if a hemorrhoid has risen to a Grade IV, which means an irreducible prolapse, surgery is required. Additionally, if a hemorrhoid is still causing the patient problems after non-surgical treatment options like rubber band ligation, surgery may be necessary.
What Are The Options?
There are several surgical options available to treat hemorrhoids, though they should be reserved for hemorrhoids (like Grade III and IV) that do not respond to other methods of treatment:
- Hemorrhoidectomy: This surgery removes hemorrhoids by making incisions around the tissue and tying off the swollen vein to prevent bleeding, and the hemorrhoid removed. The surgical area can be closed or left open, covered by medicated gauze.
- Hemorrhoidopexy: Also known as “stapling”, this surgery is used to treat prolapsed hemorrhoids by stapling the prolapsed tissue to the rectal wall. The hemorrhoid is not removed; rather, its blood supply is cut off causing it to wither away.
These options can typically be performed as an outpatient procedure with the patient being sent home after the surgery is complete.
However, patients should be kept for observation after a hemorrhoidectomy and hemorrhoidopexy to ensure that their vital signs are stable after coming out of anesthesia.
After surgery is complete and patients have come out of anesthesia, educate them and their loved ones about post-surgical care and what they should expect.
Patients who receive hemorrhoid surgery like a hemorrhoidectomy should expect symptoms to last for a few weeks after treatment.
For aftercare, patients should eat a high-fiber diet, drink plenty of water, avoid heavy lifting, and not strain when they use the toilet. If needed, they can use a stool softener.
Stress that patients need to contact you if they experience:
- Painful urination or bowel movements
If patients experience bleeding that does not stop, have severe pain in their stomach or anus or cannot urinate, they should immediately seek emergency care.
Hemorrhoids, also called piles, are clumps of swollen blood vessels in the anus or lower rectum that are itchy and can cause pain or even bleed, which can make sitting and going to the bathroom unpleasant.
If you’ve had hemorrhoids before or have never suffered from them, you may be asking yourself, “How can I prevent hemorrhoids from happening in the first place?”
Thankfully, hemorrhoids can be prevented with a few easy lifestyle changes. [Read more…]
When talking to your patients about hemorrhoid treatments, it is imperative that they understand what to expect from the various options. Because some patients may be nervous about undergoing treatment, it is your duty to dissuade any fears or concerns and educate your patients. [Read more…]
No one likes talking about hemorrhoids in everyday conversation, and it is common to feel embarrassed about them. However, it is important not to let this feeling prevent you from seeking proper medical care. Understanding what hemorrhoids are will help you as a patient realize that there is nothing to be embarrassed about so you can seek the diagnosis and treatment you need. [Read more…]