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. It’s 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 don’t help everyone. At Rivas Digestive Center, located in Hollywood, Florida, our expert gastroenterologist, Dr. John Rivas, wants you to know when it’s time to get medical help for your hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are swollen, bulging veins that occur in your anorectal region, which includes your lower rectum and anus. Your hemorrhoids may be:
Internal hemorrhoids develop inside the tissue the lines your anus and lower rectum. You may not experience any pain or discomfort with internal hemorrhoids. However, they can bleed causing bright red blood to appear in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement.
External hemorrhoids form under the sensitive skin around your anus. With external hemorrhoids you may experience itching, pain, and bleeding.
Though hemorrhoid symptoms may vary, they can be severe for some people. Especially if you develop a thrombosed hemorrhoid, or hemorrhoid clot. Getting early treatment for your hemorrhoids may prevent some of the pain and discomfort.
When should I seek medical help for hemorrhoids
At-home treatments help many people get relief from their hemorrhoids. But you may wonder at what point hemorrhoids require medical intervention. This depends on your symptoms.
Hemorrhoid symptoms that benefit from medical intervention include:
You should never ignore rectal bleeding. Though hemorrhoids are a common cause of bloody bowel movements, your rectal bleeding may also be a sign of a more serious gastrointestinal condition such as colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease.
Internal hemorrhoids can prolapse or fall outside of the anal opening during a bowel movement. Though your hemorrhoids may retract back inside on their own, or with a little help from you, prolapsed hemorrhoids tend to worsen over time.
When left untreated, your internal prolapsed hemorrhoid may get trapped outside the anus and cause significant irritation, itching, bleeding, and pain.
Change in bowel habits
With a prolapsed internal hemorrhoid you may develop the sensation that you can’t fully evacuate your bowels. You may also notice a mucous discharge or difficulty cleaning yourself following a bowel movement because of displaced toilet tissue.
These symptoms can be uncomfortable but easily treated with medical intervention.
Pain that disrupts your daily life
If your hemorrhoids are making it hard for you to sit or have a bowel movement, it’s time to give us a call so we can help. There’s no reason you should suffer in silence when we can provide interventions that improve your hemorrhoids and alleviate your discomfort.
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
- Stapled hemorrhoidectomy
We review all your treatment options and together decide the solution that best fits your needs.
Hemorrhoids may improve with at-home care, but if you don’t experience a change in your hemorrhoids within seven days of implementing your home remedies, contact us by phone or online to schedule an evaluation.