You may, understandably, not like to talk about it, but hemorrhoids are pretty common. They affect about 10 million adults in the United States annually. It’s estimated, in fact, that as many as three in four adults will experience problems with hemorrhoids at some point in their lives.
Take a walk down the pharmacy aisle at your local grocery store and you’ll likely find plenty of treatments that promise to help. But what do you do when home remedies don’t work? Is there a medical treatment that will help heal your hemorrhoids and resolve your pain?
“Yes,” says Dr. Betsy Clemens. And the good news? Effective hemorrhoid treatment doesn’t always mean surgery. In fact, most of the time it does not.
Dr. Clemens leads our team here at Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center in Creve Coeur, Missouri. She’s a specialist who is well known for her medical expertise as well as her passion for making her patients feel comfortable when addressing this sometimes embarrassing condition.
What are hemorrhoids?
Simply put, hemorrhoids are swollen and bulging veins that occur in your anorectal region. Hemorrhoids are similar to varicose veins and can occur anywhere from your lower rectum to just outside the anus. Internal hemorrhoids occur inside and external hemorrhoids form under the skin of the anal opening.
Depending on their location, hemorrhoids may cause excessive bleeding with little discomfort or become exquisitely painful. As with many medical conditions, early treatment for your hemorrhoids can often spare you needless pain and discomfort.
4 signs that hemorrhoids require medical intervention
Here are the four signs that Dr. Clemens says indicate your hemorrhoids require medical intervention and why early treatment matters.
1. Bleeding during bowel movements
There are many underlying causes of rectal bleeding, including hemorrhoids. Blood associated with internal hemorrhoids is typically bright red, causes no pain, occurs with bowel movements, and may be mild to moderate in amount.
You can’t assume, however, that your symptoms are due to hemorrhoids. If you’ve never been diagnosed with hemorrhoids or have noted a change in the characteristics of the bleeding you’ve associated with hemorrhoids, see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
2. A noticeable bulge at the anus that seems to retract following a bowel movement
Internal hemorrhoids can prolapse or fall outside of the anal opening during a bowel movement. Initially, the tissue may retract on its own or be easily pushed back inside. But prolapse can worsen over time and can eventually cause significant irritation, itching, bleeding, and pain as this internal tissue becomes trapped outside of the anus. Early treatment helps prevent the prolapse from worsening.
3. The sensation that you’re not emptying your stool completely
Prolapsing internal hemorrhoids can cause the feeling that your stool is stuck at the anus. Or you may note a mucous discharge and difficulty in cleaning yourself following a bowel movement because of the displaced tissue. We can remedy these symptoms by treating the hemorrhoid.
4. Discomfort, itching, and irritation in the anal region
There’s really no reason to try and live with your hemorrhoids until the pain becomes severe enough to disrupt your life. Many effective nonsurgical treatments exist that can resolve your hemorrhoids, including:
Infrared coagulation (IRC)
The highly effective IRC method utilizes infrared light delivered via a small probe to painlessly coagulate (clot) the blood vessels supplying your hemorrhoid. As the blood flow is blocked, the enlarged hemorrhoidal tissue shrinks and your symptoms resolve.
Rubber band ligation
This method also blocks blood flow to the hemorrhoidal tissue, which eventually causes the hemorrhoid to wither and “die.” It’s admittedly more painful overall than IRC and may cause bleeding, but it remains an effective, nonsurgical solution for treating hemorrhoids.
You can rely on Dr. Clemens to focus first on diagnosing your condition correctly and then recommending the most conservative and effective hemorrhoid treatment available, including tips that help prevent hemorrhoids from recurring. Schedule your appointment today at Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center.