All About IRC for Hemorrhoids

All About IRC for Hemorrhoids

Many people have hemorrhoids. And for most, hemorrhoids go away on their own with at-home care. However, at-home care may not work for everyone.

At Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center in Creve Coeur, Missouri, our board-certified family medicine physician, Dr. Betsy Clemens, exclusively diagnoses and treats anorectal disorders like hemorrhoids. 

If your hemorrhoids continue to cause anal pain or anal itchiness, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Though we initially take a conservative approach to hemorrhoid care, we also provide infrared coagulation (IRC), a nonsurgical, minimally invasive treatment option for certain types of hemorrhoids.

Here, we want to tell you all about IRC and how it might work for you.

About your hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins found inside or outside your rectum. When you come in with concerns about your hemorrhoids, we conduct an exam to determine hemorrhoid type and severity. 

The location of your hemorrhoids determines the type:

External hemorrhoids

External hemorrhoids are found outside your rectum, affecting the sensitive anal tissue. This type of hemorrhoid may cause anal discomfort, including pain or itchiness. 

When a blood clot forms in an external hemorrhoid, you have a thrombosed hemorrhoid, which causes severe pain. 

Internal hemorrhoids

Internal hemorrhoids are found inside your lower rectum. When evaluating your internal hemorrhoids, we grade them on a 4-point scale:

Internal hemorrhoids are usually painless, but cause bright red blood in stool during a bowel movement.  

Treating your hemorrhoids

When developing your hemorrhoid treatment plan, we take into consideration hemorrhoid type, severity, and symptoms. However, we always start with diet and lifestyle changes. 

Hemorrhoids often develop from constipation and poor bathroom habits. Changing your diet and habits may prevent a recurrence of your hemorrhoids. 

That being said, anyone with hemorrhoids should add more fiber and water to their diet to soften stools and limit toilet time to no more than two minutes. 

What is IRC?

IRC is an in-office treatment for grades I, II, III, and IV internal hemorrhoids that are small or medium in size. This treatment uses infrared light to clot the blood vessel, causing your hemorrhoid to shrink and recede.

Treatment takes a minute or less, and you may feel a warming sensation and mild pain from the infrared light. With IRC, we only treat one hemorrhoid at a time. If you have more than one, we schedule follow-up appointments for additional treatments every 10-14 days.

What happens after IRC?

IRC requires no anesthesia, so you can go back to your usual activities after treatment. However, we request you avoid lifting heavy objects (anything that weighs more than 20 pounds) for a week following your IRC.

You may have mild-to-moderate pain for a few days after the procedure, but you can ease the discomfort with over-the-counter pain medication. Bleeding is also common, but usually resolves within a few weeks. 

Eating a high-fiber diet, drinking plenty of water, and limiting your time on the toilet all support the healing process and may prevent the formation of new hemorrhoids. There’s no cure for hemorrhoids, but changing your diet and bathroom habits may help you avoid the anal discomfort.

Don’t ignore your hemorrhoids. We can help you get rid of them and maybe prevent a recurrence. Call our office ― 636-228-3136 ― to schedule an appointment today.

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