Though rarely a serious health concern, hemorrhoids can be a recurring and painful problem. This is especially true if you choose to ignore the symptoms of this common anorectal disorder.
But you’re not alone if you choose to suffer in silence instead of getting help for your hemorrhoids. The American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons says many suffer with their hemorrhoids for a long time before they reach out to their doctor for help.
We get it. Here at Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center, our board-certified family physician Dr. Betsy Clemens has dedicated her practice to diagnosing and treating “embarrassing” anorectal disorders like hemorrhoids.
Given our experience and expertise, we want you to know why you shouldn’t ignore your hemorrhoids.
About your hemorrhoids
Though you may be familiar with some of the common symptoms of hemorrhoids, such as anal itchiness and anal pain, you may not know much about the underlying cause of these symptoms.
Hemorrhoids are a lot like varicose veins. They’re enlarged, swollen blood vessels located inside the lower rectum or under the skin around the anus.
Your rectum connects your colon to your anus. Its primary job is to store and eliminate stool, which stretches the tissue and the blood vessels. Stretching of your blood vessels causes them to expand, which weakens their walls.
Over time, your weakened blood vessels succumb to the constant stretching and pressure and protrude, resulting in a hemorrhoid. Your hemorrhoids may be internal (located inside the lower rectum) or external (located outside the rectum under the sensitive anal tissue).
Hemorrhoids are common and affect people of all ages. However, hemorrhoids are a chronic and recurring problem for about half of adults in the United States age 50 and above.
Why you shouldn’t ignore hemorrhoids
Though hemorrhoids are rarely a serious health issue, ignoring them may prolong your suffering. Or worse, become a chronic problem that causes ongoing rectal pain, anal itching, and/or bleeding during bowel movements.
Additionally, taking care of your hemorrhoids before they turn into a major painful problem may prevent the need for serious medical or surgical interventions.
Finding the root cause
One of the best ways to treat hemorrhoids and prevent future episodes is to determine the root cause of your swollen blood vessels. Hemorrhoids develop when there’s excess stress and pressure on the rectal blood vessels, which causes them to bulge and swell.
There are many factors that may cause this excess pressure, including:
- Chronic constipation
- Straining during bowel movements
- Spending too much time sitting on the toilet
- Heavy lifting
Knowing the factors that contribute to the development of your hemorrhoids may help you take the steps needed to alleviate your current symptoms and prevent a recurrence.
Treating your hemorrhoids
In most cases, we can help you get relief from your hemorrhoid symptoms with a few lifestyle changes. These changes may include:
- Adding more fiber to your diet
- Drinking more water
- Limiting the amount of time you spend sitting on the toilet
- Using sitz baths to ease pain and itching
- Applying an over-the-counter hemorrhoid cream
When at-home treatments fail to alleviate your hemorrhoid symptoms, we may recommend infrared coagulation (IRC) treatment. During the nonsurgical, in-office treatment, we use a special infrared light that shrinks your irritating hemorrhoids.
Ignoring your hemorrhoids only prolongs your suffering. Let us help you get relief and prevent a recurrence. Contact our office by calling 636-228-3186, or by scheduling an appointment online today.