Find out what you can do to treat your hemorrhoids.
Seeing bright red blood when you wipe may have you panicking. However, before you rush to the hospital, you should know that chances are good that these little drops of blood are simply coming from hemorrhoids. While not dangerous, it’s important to spot the signs of hemorrhoids and know when to turn to a gastroenterologist for treatment.
Signs of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are swollen or bulging veins of the anus. Symptoms of hemorrhoids are limited to the anal region and can result in pain, swelling, bleeding or itching. It’s also the common cause of rectal bleeding. Some hemorrhoids are internal and may cause aching or throbbing pain, particularly after a bowel movement, while others are external and may be large enough to prolapse.
Conservative Hemorrhoid Treatment Options
In most cases, hemorrhoids will go away on their own, and you won’t even need to come in for a visit. Many of the options for treating your hemorrhoids can be found in the comfort of your own home. A sitz bath can ease pain and discomfort without medication, and you can do this a couple of times a day, as needed.
Of course, if the pain is getting to you, there are over-the-counter creams that can at least temporarily take the pain and itching away until the problem resolves itself. We know it won’t cure hemorrhoids, but managing your symptoms is important.
What you wear is also essential. Wearing fabrics that aren’t breathable can exacerbate your condition. Opt for loose-fitted underwear with a breathable soft material that won’t rub or cause further irritation (yes, that means retiring those tight yoga pants, for now).
If your hemorrhoids are the result of constipation, then fiber is something you need to start incorporating into your diet. Everyone needs fiber, but if you don’t get enough, this can lead to a lot of GI problems, not to mention, it can lead to hemorrhoids. Up your fiber intake by incorporating more whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables into your diet.
When to See a Gastroenterologist About Your Hemorrhoids
There comes a time when you have to throw in the towel and admit that it’s time to visit a gastroenterologist. While most cases of hemorrhoids won’t need professional care, if you have been dealing with pain for more than one week, if the rectal pain you are experiencing is severe or if symptoms are getting worse, it’s time to visit a GI specialist.
A gastroenterologist can provide a simple non-surgical rubber band system to cut off blood from the hemorrhoid and kill it. No recovery process is involved and can be performed right in your GI doctor's office. It’s certainly a relief to have a non-surgical option if you deal with persistent or severe hemorrhoids.
You should turn to a gastroenterologist immediately if you notice blood when you wipe or any other signs of hemorrhoids or dealing with intense rectal pain. After all, many conditions such as fissures and anal tears share symptoms with hemorrhoids, and a GI doctor can determine what problem you’re dealing with and how to treat it best.