What Are the Treatments for Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids can appear at any time during our life and can be quite burdensome, painful and down right embarrassing!  With such a large number of people suffering from hemorrhoids, most primary care physicians (PCP) have only a small variety of treatment options before recommending you see a surgeon.  Due to this situation, most patients leave their PCP’s office with one of two options:  fill another prescription or consider a visit to see a surgeon.

Either way, the pains of the hemorrhoid flare-up are magnified in this situation because neither option is really a good option.  So once in this position, what usually happens?  The flare-up starts to calm down a bit and the patient puts off correcting the underlying issue until it finally becomes much worse.  Severity slowly increases and time between flare-ups decreases.

Many times, this leaves surgery as the only option.  Hemorrhoid surgery can lead to 2-4 weeks of missed work and using up all of your vacations days, sick days, and increases in paperwork for FMLA or other short-term disability claims.  All because of procrastination or simply not knowing about all available types of hemorrhoid treatment:

1.  Over the Counter (OTC) –  this includes Prep H ointment and various creams as well as suppositories and wipes.  The use of these modalities is designed to be short-term.  Many cause vasoconstriction of the vessels and lubrication of the tissue to aid in passage of stool more easily and decrease the abrasions from harder stools inside or ease the injury of over-wiping of the external anus and tissues.  Long term use becomes a problem as the tissues of the area start to have rebound swelling once the topical are discontinued.  This keeps patients buying more and more without fixing anything.

2.  Prescription Products – originally designed as the next option beyond OTC use, these products are slightly more effective yet have systemic risks that many prescribers fail to recognize.  Cortisone products may not only degrade the tissues with prolonged use past a few weeks time, they also may disrupt blood sugar control and adrenal gland steroid production.

3- Non-surgical Treatments – often times these are the unknown or overlooked solutions to internal or external hemorrhoids.  These treatments include:  infrared coagulation (IRC) often referred to laser treatment, rubber band ligation (RBL) or “banding,” and sclero-injection or “sclero” for problem internal hemorrhoids.  External hemorrhoid treatment includes:  incision and drainage (I&D) for external blood clots or thrombosis, minor excisions for some types of skin tags and rubber band ligation (RBL) if the external tissue is actually a grade 4 prolapsing internal hemorrhoid.

4- Surgery – this includes the tradition surgical excision as well as some alterations in the approach to include stapled excisions and removal of the arterial supply vessels.  These surgeries are performed in hospitals and surgical centers.  Costs are tremendous and recovery times can be weeks to a month or sometimes longer.  Pain is the most common complicating factor as surgeons and patients alike tend to refrain from this approach unless absolutely necessary.

Many surgeons have been known to tell patients, “you really don’t want to have your hemorrhoids cut on,” or “use whatever you can find to help with your hemorrhoids because surgery is going to hurt like hell,” and “please don’t come back for 20 years or until the hemorrhoids are so bad you can’t take it anymore and then we’ll do your surgery.”  So, do you want to wait on treatment now?

Non-surgical solutions can be a life saver and money saver!  Usually performed in the physician’s office, but not always, so be sure to ask before you treat.  If done in a hospital procedure room or endoscopy suite, you can spend thousands of dollars more due to “facility fees” with no real added benefit to the patient.

Of all the hemorrhoid patients typically seen in the office setting, well over 95% are candidates for treatment with non-surgical methods.  Of all the patients seen by a surgeon, around half can be treated by surgery.  If you ask surgeons to fix your problem, the vast majority will give you surgical options that involve cutting.  That is what they do… surgery!  So if over 95% can be treated with non-surgical options, why would you not want to start with the easiest and least complicated option?  That is where we can help.

At Mountain Streams Medical Center, your center of excellence in hemorrhoid treatment, we strive to quickly and effectively treat you.  We want you to avoid the pain, down time and tremendous costs of surgery.  We have specially equipped our locations to be both your diagnostic and treatment center.  We are equipped to handle all non-surgical hemorrhoid treatments right here!  Most times, your treatment can begin the very same day.

We can eliminate the need to visit your PCP only get a referral to a surgeon or be told to try yet another prescription.  No more visits to urgent care or the ER to just be given a pain pill and a cream and told “there is really nothing we can do.  Here is the card for a surgeon.  You can call his office on Monday.”  Instead, call us nowto start your path to better health and the elimination of your hemorrhoid problems.  In the Denver Metro or northern Colorado areas call 303 469-7300 or in Colorado Springs or southern Colorado dial 719 634-6700.  We look forward to your call!

Signs and Symptoms of Internal Hemorrhoids

As many as fifty percent of Americans will suffer from hemorrhoid symptoms in their lifetime. This is a very frustrating, embarrassing, and often time painful situation. This will disrupt the lives of people both personally and professionally. Because the onset is usually unexpected, people have little choice but to be reactionary in their response. These flare-up situations can ruin vacations and cause loss of work. We strongly suggest, that when faced with hemorrhoid symptoms, you take swift action to address the problem and take proactive steps to fix your problem immediately.

Because hemorrhoids can present both internally and externally, we suggest you watch for the many symptoms. Once you have symptoms or concerns of hemorrhoids, we recommend that you seek care as soon as possible. Symptoms of hemorrhoids in order of greatest concern include:

1. Bleeding: this is potentially the most worrisome sign of hemorrhoids. It is not normal to bleed when passing a stool or when wiping after a bowel movement. This is a concern that can be seen with all types and grades of hemorrhoids, internal and external.

2. Pain: this is a common problem due to pressure building within internal or external hemorrhoid vessels. The larger the hemorrhoid the more discomfort. The anal sphincter’s closure may pull or impinge on prolapsing internal hemorrhoids retraction back into place. This causes pain and pressure to increase after passing bowel movements. It can also be related to a “new bump” or “blood clot,” known as a thrombosis, found on the outside or within the anal opening.

3. Bumps and Lumps: when new firm and quickly appearing structures appear. They are filled with clotted or thickened blood. This occurs after increases in physical or mental stress, like a new work out routine, constipation, death of someone close, divorce, coughing, or simply moving a child off to college. Compromised hemorrhoids under stress and strain stretch and fill with blood. This increase in blood flow into the external hemorrhoid is not able to quickly drain and becomes trapped and clots up.

4. Itching: often times a very difficult symptom to deal with due to its many potential causes from diet to leakage to over cleaning, etc. Many times the heat increase in hemorrhoid flare-ups causes the tissues to dry out and itch. Other times, prolapsing hemorrhoids leak mucus or soil onto the skin of the anus and the external tissues become chapped or broken down leading to itching and dermatitis.

We suggest that if you suspect or have any of these symptoms, your next step is to schedule an appointment for an evaluation of your concerns. By acting swiftly, you can get both relief of the problem and have all of your concerns addressed.