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 topicals 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 traditional 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.