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Understanding Hemorrhoids, Care Options & Risks

Lee Health is dedicated to providing compassionate care for our patients through education, understanding, and resources to better understand your care options for hemorrhoids. Knowing how to manage hemorrhoids and effectively controlling the symptoms, can enhance your quality of life.

Gastroenterology Locations Serving Southwest Florida

What are hemorrhoids?

hemorrhoids are commonHemorrhoids, also known as HEM-uh-roids, refer to swollen veins in the anus and lower rectum. They may occur internally within the rectum (internal hemorrhoids) or externally under the skin around the anus (external hemorrhoids). 

Various treatment options exist for managing hemorrhoids, and many individuals find relief through home remedies and lifestyle adjustments.

Internal hemorrhoids are located inside the rectum, typically not visible or palpable, and they usually don't cause discomfort. However, straining or irritation during bowel movements can lead to the following:

  • Painless bleeding during bowel movements, characterized by small amounts of bright red blood on toilet tissue or in the toilet.
  • The emergence of a hemorrhoid through the anal opening, referred to as a prolapsed or protruding hemorrhoid, which may cause pain and irritation.

External hemorrhoids, located under the skin around the anus, may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Itching or irritation in the anal region
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Swelling around the anus
  • Bleeding

Hemorrhoids Treatment Options

At Lee Health, our healthcare professionals diagnose hemorrhoids through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and other diagnostic tests. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, various treatment options are available, ranging from lifestyle changes and over-the-counter creams to surgical interventions. Our expert healthcare team will work with you to determine the most suitable treatment plan for your specific condition, ensuring compassionate care every step of the way.

How can I treat hemorrhoids at home?

Below are some options to try at home

Taking warm baths can ease irritation from hemorrhoids. You can use a sitz bath, a small plastic tub that fits over a toilet seat, to soak the affected area, or take a regular bath if possible.

After each time you go to the bathroom, try a warm bath or sitz bath for about 20 minutes. To reduce pain even more, consider adding Epsom Salt to the bath.

To reduce swelling, apply ice packs or cold compresses to the anus for 15 minutes at a time. This can be particularly effective for large and painful hemorrhoids.

Always remember to wrap the ice in a cloth or paper towel before applying it. Avoid placing something frozen directly on your skin to prevent harm or damage to the skin.

Witch Hazel can help with itching and pain, which are the main symptoms of external hemorrhoids. Since it's a natural anti-inflammatory, it can also make the swelling go down. You can get it in a liquid form to apply directly to external hemorrhoids, or you can find it in products like anti-itch wipes and soaps.

Using toilet paper after going to the bathroom can make existing hemorrhoids more irritated. Using moistened wipes can help keep you clean without causing more irritation. You can also use wipes that have soothing ingredients for hemorrhoids, like witch hazel or aloe vera.

Make sure the wipes you pick don't have alcohol, perfume, or other things that can irritate. These things might make hemorrhoid symptoms worse instead of making them better.

Change tight, polyester clothes to comfortable cotton, especially cotton underwear, to keep the anal area clean and dry.

This might lessen symptoms and the chance of infections in open sores or damaged skin. Don't use scented detergents or fabric softeners to lower the risk of irritation.

Coconut oil has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can decrease swelling and inflammation. Its pain-relieving abilities can also help reduce the discomfort from hemorrhoids, and its antibacterial properties support faster healing.

Coconut oil might also assist in relieving constipation due to its laxative effect. Since constipation and straining during bowel movements are common causes of hemorrhoids, using coconut oil can help treat and prevent them.

You can use coconut oil for hemorrhoids by consuming it regularly or applying it externally. This includes cooking with the oil, applying it to external hemorrhoids using a cotton ball, adding it to your bath, and more.

Over-the-counter treatments 

Here are some over-the-counter (OTC) treatments you can try to help relieve the symptoms of hemorrhoids.

  • OTC ointments

You can get over-the-counter ointments and creams, such as Preparation H, at most drugstores, and they can provide quick relief. Some may also decrease swelling and speed up the healing of your hemorrhoid.

If you're using a cream with hydrocortisone, make sure not to use it for more than a week at a time.

  • Stool softeners

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Trusted Source, using stool softeners or fiber supplements, such as psyllium, can be helpful in:

  • Lessening constipation
  • Making stool softer
  • Facilitating quick and painless bowel movements

These stool softeners are available in various forms like powders, capsules, and liquids, and you can take them by mouth once to three times a day.

Our Gastroenterology Team Serving Southwest Florida

To make an appointment with a Lee Health Gastroenterologist, call 239-343-6202.

Banding Procedure

The banding procedure for hemorrhoids can be done at the doctor's office, and it is quick, easy, and painless. The CRH O'Regan system uses gentle suction instead of uncomfortable metal clamps to treat hemorrhoids. The whole process only takes a few minutes and provides long-lasting results. Many patients don't experience a recurrence of symptoms for years.

You don't have to deal with the discomfort of hemorrhoids or undergo invasive surgery to get rid of them. Here are some benefits:

  • Fast and painless
  • Over 99% effective
  • Covered by most insurance
  • No recovery time
  • No need for fasting, preparation, or sedation

How does banding work?

hemorrhoids careThe CRH O'Regan System is a modern method for treating hemorrhoids. It uses gentle suction to place a rubber band at the base of the hemorrhoid. In the next few days, this rubber band restricts blood flow, causing the hemorrhoid to shrink, dry up, and eventually fall off. This system is a quick, effective, and pain-free option for dealing with internal hemorrhoids.

The procedure takes about a minute and offers long-lasting results. The success rate with the CRH O'Regan system is 99%, and only 5% of patients experience symptoms again after 2 years. If you have symptomatic hemorrhoids, this system can provide relief.

Unlike traditional banding or hemorrhoid surgery, the CRH O'Regan system doesn't need extensive preparation or long recovery times. During the band placement, the physician ensures it doesn't capture any tissue with pain-sensitive nerves, reducing the chances of painful side effects and complications, making the procedure virtually painless.

Another advantage is that most patients don't even notice when the hemorrhoid falls off. It typically happens after a few days, often during a regular bowel movement. After a banding session, it's recommended to avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activity for the day, but you can return to work right away.

To make an appointment with a Lee Health Gastroenterologist, call 239-343-6202.

The CRH O’Regan System - Patient Education Video (English)

This video is intended to educate patients about the CRH O’Regan System before scheduling an appointment for the procedure.

The CRH O’Regan System - Patient Education Video (Spanish)

This video is intended to educate patients about the CRH O’Regan System before scheduling an appointment for the procedure.

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