Hemorrhoids are a condition many people experience but few feel comfortable talking about, even with their doctors. Specialists at The University of Kansas Health System understand this topic can be difficult to discuss and are ready to work with you to find the best solution to getting rid of hemorrhoids.
Almost 3 out of 4 adults will experience hemorrhoids occasionally, and a number of treatments may be recommended for them.
What is a hemorrhoid treatment?
Hemorrhoids, also called piles, are swollen veins that develop around your anus (external hemorrhoids) or in your lower rectum (internal hemorrhoids). There are many causes of hemorrhoids, but even so the cause is often unknown. Hemorrhoids may go away on their own, but if your symptoms get worse or don’t improve after a week of home treatments, you should see your primary healthcare provider.
Treatments for hemorrhoids range from lifestyle changes to surgical hemorrhoid removal. The type of treatment your doctor recommends will depend on the severity of your hemorrhoids. More invasive forms of hemorrhoid treatment can often be avoided by seeing your doctor at the first sign of hemorrhoids and getting treatment early. The sooner you seek intervention, the easier the condition is to treat.
Who can have hemorrhoid treatments?
There are several types of hemorrhoid treatment, and your doctor can help you find the best treatment for your individual diagnosis. If you are experiencing hemorrhoids, the first step to take is to see your regular doctor. You may also ask your doctor to refer you to a gastroenterologist, who has expertise in the digestive system, or to a colorectal surgeon for evaluation and treatment. You may also want to consult with your obstetrician or gynecologist if you are experiencing hemorrhoids postpartum or during pregnancy, or if they are a result of pelvic organ prolapse.
Your surgical specialist may recommend a colorectal exam for diagnostic purposes. The diagnostic process may include guidance for preparation and stages including gathering your medical history, physical examination, digital examination of the sphincter, and scope of the anal canal and lower part of the rectum. This process will help your specialist determine the best treatment for you.
How do hemorrhoid treatments work?
How a hemorrhoid treatment works depends on what kind of treatment it is. Our physicians offer in-office assessments to determine your best treatment. Lifestyle changes to treat hemorrhoids or the use of over-the-counter medications, creams or suppositories work to reduce swelling and bleeding. In-office or surgical treatments may use a form of surgical ligation – cutting off the flow of blood to the hemorrhoid, or surgical removal of the hemorrhoid.
Lifestyle changes and over-the-counter treatments
Often, with a milder case of hemorrhoids, lifestyle changes can relieve symptoms in as little as a week. Some changes your doctor might recommend for your lifestyle include adding more fiber to your diet, drinking more water, getting additional moderate exercise and avoiding sitting for long periods of time. You may also need to supplement your diet with stool softeners if you have trouble getting enough fiber. Maintaining these lifestyle changes will help prevent hemorrhoids from developing as well.
In addition to lifestyle changes, over-the-counter medications such as hemorrhoid creams and medicated pads can offer relief from symptoms. Rectal suppositories that contain hydrocortisone are also helpful.
Another home remedy that can provide relief from symptoms of hemorrhoids is a sitz bath. For a sitz bath, sit in about 3 inches of warm water for about 15 minutes at a time several times a day. This can be done in a bathtub, or by using a sitz bath that sits on your toilet seat for more convenience.
Lifestyle changes and over-the-counter remedies may not be able to completely clear up hemorrhoids. Other options include:
- Office-based ligation – Rubber-band ligation cuts off blood supply to the hemorrhoid, causing it to fall off.
- Surgical procedures – Not all hemorrhoids respond to ligation, so our team offers advanced surgery options to remove excess tissue or reduce the size of hemorrhoids.
What happens during hemorrhoid treatments?
When lifestyle changes and over-the-counter hemorrhoid treatments don’t help your hemorrhoids or relieve your symptoms, it may be time to see a specialist. The specialist may recommend an in-office or surgical treatment.
Why choose us for hemorrhoid treatments
The care teams at The University of Kansas Health System provide comprehensive assessment and develop the best hemorrhoid treatment plan for each patient. Our surgeons are fellowship-trained and have the most advanced training for evaluating patients' needs and performing the the right surgical treatment. As part of an academic medical center, our health system providers have access to the most innovative therapies in the treatment of hemorrhoids.
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