Frequently Asked Questions about Hemorrhoids
General Hemorrhoid Questions
Hemorrhoids are cushions of tissue containing swollen blood vessels located in the lower rectum or anus. There are two types of hemorrhoids: internal and external. Depending on the location, hemorrhoid symptoms may include:
- A feeling of fullness following a bowel movement
- Bright red blood covering your stool, on the toilet tissue or in the toilet bowl
It is possible to have both internal and external hemorrhoids at the same time.
Internal hemorrhoids are located inside the rectum. The most common symptom resulting from internal hemorrhoids is bleeding. These hemorrhoids should not cause any pain or discomfort and you typically will not be able to see internal hemorrhoids, unless they are more severe and prolapse or fall down and protrude through the anal opening during a bowel movement.
External hemorrhoids may still be located inside the anal canal, but may also be visible under the skin around the anus. Unlike internal hemorrhoids, they are located in a more sensitive area, so can cause pain. The most common symptoms associated with external hemorrhoids are:
- Mild, but consistent, itching around the rectal area.
- Pain around the anal area, ranging from mild to severe.
- Swelling around the anus.
Thrombosed external hemorrhoids occur when a blood clot forms within an external hemorrhoid. This typically results in acute pain and swelling and the lump around the anus will become hard.
Hemorrhoids are caused by an increase in pressure in the veins of the rectum. This increased pressure can result from things such as pregnancy, heavy lifting or long periods of sitting. Other causes of hemorrhoids include constipation or diarrhea, so a diet low in fiber and high in fat should be avoided.
Chronic constipation and diarrhea may also cause you to spend extended periods of time on the commode. This excessive straining can also be a cause of hemorrhoids. It is recommended to spend no longer than two minutes on the toilet at a time. If you are constipated, this may mean getting up before you feel like you are done and coming back at a later time. For others, this may mean not bringing a book or smartphone to the bathroom with them!
Hemorrhoids are extremely common, with over half of the population suffering from hemorrhoid symptoms by age 50 and 75% of the population at some point in their lifetime. Hemorrhoids affect both men and women and the incidence of hemorrhoids increases after age 30. Many women will develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy or after childbirth.
The most common hemorrhoid symptoms are itching, bleeding, pain, swelling and prolapse (hemorrhoid tissue protruding from the anus). Some patients with more severe hemorrhoids may also experience fecal leakage.
It is important to note that some hemorrhoid symptoms are similar to symptoms of other diseases, so self-diagnosis may be incorrect. For example, pain can be a result of an anal fissure rather than (or in addition to) hemorrhoids.
Most importantly, rectal bleeding, which is a very common hemorrhoid symptom, is also a symptom of colorectal cancer. It is important to speak with a qualified physician if you are experiencing any rectal symptoms so that you can receive accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan. If you are over 40 or have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may be advised to undergo a cancer screening procedure.
An anal fissure is a tear in the tissue of the anus, often caused or worsened by extended periods of diarrhea or hard stool.
Anal pain, itching and rectal bleeding are symptoms of both hemorrhoids and anal fissures. As a result, it’s possible for people to incorrectly self-diagnose themselves. Always consult a physician for a proper diagnosis. Because bleeding is also a symptom of colorectal cancer, it’s important to consult with a physician in order to rule out other problems as well.
No. Hemorrhoids do not increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer. But since both conditions can produce rectal bleeding as a symptom, it’s important to determine whether cancer may also be present. Because of this fact, it is recommended that you see a doctor right away if you are experiencing any rectal symptoms. Your physician may recommend further diagnostic procedures, such as flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Research shows that up to 2.3% of patients with bleeding hemorrhoids may also have colorectal cancer.
Questions about Treating Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoid creams and suppositories can be a good option to get temporary relief for symptoms such as pain and itching. Unfortunately, they require consistent application over a period of time to see any prolonged relief and while they may temporarily mask symptoms, they cannot shrink the hemorrhoid, stop it from growing larger or make it go away so the underlying issue will persist. Many people try hemorrhoids ointments/creams only to have their symptoms recur days, weeks or even months later. For that reason, people will often opt for more permanent options if ointments and suppositories are not able to provide long lasting relief.
Like hemorrhoid creams, other at-home hemorrhoid treatments such as apple cider vinegar and sitz baths only temporarily relieve symptoms rather than fixing the cause of the symptoms. Ultimately, the only permanent cure for recurrent symptoms is the destruction or removal of the hemorrhoid itself.
Hemorrhoid surgery is often a last resort for patients as it is invasive, expensive and the recovery is long and painful. Thankfully, with the CRH O’Regan System®, there is a painless, non-surgical alternative that can keep all but 1% of patients away from surgery. Search for a qualified physician in your area to get on your way to relief.
There are also a number of methods to treat hemorrhoids at home that provide temporary relief while you wait for treatment that will resolve your symptoms permanently. These include ointments/creams as well as other at-home remedies.
Questions about the CRH O’Regan System
Rubber band ligation is the most frequently used non-surgical treatment for hemorrhoids in the world and has been performed by physicians since the 60s. However, not all banding procedures are the same. Traditional banding techniques use a metal-toothed clamp to grasp the tissue and are usually painful for patients. Patients also need to be sedated for these techniques, so they are required to take the day off work and have someone drive them to and from the procedure.
Conversely, the CRH O’Regan System® uses a gentle suction device, reducing the risk of pain and bleeding. In fact, the procedure is painless for more than 99% of patients. The procedure takes only a minute to perform and most patients return to work the same day. The CRH O’Regan System® was approved by the FDA for the treatment of hemorrhoids in 1997 and over one million procedures have been performed by thousands of qualified physicians across the country.
Your first appointment will probably be the longest, as it usually involves a consultation, obtaining a medical history, making a diagnosis of your problems and formulating a treatment plan. We suggest you allot up to an hour. Subsequent treatment sessions will be shorter, around 15-30 minutes total. After a hemorrhoid banding procedure, we recommend that you refrain from vigorous activities the rest of the day and resume full activity the next day. Most patients with office jobs find they can return to work immediately following their appointment.
No. Thanks to our improved instruments and technique, band placement is painless. You may experience a feeling of fullness or dull ache in the rectum for the first 24 hours, but this can generally be relieved by over-the-counter pain medication. Multiple studies of our banding technique show that 99.1% of patients experience no significant post-procedural pain. This is because the devices uses a gentle suction to grasp the desired tissue and because we place the band in an area with no nerve endings.
Please call the office where you would like to be treated for the most up-to-date pricing on the services you may require. Hemorrhoid banding with the CRH O’Regan System® is covered by most major insurance plans including Medicare. cover hemorrhoid banding, anal fissure treatment and colorectal cancer screening.
Most major insurance plans, including Medicare, cover hemorrhoid banding, anal fissure treatment and colorectal cancer screening. However, as insurance coverage varies, please call the office where you would like to be treated for assistance with your specific policy.
A respected laparoscopic surgeon, Dr. O’Regan invented our patented disposable device to improve the hemorrhoid banding procedure for patients and physicians. It was cleared by the FDA for the treatment of hemorrhoids in 1997. Prior to retiring, Dr. Patrick J. O’Regan was the Head of Minimally Invasive Surgery at the Department of Surgery, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Saudi Arabia and previous to that, he was a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
There are thousands of qualified physicians utilizing the CRH O’Regan Hemorrhoid Banding System. Enter your address to search for a practice in your area and get on your way to relief today!