Approximately 75 percent of the population will have issues with hemorrhoids at some point in life.
Sometimes described as "varicose veins in the anal area," hemorrhoids are a common irritation often aggravated by bowel movements, constipation, and prolonged periods of sitting. External hemorrhoids are the ones most likely to be painful, while internal hemorrhoids are more likely to be noticed if they start to bleed since they are sometimes painless.
If you are not having success with topical medications or other self-care methods, you may be referred to a hemorrhoid specialist in Orange County for the following reasons.
1. You're Not Sure Why You Have Rectal Bleeding
External hemorrhoids are fairly easy to diagnose. However, internal ones can present some challenges since there are several possible reasons why you may be experiencing rectal bleeding. With situations like this, a specialist can perform a digital rectal exam (DRE) or a sigmoidoscopy with a flexible scope attached to a camera to view the affected area. A colonoscopy may be done to rule out colon cancer and related issues.
2. You Have Prolapsed Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids sometimes grow large enough to bulge outside of the anal sphincter. If this happens, it's called a prolapse. Discomfort is often more noticeable when making bowel movements if a prolapse has occurred. If the bulge does not subside on its own, a hemorrhoid specialist in Orange County may manually push it back into place and check for other tissue damage with a visual examination.
3. You Have a Strangulated or Thrombosed Hemorrhoid
Should the blood supply of an internal hemorrhoid gets cut off, it's what's termed a strangulated hemorrhoid. The lack of blood supply can result in extreme pain. With a thrombosed hemorrhoid, a blood clot forms inside of the hemorrhoid. This isn't something that's considered dangerous, but it can be painful enough to require the attention of a hemorrhoid specialist in Orange County. If pain and swelling is accompanied by a fever, you may have an area of infection referred to as an abscess. The most common treatment is an external thrombectomy to remove the clot. It's best when performed within the first three days of occurrence.
4. You Need Surgery for Your Hemorrhoids
Surgery is only required with about 10 percent of all hemorrhoids. It's more likely to become necessary if you have larger swollen veins, or if you have both internal and external hemorrhoids. Involving the placement of small elastic bands at the bottom of the inflamed tissue, rubber band ligation is the most common procedure performed. The swollen vein normally shrinks within a few weeks.
A hemorrhoid specialist in Orange County may suggest complete removal (hemorrhoidectomy) for larger or problematic hemorrhoids. While removal is a more invasive procedure, it's also considered the most effective way to reduce the risk of recurrence. Another option is to put the swollen tissues back in place with a procedure known as a stapled hemorrhoidopexy.
Not all irritations will require a visit to a hemorrhoid specialist in Orange County. But if you are experiencing any of the issues discussed here or you've reached a point where treatments suggested by your regular doctor aren't providing sufficient relief, a specialist can perform a more detailed examination, recommend additional symptom management options, or suggest an appropriate surgical procedure.