4 Questions to Ask Your Hemorrhoid Doctor
Hemorrhoids are when the veins or blood vessels in and around your anus and lower rectum become swollen and irritated. Get comprehensive and specialized diagnosis and treatment at Digestive Disease Care. For more information, contact us today or schedule an appointment online. We have convenient locations to serve you in Babylon NY, East Setauket NY, Forest Hills NY, Jamaica NY, Jericho NY, Lake Success NY, Melville NY, Mineola NY, Massapequa NY and New Hyde Park NY.
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If your hemorrhoids are externally located, your physician will most likely be able to see them with the naked eye. A visual inspection of external hemorrhoids would include the patient bending over and spreading the buttocks. If your hemorrhoids are internal, a number of exams may be performed. First, a visual inspection; in this case, a medical tool called an anoscope would be inserted into the rectum.
This is a hollow tube that allows a doctor to look inside the anus. A sigmoidoscopy may be used alternatively. This device is not open; instead, it is a flexible tube with a camera on the end that allows a doctor to view the colon on a screen. Finally, a digital exam may also be performed, in which a physician will insert a lubricated finger into the rectum to feel for hemorrhoids.
Generally, you don’t have to do anything to prepare for an appointment with a physician who will be checking for hemorrhoids. That said, there are some things you should do to make the experience optimal. It’s best to empty your bowels before an appointment takes place. However, since hemorrhoids are caused by excessive strain on the rectum during a bowel movement, you should be taking steps to soften your stool so as not to worsen hemorrhoids or cause more to develop. To do so, many dietary changes can be made. First and most importantly, make sure that you drink the recommended eleven-plus cups of water and consume enough fiber. Fiber can be found in high amounts in the following foods: broccoli, certain tree nuts and peanuts, apples, beans, avocados, and more. It would be best if you also showered or bathed after having a bowel movement.
Some patients may prefer to use an enema to ensure a clean and empty bowel, though this is unnecessary. You should not apply any lotions or creams before this appointment either. The assessment of hemorrhoids can be quite personal and may feel invasive, so if you are anxious, you should take the time beforehand to prepare yourself emotionally. Remember, this is a physician’s job, and you are entirely safe in their care. These concerns, along with any others, can be brought up in the appointment to put your mind at ease.
Hemorrhoids can occur either externally, outside the anal canal around the sphincter, or inside the anal canal. These are referred to as external hemorrhoids and internal hemorrhoids, respectively. Internal hemorrhoid size is classified by severity through a grading system. Hemorrhoids may be considered Grade 1, the least severe, up to Grade 4, the most severe. A Grade 1 internal hemorrhoid requires a tool to be used, such as an anoscope, to visualize the mass.
A Grade 2 hemorrhoid is more extensive and will extend out of the anus during a strenuous activity like a bowel movement or certain physical exercise. However, a Grade 2 hemorrhoid will naturally return inside the anus after these activities have concluded. The same occurs with a Grade 3 Hemorrhoid; however, it will not return to its original position inside the anal canal and requires manual repositioning.
A Grade 4 hemorrhoid is dangerous and very painful, as this hemorrhoid is so large that while its origin is within the canal, it extends outside of the sphincter. This does not occur with strain; instead, the hemorrhoid is always present outside the body and cannot be pushed back in. Typically, with a Grade 4 hemorrhoid, rectal prolapse also occurs, in which the lining of the rectum essentially falls out of the body with the hemorrhoid.
Hemorrhoids of a low grade are often able to dissipate on their own within a week, provided simple lifestyle changes are made so that it is not worsened. However, hemorrhoids of a larger size will likely need treatment. The same is said if you are experiencing mild hemorrhoids but continue to strain during bowel movements. A Grade 4 hemorrhoid is quite dangerous, as there is a risk of rectal prolapse, blood loss, and infection.
If you are experiencing hemorrhoids or are not sure if you are, please do not hesitate to contact our office to be seen by one of our highly specialized doctors as soon as possible. At Digestive Disease Care, we can diagnose and treat several conditions affecting the digestive organs, including the rectum. Call us today or book an appointment. We have convenient locations to serve you in Jamaica NY, Melville NY, New Hyde Park NY, Forest Hills NY, Jericho NY, Mineola NY, Lake Success NY, Babylon NY, East Setauket NY, Massapequa NY and BEYOND.
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