Hemorrhoids are not severe, but they can be bothersome and affect your quality of life if they are not treated timely. If you have signs of hemorrhoids like anal pain, swelling, itchiness, rectal bleeding, or pain during bowel movement, seek advice from experienced gastroenterologists at Manhattan Gastroenterology regarding your gastric issues. They will help you understand why hemorrhoids form, how long do they last and provide you with clear information on what you can do to deal with them without suffering too much pain. The top-rated physicians NYC also recommend effective treatment options, as well as home remedies to deal with hemorrhoids, prevent them from coming back, and get rid of them altogether.

Hemorrhoids NYC

Hemorrhoids are a common condition, and a large population suffers from them due to several lifestyle and health factors. They can affect anyone, regardless of age and gender, but are more likely to affect the elderly, pregnant women, people with gastrointestinal conditions, and those with a family history of hemorrhoids.

Also known as piles, hemorrhoids are enlarged and swollen veins outside of the anus or in the lower rectum. The rectum is the last part of the bowel that leads to the anus, the opening at the end of the bowel where waste matter leaves the body. You must make an effort to understand your condition, what you are going through and how long it is expected to last to take good care of yourself and avoid any resulting complications.

There Are Two Types of Hemorrhoids

  • Internal hemorrhoids – These appear inside the lower rectum and are not visible to the naked eye. This type of hemorrhoid may not cause any pain or irritation, but other symptoms indicate their presence.
  • External hemorrhoids – They appear on the outside of the anus and cause pain and discomfort.

Consulting with an experienced doctor is the best way to get answers to your questions and seek relief from a potentially dangerous situation.

Symptoms of Hemorrhoids

Knowing if you have hemorrhoids is the first step to treating them. The most commonly experienced symptoms of hemorrhoids include:

  • Anal pain
  • Pain during bowel movements
  • Rectal bleeding (you may notice blood after you wipe or in the toilet)
  • Itchiness
  • Swelling around the anus

These symptoms could also point to some other serious conditions, like anal cancer or polyps. Hemorrhoids also have many symptoms in common with anal fissures, which occur when the skin around the anus gets torn. Anal fissures are a lot more painful than hemorrhoids. If you are not sure if it is hemorrhoids or something else, it is best to seek a doctor to rule out an underlying medical issues, particularly, if you are above 50, and seek timely treatment.

How Long Do Hemorrhoids Last?

The answer to this question is not a simple one. How long hemorrhoids will last vary from person to person. Generally, small hemorrhoids can go away on their own in a few days. On the other hand, larger hemorrhoids, especially those that cause a lot of pain, swelling, and itchiness cannot go away on their own, and they require proper treatment and medication. Pregnant women can get rid of hemorrhoids once they have given birth.

There is also a possibility that your hemorrhoids will come back after some time, even after treatment. It is a common problem faced by many people, but it can be managed with a gastroenterologist’s help. The experts recommend lifestyle and dietary changes to provide relief from the disturbing symptoms.

Risk factors for severe or recurring hemorrhoids include:

  • Lack of fiber in your diet
  • Obesity or overweight
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic constipation
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Aging muscles
  • Sitting on the toilet for too long
  • Straining hard while having a bowel movement
  • Frequent anal intercourse
  • Excessive use of enemas or laxatives

Some of these risk factors can also make it difficult for hemorrhoids to heal if you are not careful and make the problem persist for longer than usual. It is essential to focus on the risk factors to avoid the pain and discomfort associated with hemorrhoids.

How to Prevent Hemorrhoids

It is not always possible to prevent hemorrhoids from occurring, but you can reduce your chances of getting them with some lifestyle modifications and prevention tips.

You can prevent hemorrhoids by:

  • Eating more fiber – Increase the intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet to ease the digestive process. If you have trouble changing your diet due to any health reason, consult your doctor regarding a fiber supplement that will work for you.
  • Increase your water intake – Drinking more water is good for you in more than one way. Not only will it keep the body hydrated, but it will also keep the stool soft, helping it pass easily.
  • Cut down your time on the toilet – Sitting on the toilet for too long increases the pressure in the veins in your rectum and anus, leading to hemorrhoids. Avoid staying on the toilet seat for any longer than you need to. Remove your phone and any books, or magazines you keep in the toilet to cut your time.
  • Seek doctor’s help for constipation – If you face difficulty with bowel movements or experience constipation frequently, consult your doctor to manage your constipation and prevent straining, which can lead to the development of hemorrhoids.
  • Go to the toilet when the urge hits – You can prevent the formation of hemorrhoids by visiting the loo when you feel the urge. Delaying bowel movements can also exert pressure on the veins in the rectum and anus, which results in hemorrhoids.
  • Stay physically active – Staying active can keep the bowels moving. Sitting in one place for too long or reclining can affect the blood flow in the area, preventing it from moving at its expected rate. This condition is known as the pooling of blood within the vessels which results in hemorrhoids. Exercise can also help you lose the excess pounds that may contribute to hemorrhoids.
  • Only take doctor’s recommended laxatives – Avoid taking laxatives or enemas on your own as they can irritate the lining of your digestive tract and make it hard for your body to regulate the bowel movement. Take laxatives or use enemas that have been recommended by your doctor.

Hemorrhoids Treatment – How to Find Relief from Hemorrhoids

Many different treatment options can help you seek comfort from distressing hemorrhoids.
Smaller hemorrhoids can be treated successfully at home with a combination of lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications.

The following can help you ease the discomfort caused by hemorrhoids:

  • Taking a sitz bath – A sitz bath involves sitting in a warm, shallow bath for about 10 to 15 minutes to enhance the blood flow and keep the perianal area clean. You can find a bath kit or apparatus that fits and can be directly attached to the toilet seat for this. You can also use a regular bathtub for the purpose.
  • Use an icepack – you can use an icepack to seek relief from the irritation and pain and shrink the external hemorrhoids.
  • Use a donut cushion – Also known as a tailbone cushion, a donut-shaped cushion helps reduce the pressure on your tailbone when you are sitting. It can alleviate the pain and uneasiness of people who spend most of their time sitting at a desk or driving long distances.
  • Over-the-counter medications – oral pain relievers include ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin.
  • Creams and ointments are also available that can help to reduce the pain, swelling, and itching associated with hemorrhoids

When to See a Doctor for Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are reason enough to call up your doctor and schedule an appointment. A visit to the doctor becomes necessary if you experience the following:

  • The hemorrhoids are turning painful
  • Rectal bleeding occurs during a bowel movement
  • The stool is turning black or red
  • The problem persists despite the use of over-the-counter remedies

Symptoms of hemorrhoids that do not go away after a week of home remedies need a doctor. Bleeding indicates a burst hemorrhoid which is a serious condition, and it can lead to excessive blood loss, dizziness, faintness, or even shock.

It may be difficult and even embarrassing for you to talk to a doctor about gastrointestinal issues but seeking professional help is essential to avoid complications. Only a trained and experienced physician can help to find the best solution for your health conditions, prevent further problems and ensure lasting relief.

Doctor’s Recommended Treatment

Doctors can recommend treatments and procedures to reduce or remove hemorrhoids that do not go away with home remedies. Some of these procedures can take place in a doctor’s clinic, do not usually require anesthesia, and cause minimal inconvenience.

Your doctor may recommend the following:

  • Medicated creams – If over-the-counter creams and ointments do not work, the doctor may prescribe stronger creams and gels to relieve the pain and inflammation.
  • External hemorrhoid thrombectomy – If the painful blood clot or thrombosis has formed within external hemorrhoid, your doctor can remove hemorrhoid for prompt relief. This procedure is done under local anesthesia and works best when done within 72 hours of developing a clot.
  • Rubber band ligation – one or two tiny rubber bands are placed around the base of internal hemorrhoid to cut off its circulation. The hemorrhoid withers and falls off within a week. Hemorrhoid banding can be uncomfortable and cause bleeding, but it is not severe.
  • Sclerotherapy – a chemical solution is injected into the hemorrhoid tissue to shrink it. The injection causes little or no pain, but it may be less effective than rubber band ligation.
  • Coagulation (infrared, laser, or bipolar) – this technique uses laser or infrared light or heat. It causes small, bleeding internal hemorrhoids to harden and shrivel. Coagulation has few side effects and usually causes little discomfort.

When other treatments and procures do not work, you have a large external hemorrhoid, both internal and external hemorrhoids, or internal hemorrhoid that has popped out through the anus, the doctor may recommend surgery.

Removal of Hemorrhoids Through Surgery

Surgical treatments may become necessary to remove the hemorrhoids and provide relief from painful symptoms. They include:

  • Hemorrhoidectomy – During a hemorrhoidectomy, hemorrhoid and surrounding tissue are removed via a small incision, which is usually closed up with stitches afterward. The procedure is performed in an operating room with either localized or general anesthesia. This procedure has a high success rate.
  • Hemorrhoidopexy – Also known as hemorrhoid stapling, it removes internal hemorrhoid or pulls a prolapsed internal hemorrhoidal tissue back inside the anus and holds it there.

The pain and itchiness from the hemorrhoids should go away after surgery. There may be some pain in the anal area, but it will go away with medications and time. Follow the doctor’s instructions, and you will get able to back to your normal activities within 1 to 2 week

If left untreated, hemorrhoids can cause a great deal of pain and distress. They can be successfully managed with the right treatment and prevented from recurring by making the required lifestyle and dietary changes. If you are concerned about your hemorrhoids, or they do not seem to be improving with over-the-counter treatments, consult award-winning gastroenterologists at Manhattan Gastroenterology to get the best solution for your discomfort. Experienced and board-certified doctors use the latest technological advancements and research to come up with the best solutions to relieve your hemorrhoids and prevent them from coming back. They evaluate your symptoms and come up with effective treatment plan depending on the severity of your condition.

Updated on Sep 14, 2023 by Dr. Shawn Khodadadian (Gastroenterologist) of Manhattan Gastroenterology