Embarrassed by Your Hemorrhoids?

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD

A quick online search turns up many people suffering from painful and annoying anal itching and burning, all looking for assurance their hemorrhoid symptoms will go away on their own instead of having to face a doctor. We get it – hemorrhoids are embarrassing.

As it turns out, most people feel the same way you do – but it’s also important to understand why seeing a doctor is important when you experience symptoms of piles, especially rectal bleeding.

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Understanding the Embarrassment

We just don’t talk about problems “back there” in polite conversation. You’ve probably never discussed your hemorrhoids or other concerns with your closest friends. Why would you want a stranger, your doctor, to have a look “down there”?  It’s a common problem, and one reason people suffer through painful and distracting symptoms for so long.

There are several reasons to overcome your embarrassment and see a doctor, including:

It Might Not Be Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids share symptoms with many other conditions and problems. This includes everything from anal fissures to colon or rectal cancer. Getting a correct diagnosis is important, especially to rule out more sinister conditions.

Your Doctor Can Offer Symptom Relief

If you are reading this, you probably know far more than you want to about the painful itching and burning of hemorrhoids, as well as other symptoms. Using over the counter products and tricks you find online can actually make things worse. Your doctor can offer advice on easing the pain and helping heal your piles sooner. In some cases, we can offer almost instant relief during in-office procedures.

Serious Complications Can Occur

In some cases, hemorrhoids can cause serious complications. If they become thrombosed, hemorrhoids can burst. Thrombosed hemorrhoids or infected piles both require immediate medical attention. Getting the care you need quickly allows your doctor to treat them in a minimally invasive way, getting you relief faster.

Your Doctor Has Seen It Before

Your doctor has years of education and training under their belt, and a big part of this deals with handling all sorts of embarrassing situations in a discreet and caring way. Because of federal law, your doctor cannot tell anyone outside of their practice about your condition without your approval. A well-trained doctor will also be able to put you at-ease before and during your exam, and most people find that they had nothing to worry about.

It may also help to know your doctor is used to looking at hemorrhoids, and they’ve likely seen cases worse than yours. Piles are one of the most common medical complaints, meaning your primary care physician probably sees cases every month. If you see a specialist, your proctologist probably sees hundreds of cases every month come through their practice. These proctologists also treat symptoms of ruptured hemorrhoids on a regular basis.

Knowing What to Expect Can Make It Easier

In some cases, just knowing what to expect can make it easier to face your doctor at an appointment for your hemorrhoids.

Your doctor will take your history and ask about your symptoms. They will want to know how long you’ve had symptoms, and how much they interfere with your daily activities. They will ask if this has happened before, and you need to be honest with them to get the best treatment.

The doctor will likely have a good idea of whether you have hemorrhoids based on this conversation, but they will still need to conduct an exam. This may include:

  • For external hemorrhoids, this will likely include an external visual exam.
  • To visualize internal hemorrhoids, your doctor will likely insert a small anoscope that allows them to see the tissue just inside the anus. This should be painless and takes only a few seconds.

Make the Appointment and See Your Doctor

The best way to get an accurate diagnosis and the relief you need for your hemorrhoid symptoms is to see your doctor. We understand this is not an appointment you will look forward to, but there are many reasons why seeing a doctor is the best option for your health.

If you’re still too embarrassed to see your primary care physician about your symptoms, you may want to consider a specialist. Knowing a proctologist sees dozens of cases a week may ease your worry. If you’re in southern California, Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates offer compassionate and discreet care, and can help you get relief as soon as possible.

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