Dealing With Hemorrhoids

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD

Hemorrhoids.  Quite Common.

Hemorrhoids.  The stuff of jokes and derision.  (Look at the title of this piece. Everyone knows about donuts and hemorrhoids.  But if you do not know, read on and scroll down). For reasons unknown, people do not like talking publicly about them, especially in large, image-conscious cities like Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Hollywood.  Occasionally, a well known personage pops up in the news with an “attack” of hemorrhoids.  While hemorrhoids are uncommon in the public eye, proctologists, also known as colon and rectal surgeons or coloproctologists, see patients with hemorroids every day, and almost every hour.

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George Brett suffered through an episode of pain during game 2 of the 1980 World Series and eventually needed a hemorrhoidectomy. President Jimmy Carter reportedly suffered with the symptoms of hemorrhoids. Supposedly, notable men of the arts, such as Gustav Mahler, Anton Chekhov and Ernest Hemingway were afflicted.  Napoleon?  We think so. Supposedly, the word hemorrhoids was the top health related Google search term in 2012.  (And why do people feel the need to search silently on Google for hemorrhoids anyway?)

Hemorrhoids.  What Are They?

Interestingly, hemorrhoids are normal.  They are present at birth and grow as we grow.  They cushion our bowel movements during passage through the anal canal.  Hemorrhoids are composed of veins, arteries, connective tissue and nerves.  There are usually 3 major hemorrhoidal groups and several other minor groups.   They are described as internal or external, according to their anatomical relationships in the anal canal (and NOT according to whether they are “inside” or “outside”).

As we age, and for reasons unknown, hemorrhoids enlarge and may cause symptoms as the anorectal lining covering them stretches.  Here are a few of the symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Itching
  • Prolapse
  • Discharge
  • More pain, bleeding, itching, prolapse and prolapse.

So, What About The Donut?  Gravity Is Not Your Friend.

With symptoms, comes an attempt to stop the symptoms.  Home remedies consisting of ointments, creams, local measures such as warm tubs and even a few of mom’s home concoctions are tried.  Sometimes these help, and sometimes they don’t

On of the commonest devices used is the inflatable rubber donut, essentially a ring of rubber with a hole in the center, used in the mistaken belief that if the anal area is not pressing on anything, pain may disappear.  Wrong.  Actually, when sitting on a donut, there is no support for your anal area, and it “falls through” the center of the donut, worsening the pain or other symptoms. Donuts may be good (or not so good) for your hunger, but hemorrhoid donuts may worsen your symptoms.

Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates.

There are many tips and tricks that will help you.  However, it is wise to see a proctologist to be sure that your symptoms are truly due to hemorrhoids, and not anything more ominous. Your proctologist can also help you through the hemorrhoidal crisis and discuss treatment options tailored to your particular problems.  But, you need to take the first step and reach out.  At Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates, board certified physicians are available to talk with you and help you.  (310)273-2310.  Hemorrhoids are not funny.

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