Nearly 75% of adults develop hemorrhoids at some point, making them one of the most common digestive conditions. And while you can develop swollen veins in your anus or lower rectum without noticeable symptoms, they can become quite painful.
In fact, four million adults seek out medical care in hopes of finding hemorrhoid relief each year in the United States alone. And some of those visits involve the emergency room.
Thankfully, lifestyle changes and minimally invasive treatments can help you do away with hemorrhoid challenges without the hassles or risks of surgery.
Here’s a closer look at hemorrhoid pain, including helpful nonsurgical treatments.
Hemorrhoids are a lot like varicose veins, the swollen and potentially throbbing veins that appear on your legs. Because they’re located in sensitive tissues involved with bowel movements, any pain can become quite intense.
External hemorrhoids – in the skin surrounding your anus – tend to be the most symptomatic, causing pain and additional symptoms, such as:
The blood may appear as red streaks or spots on toilet paper after you wipe. If the blood pools up and forms a clot, you might notice a hard lump near your anus and more severe pain and swelling.
Internal hemorrhoids, which sit inside the rectum, tend to be less noticeable. That said, straining during bowel movements can lead to bleeding without any pain. Straining could also cause an internal hemorrhoid to push through your anal opening, resulting in irritation.
Hemorrhoid surgery is typically reserved for severe symptoms that fail to respond to more conservative treatments.
Lifestyle remedies that may help relieve your pain include:
If your symptoms don’t improve within a week, you may be a good candidate for hemorrhoidal embolization.
Hemorrhoidal embolization reduces blood flow to your internal hemorrhoids, which causes them to shrink and stop bleeding.
During the procedure, Dr. Golowa inserts a thin catheter in a blood vessel in your groin. Using an X-ray known as fluoroscopy, he then guides the catheter to the affected rectal artery. From there, he places tiny gel particles, platinum coils, or both into the artery’s ends to seal them.
This whole process takes about 45 minutes, during which you’ll be sedated and comfortable. Once the sedation wears off, you can return to work and likely expect to get back to your usual activities the following day.
From then on, you should feel better. One study showed that hemorrhoidal embolization holds a 95% success rate.
To learn more about hemorrhoid treatments or to get started toward the relief you need, call our office or book an appointment with Dr. Golowa through our website today.