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Hemorrhoid Pain: When to See a Doctor

Hemorrhoids are uncomfortable in more ways than one. Not only do they cause pain and itching, they also make you uneasy when it comes to talking about them, even to your doctor. 

While we understand that discussing your anus probably tops the list of your least favorite things, there are times when it becomes necessary, like when you have hemorrhoids. Fortunately, Dr. Ayub Hussein at Northside Gastroenterology Associates in the Houston, Texas, area, has seen and heard everything, so there’s no need to feel embarrassed. And about three fourths of American adults get hemorrhoids now and then, so you’re not alone.

Dr. Hussein understands the discomfort caused by the swollen, irritated veins in your anal area and is dedicated to helping you get instant and long-term relief. He treats your hemorrhoids with skill and experience, and treats you with dignity and respect. 

While some hemorrhoids are minor and resolve on their own, others can be quite serious. Either way, they’re no laughing matter. Here’re some important basics about hemorrhoids and signs that it’s time to have Dr. Hussein take a look.

Hemorrhoids 101

Hemorrhoids are nothing more than swollen blood vessels. They can occur inside your anal canal where you can’t see them, or at the opening of your anus where you can see and feel them. 

Anything that puts too much pressure on the veins in your lower rectal area can lead to hemorrhoids, which is why they are common in pregnant women and obese people. The extra weight places an inordinate amount of pressure and causes the veins to swell and bulge.

Other common causes include lifting heavy objects, straining during a bowel movement, chronic diarrhea, and anal sex.

What hemorrhoids look and feel like

If your hemorrhoids are internal, meaning they’re inside your anal canal, you may not even know you have them. Most people don’t experience any symptoms other than occasional light bleeding during a bowel movement. If you notice a few drops of bright red blood on the toilet paper, it might be an indication of internal hemorrhoids

But if your hemorrhoids are external, they appear outside your anus. They look like small lumps of swollen tissue, and may even come in a cluster. In fact, they were once called “piles” because they resemble a pile of marbles or grapes. External hemorrhoids typically cause pain and itching in the area, as well as bleeding.

When to see a doctor for your hemorrhoids

Mild hemorrhoids often heal on their own. If you’ve been constipated lately, that extra strain when you have a bowel movement may be the culprit. Drinking more water, exercising regularly, and adding more fiber to your diet may be all you need to resolve the issue.

Over-the-counter topical treatments and suppositories are helpful in reducing the inflammation and easing pain and itchiness, as can a sitz bath, a warm, shallow soaking vessel that fits over your toilet and cleanses and soothes your anus. 

But not all hemorrhoids are minor, and not all anal bleeding points to hemorrhoids, so it’s important to know when to stop self-treating and seek professional care. Here are some signs you should come in to see Dr. Hussein:

If you feel dizzy or lightheaded and your bleeding is heavy or ongoing, consider it an emergency and call 911 or have someone take you to the hospital immediately. 

Why is it so important to seek medical attention for hemorrhoids?

Complications from hemorrhoids aren’t common, but they are possible. If left untreated, they can result in anemia, a strangulated hemorrhoid (where the blood supply in that vein is cut off), or a blood clot.

The other reason to see Dr. Hussein for hemorrhoids is that you may not have hemorrhoids at all. Rectal bleeding is a classic hemorrhoid symptom, but it’s also a sign of other health conditions (some minor, some serious), so you need to know for sure what you’re dealing with. If it’s not hemorrhoids, your rectal bleeding may be a sign of:

Only an experienced medical professional like Dr. Hussein can diagnose these conditions and get you started on the proper treatment, so don’t ignore blood on the tissue. Contact us at either our Katy or Cypress, Texas, office today or book your appointment online to keep your backside on the safe side.

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