Hemorrhoid causes, symptoms, and treatment FAQ

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Get answers for hemorrhoid relief in DuPage County and the Chicago area

Our patients have many questions before they come to Midwest Center for Colorectal Health. So, we created this FAQ that discusses hemorrhoid causes, symptoms, treatments, and more. If you have a question that's not listed below, please call our Wheaton clinic at 630-871-1800 and we'll be happy to answer it.

1. What are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels located in the lower part of the bowel. They can be either internal or external. Many patients have both types. Symptoms frequently associated with hemorrhoids can include irritation, pain, itching and full feeling after a bowel movement. Patients may also see bright red blood on the tissue paper or in the toilet bowl.

2. Where do hemorrhoids come from?

Hemorrhoids are due to repeated pressure in the veins of the rectum. This can be caused by constipation, pregnancy and childbirth, heavy lifting, obesity, or prolonged sitting. Constipation may be caused by a low fiber, high fat diet.

3. Who gets hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids can affect both women and men of all ages, increasing in occurrence after age 30. As many as 50% of all Americans over age 50 will have experienced hemorrhoids.

4. What is hemorrhoid banding?

Using a syringe, a small rubberband is placed around the tissue above the hemorrhoid, cutting off the blood supply. This causes it to shrink and fall off in approximately one to five days. Most patients do not even realize when this has occurred.

5. Will the banding hurt?

Using the technology available, the placement of the band is pain free. Some patients experience a sense of fullness or a dull ache in the rectum for in the first 24 hours, although this is generally relieved by over-the-counter pain medication. Multiple studies of the banding technique have shown 99.1% of patients experience no significant post-procedural pain.

6. How many different bands will I need?

Hemorrhoids can only form in three sites within the rectum. Often, patients will require treatment for hemorrhoids in three sites. Dr. Drost generally only bands one hemorrhoid site per visit because multiple bandings have been found to increase complications. Some extremely large hemorrhoids may require additional banding sessions.

7. Are you able to remove external hemorrhoids?

Many symptoms patients experience are from engorged internal hemorrhoids or anal fissures. When the internal hemorrhoids are banded and shrink, the external hemorrhoids usually do as well. Many times this alone will relieve the symptoms of pain and bleeding. After hemorrhoid banding is completed, a skin tag may remain. These tags often do not cause any symptoms. An acute blood clot of an external hemorrhoid can be very painful and may require drainage. Dr. Drost offers skin tag removal and drainage of thrombosed hemorrhoids if needed.

8. How will this affect my work or other activities?

The first appointment with Dr. Drost is usually the longest. A consultation will be performed, your medical history reviewed and a diagnosis of your problems and treatment plan will be formulated. This visit may take as long as an hour. Future visits are usually only 15-30 minutes. After a hemorrhoid banding procedure, Dr. Drost recommends that you refrain from vigorous activities the rest of the day, resuming activity the next day. Most patients with office jobs are able to return to work following their appointment.

9. Do creams and home remedies work?

Over the counter creams and suppositories to treat hemorrhoids are meant to give temporary relief for common symptoms like as pain and itching. These remedies do not treat the problem, they only help with the symptoms. They do not decrease the size of the hemorrhoid, cause it to go away or keep it from growing larger. The only permanent cure for recurrent symptoms is to remove or destroy the hemorrhoid.

10. What is the difference between a hemorrhoid and an anal fissure?

Many of the symptoms that patients experience such as pain, itching and bleeding can be symptoms of both hemorrhoids or anal fissures. Because of this, patients may self-diagnose themselves incorrectly. It is important to always consult a physician for a proper diagnosis. Because bleeding can also be a symptom of colorectal cancer, it is important to rule out other problems as well.

11. How much will hemorrhoid banding cost?

Please call our office at 630-871-1800 for the most up-to-date pricing on the services you may require. Our office currently accepts most major insurance plans including Medicare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield Illinois, United Healthcare, Aetna, Cigna and Humana which cover hemorrhoid banding, anal fissure treatment and removal of tags.

12. Do I have an increased risk of cancer if I have hemorrhoids?

No, your risk for colorectal cancer is not increased by the presence of hemorrhoids. Because rectal bleeding can be present in both conditions, it is important to make sure colorectal cancer is not the cause. Additional diagnostic procedures, such as flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy may be recommended by Dr. Drost. Research has shown 2.3% of patients with bleeding hemorrhoids may also have colorectal cancer.

13. Does insurance pay for hemorrhoid banding?

Hemorrhoid banding, anal fissure treatment and colorectal cancer screening is covered by most major insurance plans including Medicare. Insurance coverage varies, so please call our office for assistance with your specific policy at 630-871-1800.

14. Where is your colorectal clinic located?

Midwest Center for Colorectal Health is located at 721 E Roosevelt Road Wheaton, IL 60187 (map).