How to Get Rid of Hemorrhoids: Diagnosis and Treatments

Most individuals who have hemorrhoids discover them by either

  • feeling the lump of an external hemorrhoid when they wipe themselves after a bowel movement,
  • noting drops of blood in the toilet bowl or on the toilet paper, or
  • feeling a prolapsing hemorrhoid (protruding from the anus) after bowel movements.
With a history of symptoms, a physician can begin diagnosis on the basis of a careful examination of the anus and anal canal. Although the physician should try his or her best to identify the hemorrhoids, it is perhaps more important to exclude other causes of hemorrhoid-like symptoms that require different treatment such as

  • anal fissures,
  • fistulae,
  • perianal (around the anus) skin diseases,
  • infections, and
  • tumors.

Seeing a Doctor About Hemorrhoids

Many people are embarrassed to go to their doctor about their hemorrhoid problems, which is probably why only an estimated 4% of people see the doctor even if 75% of us experience enlarged hemorrhoids at some point in time. Despite the embarrassment, hemorrhoids should always be examined professionally. Getting a medical exam will help your doctor recommend an effective treatment, and will also rule out more serious causes for your symptoms.

When you visit your doctor, you will probably be asked to describe your symptoms. The doctor will perform an examination to see whether your anus is inflamed, and whether enlarged hemorrhoids are present.

The doctor will want to know if you have found blood in your stool, which may prompt a bowel endoscopy examination. The doctor will likely feel for anything unusual through a digital rectal examination.

Remember that while this might be a little embarrassing and uncomfortable, hemorrhoid exams are usually painless. Also, your doctor is accustomed to caring for this sort of problem, which is very common.

If you seem to have enlarged hemorrhoids, the doctor will probably recommend a proctoscopy. During a proctoscopy, a short tube with light and a lens will be used to examine the membranes lining your rectum. This will let your doctor see the enlarged hemorrhoids and determine their size. Again, this procedure is usually painless.

Hemorrhoid Treatment: Over-the-Counter Medications

Products used to treat hemorrhoids are available as

  • ointments,
  • creams,
  • gels,
  • suppositories,
  • foams, and
  • pads.
When used around the anus, ointments, creams, and gels should be applied as a thin covering. When applied to the anal canal, these products should be inserted with a finger or a "pile pipe." Pile pipes are most efficient when they have holes on the sides as well as at the end. Pile pipes should be lubricated with ointment prior to insertion. Suppositories or foams do not have advantages over ointments, creams, and gels.