Hemorrhoids are probably going to be one of the easiest conditions for a doctor to diagnose. In most cases, they can do it simply by looking at your anus and asking a little bit about your medical history. Here, we want to take a look at how the diagnosis of hemorrhoids takes place, just so you get an understanding of what to expect when you visit your doctor.
When should you visit your doctor for a hemorrhoids diagnosis?
Honestly, you should do it as soon as you possibly can. We know that many of you should be able to spot that you have hemorrhoids on your own. This is fine. However, what you can’t spot is what is causing the hemorrhoids in the first place. They do not just pop up for no reason. You can deal with the hemorrhoids, but if you want to ensure that they do not return, you will need to work out why they appeared and then deal with that.
Your doctor is likely going to be able to give you treatments and solutions that you will not be able to obtain on your own too. This means that you will be eliminating the discomfort of the hemorrhoids sooner as opposed to later.
Your doctor will start by getting a brief overview of you. They are going to ask a lot of probing questions, so you need to ensure that you answer as honestly as possible. Remember; there is no need to be embarrassed around your doctor. They have heard it all. Plus, if you are not honest with them, there is no way that they will be able to offer you the correct treatment option.
They may ask about the following:
- Your eating habits. They may talk about the type of food that you are eating, perhaps how much fiber you are consuming too.
- Your symptoms. This is where most of the diagnosis is going to come from, short of actually looking at the hemorrhoids.
- Your toilet habits. This may include questions as to whether you are constipated or suffering from diarrhea etc.
- Whether you are suffering from any current medical conditions.
Your doctor should be able to diagnose the condition based on sight alone. They will look for the following:
- Lumps or swelling around the anus.
- External hemorrhoids having a blood clot.
- The ‘stage’ of the hemorrhoids. For example: if they are internal prolapsed hemorrhoids, are they ‘stuck’ outside of the anus, or can they push them back in? One is, of course, going to be far more serious than the other.
- Whether your stool is leaking out of your anus.
- Check if there is a mucus leaking out of your anus.
- Whether there is irritation of the skin in the area.
- Skin tags. This could indicate that there was an external hemorrhoid there before, but it has disappeared.
- Anal fissures. Again, these tend to come alongside hemorrhoids. These are going to cause a lot of pain, bleeding, and itching. They are just tiny tears in the skin.
At the same time, your doctor will check to see how toned the muscles in your anus are. If there are lumps, they will check to see how tender they are.
Internal hemorrhoids are going to be a tiny bit more difficult for your doctor to diagnose. Not impossible, just a bit more difficult. It is probably worth noting that there are some GPs that will not be able to diagnose internal hemorrhoids at their practice as they do not have the correct equipment. If this is the case, they will be able to refer you to somebody that can.
Some people find this procedure a little bit uncomfortable. Don’t worry, it is for your benefit! With an Anoscopy, your doctor will use an implement known as an ‘anoscope’ to analyze the interior of your anus. This is basically a long, hollow tube with a light on the end. They will be looking to see whether there are any small lumps or swelling within the anus. In some cases, they may also look further up into your digestive tract to see whether there is any reason as to why you may be suffering from hemorrhoids e.g. if there is an indication of bowel disease and the like.
It is unlikely that you will need anesthesia when you are undergoing an Anoscopy. However, if you are finding it too uncomfortable, then make sure that you talk to your doctor. They may be able to adjust their technique slightly to ensure that it is a bit more comfortable for you. Sadly, you are not going to get it to the point where it is 100% comfortable. There is a big tube being inserted into your rectum, after all! Thankfully, the procedure will only last a couple of minutes so it is not that much of an issue.
This is very much the same as an Anoscopy. The only difference is that the tube is going to be a bit of more rigid. Your doctor will also use this tube to see whether you have bowel disease and the like. The method that the doctor uses will be dependent on what they feel comfortable using. The end goal is the same; they will be able to tell you whether you are suffering from internal hemorrhoids or not!
Remember, as we mentioned previously, if you are dealing with any pain or swelling around the anus, then you will need to head to your doctor as soon as you can. And remember, there are natural treatments available. The quicker you head there, the easier the problem is going to be for you and your doctor to deal with. This means you can be out of pain sooner as opposed to later.