Most people agree that a visit to the doctor is due when home remedies for hemorrhoids do not work entirely.
Here’s a quick answer for those of us still confused about what kind of doctor to visit. You can consult a general physician for mild hemorrhoid problems. However, some symptoms may require the opinion of a gastroenterologist or even a proctologist in severe cases.
So, which doctor will suit your case? Here’s all you need to know!
What is the best doctor to see for hemorrhoids?
There’s no single medical discipline that qualifies as ‘the best doctor’ to see for hemorrhoids. The correct medical professional for your treatment will depend on the nature and severity of your hemorrhoids.
The ideal doctor should be the one that’s suited to treat your hemorrhoid condition. For instance, a general physician is enough to recommend lifestyle changes and dietary habits that may cure your hemorrhoids. For extreme cases, you may need to sit with a colorectal surgeon to perform advanced procedures like hemorrhoidectomy. For mild and minor cases of hemorrhoids, you can use home remedies to relieve the pain and reduce the inflammation.
However, consult a general doctor first for safety if you experience moderate and concerning symptoms like:
- Considerable anal pain
- Noticeable bleeding from your rectum or after a bowel movement
- Stiff and sensitive lumps in the anus
- A prolapsed hemorrhoid that causes extreme discomfort
What happens when you see a doctor for hemorrhoids?
The first doctor you see is usually your primary care physician. This doctor will examine your hemorrhoids and offer advice/prescriptions if the condition is not too severe. This advice may include a change in food habits, advice for physical demeanor, or medication that soothes the pain and swelling.
Your physician may refer you to a gastroenterologist if he feels that your hemorrhoids require a look by a specialist.
The gastroenterologist will further examine you or conduct tests to narrow down the causes. He may advise procedures like colonoscopy and other dedicated tests to diagnose the cause correctly. Gastroenterologists are specialists in your gut, ducts, gall bladder, etc. So he can identify the problem if a digestive problem is an issue. He may suggest non-surgical solutions like anal suppositories, medical wipes, hemorrhoid-treating ointments, etc.
If the gastroenterologist feels that your hemorrhoids require expert intervention, he may suggest a colorectal surgeon (a modern name for proctologists). This surgeon can conduct surgeries to fix the problem or formulate treatments to cure the hemorrhoids altogether.
How long does the initial exam last?
The initial exam with a primary care physician is a short meeting in most cases. It may be a short 10-15 minutes if the doctor is already familiar with your condition and medical history. Alternatively, it may last over an hour if he feels that a closer inspection is required.
First visits to a gastroenterologist or colorectal specialist may last longer than your visit to the general physician. That’s because they’ll spend more time trying to diagnose your hemorrhoids correctly.
If the colorectal specialist recommends surgery, the first sitting with him will take considerable time. The first time I sat with my surgeon, it was a moderately long session of answering questions and clarifying doubts.
How does the initial exam look like?
Initial exams with physicians involve some Q&A exchanges, including an inspection of your hemorrhoids to identify severity.
The doctor may ask you questions on discomfort, history, current condition, etc. And he’ll examine the affected area before prescribing medication. Initial meets with the gastroenterologist or colorectal surgeon will include lab tests, diagnostic tests, and a thorough examination of your condition.
So, expect to undergo some tests and physical inspection regardless of which doctor or specialist you visit.
The initial consultation will also reveal the suspected causes of your hemorrhoids. So, the physician or specialist will let you know the suspected causes, possible remedies, and risks involved in the treatment.
In my experience, initial examinations are always relaxed and a breeze to go through.
How do I prepare for the hemorrhoid exam?
Here are some preparatory actions you can take to make your hemorrhoid exam more accurate, comfortable, and quick.
- Cleanse the affected area with medical wipes or home remedies.
- Follow the doctor’s advice on preparatory measures. For instance, your physician may advise you to ensure bowel movement before the exam to ensure an effective enema.
- Prepare questions, doubts, and fears you may have about the condition or the expected procedure. Whip the list out and ask away when you meet the doctor.
- Wear simple clothing that’s easy to remove or put back on. You may need to change into a medical gown on arrival.
- Make a note of when the hemorrhoids began, what you’re experiencing, and the home treatments you’ve tried so far. Being ready with this information will make things easier when the doctor tries to grill you with answers.
- Keep your medical history ready. Take a record of all your past treatments, procedures, or medication doses (if you’re taking any).
- Stay mentally prepared to communicate clearly with your doctor and expect diagnostic tests.
Does it hurt when doctors check for hemorrhoids?
In my experience, the examination and inspection do not hurt at all. So, relax and wait for it if you’re a squeamish patient.
However, there are some examination procedures that cause discomfort. For instance, an enema feels odd and unusual if it’s your first time. Also, the doctor may use instruments like the proctoscope, which enters your rectum and allows the physician to visually examine the condition.
All in all, you need not fear any pain. Most doctors practice care and gentle probing when dealing with first-time patients.
So, what kind of doctor treats hemorrhoids? It may be any doctor ranging from your everyday physician to surgical specialists, depending on your hemorrhoid’s condition. Prepare ahead with the tips mentioned above to make the most of your visit and contribute towards an efficient and accurate diagnosis.
Mild cases of hemorrhoids may not even require a visit to the doctor. See what home remedies like Epsom salt baths can do to help with hemorrhoids at home.