Tag Archives: Infrared coagulation

This Was Minnesota’s Most Googled Health Condition of 2018 | Minnesota

When you think of medical conditions or illnesses related to Minnesotans, you may assume something along the lines of frostbite, pneumonia, dry skin, or just anything related to the state’s extremely cold winters. However, a study of the most frequently Googled health condition in every US state in the past year revealed that the Land of 10,000 Lakes is most concerned about…hemorrhoids.

Credit: Medicare Health Plans

According to Patch, Medicare Health Plans first tapped Google Trends to identify the most-searched medical terms overall, then added conditions for a second search to find out which states had the highest search volume for each medical condition.

Despite hemorrhoids coming in number one for Minnesota, it doesn’t necessarily indicate a high prevalence of hemorrhoids amongst Minnesotans. A higher search rate for a specific condition may simply show “what people in a specific area are most concerned about regarding their health or the health of a loved one.” For example, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was the most Googled condition in nine states, but this doesn’t signify that ADHD is vastly prevalent in all nine states.

But it’s clear that Minnesotans ARE concerned about hemorrhoid care and hemorrhoid prevention. At One Stop Medical Center, we offer a range of treatment options tailored to each patient’s needs. For more information on hemorrhoid care, please contact us at (952) 922-2151, or visit our Edina office at 6545 France Avenue South, Suite 290.

 

How Botox Can Help Treat Your Chronic Anal Fissure | Minnesota

While Botox is often associated with battling wrinkles and fine lines on the face, the medication can actually be used in your…anal region. But not for cosmetic purposes, of course.

The muscle-relaxing effects of botulinum toxin can do wonders for patients suffering from painful anal fissures, an anorectal condition that produces sharp rectal pain during bowel movements due to a tear in the anal canal. Typically caused by hard bowel movements or a lack of dietary fiber, fissures usually resolve on their own after responding positively to increased fiber intake, stool softeners, ointments and sitz baths. However, when a fissure fails to heal within six weeks (thereby becoming a chronic fissure), a Botox injection is most likely the preferred plan of attack.

Because Botox blocks the release of acetylcholine, a chemical that causes muscles to contract, injecting it into the muscle surrounding the anus will relax those muscles and reduce tension. Not only does this decrease pain and discomfort, but it also improves blood flow to the fissure, helping it heal more quickly and naturally.

Requiring no anesthetic and only a few minutes on the exam table, the Botox procedure involves 6-8 consecutive injections into the sphincter muscle using a hair-thin needle. And then, you’re done! Patients can simply head home and wait for the Botox to start working after 2-3 days. There usually aren’t any side effects, although slight bleeding/pain and gas incontinence can occur.

Effects should last for at least three months—plenty of time for the fissure to fully heal on its own. With a roughly 70 percent success rate, Botox is a highly preferred method for treating chronic, painful anal fissures.

For more details on what happens before, during and after a Botox injection procedure, click here. If you find yourself dealing with a chronic anal fissure, please contact our clinic for treatment options.

 

Try These 8 Tips to Relieve Constipation | Minnesota

Constipation is one of the most common bowel disorders affecting American adults, with roughly 20 percent of the population suffering from hard, painful stools. Defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week for several weeks, constipation occurs when the colon absorbs too much water from the food passing through it, creating dry stool that’s extremely difficult to pass.

While constipation is never pleasant, there are a few ways to manage and improve symptoms so that other complications—like hemorrhoids—don’t set in. Below are a few tips for boosting your bowel movements:
 
1. Eat more apples – This juicy fruit is packed with pectin fibre, which has been found to help relieve constipation and slow down the absorption of excess dietary fats, making you feel fuller for longer. The sorbitol in apple juice also has a laxative effect.

2. Eat more raisins and figs – If apples aren’t your thing, perhaps these two dried fruits can be added to your diet. High in fiber, raisins and figs are even more beneficial to your digestive system when soaked in water.

3. Exercise more – Being more active is always beneficial to your health! Hitting the gym or simply going for a jog outside helps aid food breakdown and reduce the time it takes food to move through the large intestine. The less time food sits in your colon, the more water it retains to help ease stool passage later.
 
 
4. Hydrate – Retaining water in your stool is the key takeaway here, so drinking more fluids is critical. When you don’t drink enough water, your body absorbs more water from the food you eat in order to make up for the imbalance.

5. Try over-the-counter medications – For a quicker fix, laxatives (used in moderation) can help with constipation. These substances work to loosen your stools and increase bowel movements pretty quickly.

6. Don’t hold your poop – If you feel even the slightest urge, go to the bathroom! Holding your bowel movements causes stools to sit longer in the colon, increasing the amount of water absorbed. Definitely not what we want!

7. Drink some coffee – Despite being a diuretic that can dehydrate you if consumed in large quantities, coffee has been shown to stimulate the muscles in your digestive system. Small amounts of soluble fiber in coffee can also boost the balance of your gut bacteria.

8. Try probiotics – Studies have shown that Bifidobacterium, a bacteria of the gastrointestinal tract, can aid in digestion and reducing constipation. Yogurt, fermented vegetables (kimchi, miso, sauerkraut), cured meats, vinegar and sourdough bread are good options for increasing your probiotics intake.

 

The Many Causes of Anal Skin Tags | Minnesota

While anal skin tags are extremely common, they’re very rarely cause for alarm. These non-cancerous, benign small bumps or raised areas around the anus are essentially excess skin growths that develop for various reasons. They’re usually sensitive to the touch and can be quite itchy, but aren’t usually painful. While some individuals seem to be genetically prone to developing skin tags, a variety of causes ranging from skin friction to hemorrhoids may be linked to skin tag formation.
 

Who gets anal skin tags?

Anal skin tags can affect anyone, but they’re much more prevalent in obese individuals and individuals who suffer from chronic bowel problems, especially Crohn’s disease. Additionally, pregnant women tend to develop skin tags more easily due to hormone fluctuations and increased skin friction around the anal region. Those who suffer from hemorrhoids or inflamed lesions and anal injury are also at a higher risk of having anal skin tags.
 

How do anal skin tags develop?

Although the exact causes of skin tags are unclear, they usually result from one or more of the following:

  • Hemorrhoids – When swollen hemorrhoids begin to shrink and eventually heal, excess skin may remain and form into a skin tag.
  • Diarrhea – Also related to friction, having recurrent bowel movements can irritate the skin around the anus, especially if combined with excess wiping.
  • Constipation – Too many bowel movements can lead to skin tags, as can too few bowel movements. When you overstrain, the anal blood vessels can swell and bulge; skin near the anus must also stretch to accommodate large or hard stools. Skin tags form when the skin fails to snap back to its original position.
  • Friction/irritation – Increased friction between surfaces of the skin, such as from exercising or prolonged sitting, can lead to anal skin tags.
  • Crohn’s disease – Sufferers of this chronic bowel disorder experience inflamed intestines and bouts of diarrhea and constipation, all of which contribute to a higher risk of skin tags.
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    How can I prevent anal skin tags from forming?

  • Decrease the chances of constipation and diarrhea by eating plenty of fiber and keeping your bowel movements regular.
  • Do not excessively wipe after a bowel movement to avoid excess friction and irritation.
  • Do not wear overly tight underwear, which can cause skin irritation and unnecessary friction while moving or sitting.
  • Aim for a healthy body weight and avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Overweight and obese individuals are more prone to developing skin tags, so eating a balanced diet and regularly exercising can significantly lower your risk.
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    Excessive Smartphone Usage May Be Giving You Hemorrhoids | Minnesota

    The average American spends over five hours per day scrolling through Instagram feeds, checking Twitter, answering emails and texts, and watching Netflix—all via smartphone devices and, more often than not, while sitting. Add in the extra layer of using these mobile devices during bathroom trips, and most of us have significantly increased our risk of developing hemorrhoids.

    A 2015 survey found that 9 out of 10 people bring their mobile device with them to the bathroom, a habit that leads to unnecessary extra time on the toilet. While doctors recommend that you spend no more than 10 minutes at a time sitting on a toilet, being absorbed in the contents of your phone can easily extend that window to 15-20 minutes or longer.

    This prolonged sitting time can then cause excess pressure on your rectal veins and increase your hemorrhoid risk. Additional straining may also cause existing hemorrhoids to engorge, swell and bleed. In general, your bowel movements should last somewhere between 3-10 minutes, as anything longer may indicate constipation.

    Furthermore, another major concern of using mobile devices in the bathroom is the risk of fecal contamination. A 2017 study of high school students’ smartphone usage showed that these devices can cling to E.coli and other bacteria, potentially making mobile devices even dirtier than toilet seats. Gross.
     

    Tips for Better Bathroom Habits

  • Only sit on the toilet for as long as you need to. If there isn’t an actual urge for a bowel movement, don’t force it.
  • Do NOT sit and strain for long periods of time. The more you strain, the more irritated those rectal veins will become!
  • Set a timer if you get distracted easily so that you’re aware of how long you’ve been sitting.
  • Always wash your hands before leaving the bathroom, and try to wipe down your smartphone!
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    Here’s What You Need to Know About an Anoscopy | Minnesota

    If you’re undergoing an anoscopy soon and unsure of what to expect, don’t fret—this simple procedure is pretty straightforward and extremely effective in helping your doctor diagnosis whatever anal/colorectal condition you may have.
     

    What is an anoscopy?

    An anoscopy is a quick and painless examination used to identify and diagnose any problems in the gastrointestinal tract, specifically inside the anus and rectum. The procedure helps your doctor identify various potential anorectal conditions, including hemorrhoids, anal fissures, anal polyps, anal abscesses and, more rarely, anal cancer. An anoscopy is often performed in conjunction with other diagnostic tests such as a digital rectal exam (DRE) or a biopsy.
     

    How is an anoscopy performed?

    You’ll first be asked to remove your clothing and undergarments and lie down either sideways or bending forward on the exam table.

    Your doctor will then insert a light-equipped device called an anoscope into your lower gastrointestinal tract via the anus. An anoscope is a small, hollow, rigid tube roughly 3-5 inches long and 2 inches wide and is usually coated with a jelly-like substance to help ease insertion. While the device is being inserted, your doctor may also ask you to clamp and relax your internal muscles to help with the placement of the anoscope.

    During the procedure, you may feel pressure or an urge to have a bowel movement. If you have hemorrhoids, there may be a small amount of bleeding.

    Once the exam is completed, your doctor will gently withdraw the anoscope.
     

    How do you prepare for an anoscopy?

    There isn’t any special preparation required for an anoscopy. However, you’ll be advised to empty your bladder and bowels prior to the procedure to make the exam more comfortable. To help with this, your doctor may give you a laxative or enema.

    Most patients are able to drive themselves home following the procedure, so you won’t need to arrange for someone to pick you up unless you wish to.
     
     
    Once your doctor confirms the results of your anoscopy, you can move forward with determining the best treatment plan for your condition. Click here to learn more about the anorectal anatomy and potential anorectal conditions.

     

    The Potential Health Benefits of Elephant Foot Yam | Minnesota

    Alternative MedicineYes, you read that correctly—elephant foot yam is loaded with potential medicinal benefits and may even improve hemorrhoidal symptoms. This alternative medicine has long been used in Ayurveda, a traditional system of medicine rooted in the Indian subcontinent whose practices have recently been globalized. Used to treat numerous conditions such as sperm quality, liver and spleen disorders, and hemorrhages, elephant foot yam just may be the next big home remedy for treating hemorrhoids as well.

    The thickened, underground part of the yam’s stem, known as tubers, is often prescribed as medicine in Ayurveda to treat hemorrhoids, dysentery, asthma, vomiting and abdominal pain. While it is typically used as a blood purifier, tubers can also be made into a paste to externally treat arthritis pain.

    In treating hemorrhoid symptoms, elephant foot yam can be prepared as a medicine called “suran vataka,” recommended to be taken in small capsules (1-2 grams each) both morning and evening on an empty stomach. While the exact treatment results are unclear due to the yam’s alternative nature, this has long been a prescribed treatment method for patients in India suffering from hemorrhoid/bowel discomfort.
     

    Other Potential Health Benefits of Elephant Foot Yam

  • The cooling effect of the yam can be a cure for hypertension.
  • The yam may help reduce cholesterol levels.
  • It can serve as an anticoagulant (blood thinner) to improve blood flow.
  • Elephant foot yam may even help maintain hormonal balance in women by increasing estrogen levels and relieving them of pre-menstrual syndrome.
  • The presence of Vitamin C can help delay aging.
  • Elephant foot yam may also benefit patients who suffer from acute rheumatism.
  • Irregular bowel movements and constipation may be cured through consuming elephant foot yam.
  • It may help reduce muscle spasms.
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    Please note that while elephant foot yam may help with hemorrhoid symptoms, anyone who suffers from hemorrhoid discomfort should see a doctor for a full evaluation. Home remedies certainly help with symptoms, but it’s always best to see a doctor for a complete, thorough treatment method.

     

    5 Potential Side Effects of Taking Stool Softeners | Minnesota

    When considering temporary hemorrhoid treatment options and lifestyle changes to help battle hemorrhoid flare-ups, stool softeners are almost always recommended. Because hemorrhoids often develop as a result of constipation and overstraining during bowel movements, taking stool softeners is an efficient short-term option for easing stool passage.

    However, every drug has its side effects. While stool softeners are generally well-tolerated by hemorrhoid patients, there are a few potential side effects that can cause discomfort.
     
     
    Stomach Cramps

    Because the ingredients in stool softeners aim to soften your stool for easier bowel movements, there’s a chance that you’ll experience stomach/intestinal cramps. Your digestive tract, which was previously constipated, is now suddenly being affected by changing stool habits. Make sure to drink plenty of water while taking stool softeners to help prevent cramping.
     
    Diarrhea

    If you exceed the recommended dosage for your stool softener, your stool may become overly runny and loose, potentially leading to over-passage of stool. If diarrhea does occur, drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration
     
    Nausea & Vomiting

    Whenever your digestive tract is affected, there’s always the risk of nausea and vomiting. If vomiting occurs, stop taking the stool softener immediately, as severe vomiting can lead to dehydration and more extreme digestive issues.
     
    Allergic Reaction

    While allergic reactions to stool softeners are fairly rare, they can occur. Hives, difficulty breathing, rashes, and swelling in the lips, hands and tongue can all potentially develop. In these cases, immediately stop taking the stool softener; call 911 if a severe allergic reaction occurs.
     
    Rectal Bleeding

    This side effect is more uncommon, but if rectal bleeding or irritation occurs, call your doctor immediately.
     

    If you experience any of the above side effects, stop using the stool softener and call your doctor to discuss alternative treatment methods.
     

    Is a Hemorrhoidectomy During Pregnancy Safe? | Minnesota


     
    Hemorrhoids during pregnancy is, without a doubt, one of the most irritating and uncomfortable parts of the pregnancy process. While developing pregnancy hemorrhoids is extremely common, treatment methods differ depending on the size and severity of a patient’s hemorrhoids. While some women are able to effectively utilize home remedies or less invasive procedures like infrared coagulation (IRC) and rubber band ligation (RBL), there’s the unfortunate chance that your hemorrhoids will require a hemorrhoidectomy.

    Typically used to treat more extreme, grade 4 internal hemorrhoids or severe cases of external hemorrhoids and thrombosed external hemorrhoids, a hemorrhoidectomy is a more invasive hemorrhoid removal procedure. It’s generally used on patients whose external hemorrhoids clot repeatedly, who don’t respond to rubber band ligation, whose protruding hemorrhoid does not respond to treatment, or who experience ongoing bleeding.
     

    Are Hemorrhoidectomies Safe for Pregnant Patients?

    Because a hemorrhoidectomy is more intensive, it’s admittedly not the preferred treatment method for pregnant patients. However, it is perfectly safe to perform either during pregnancy or shortly afterward. In the case that your hemorrhoids fail to respond to less invasive treatments, your doctor will most likely suggest surgery in the form of a hemorrhoidectomy. Here at One Stop Medical Center, Dr. Shu opts for a less invasive version of a traditional hemorrhoidectomy, combining it with rubber banding and IRC. This approach typically produces great results while allowing patients a quicker recovery.

    During the hemorrhoidectomy, the bleeding tissue is surgically removed with a radio frequency device under local anesthesia. Both ends of the hemorrhoid must be tied to prevent bleeding while the hemorrhoid is being removed. After excision is completed, the incision site is sewn or cauterized shut. Medicated gauze is then placed over the remaining wound. Healing time is generally four to six weeks, during which patients must increase fiber intake, drink plenty of fluids, and take stool softeners to ease bowel movements.
     
    Click here to learn more about our hemorrhoid treatment options, or call us at (952) 922-2151 to schedule a consultation.

     

    Here’s Why Your Anus May Be Itching at Night | Minnesota

    If you’ve ever experienced an itchy bum in the middle of the night, it’s quite an unpleasant sensation. Scratching the area may provide temporary relief, but the harshness of your nails ends up causing further irritation and damage to the already sensitive anal region.

    Known as pruritis ani, this condition literally translates to “itchy anus” and occurs on an intense, cyclical basis where an unpleasant burning sensation around the anus produces the urge to scratch. This feeling typically intensifies at night or after a bowel movement, when even minimal stimulation of the anal skin can cause extreme itching.

    So what causes anal itching? The exact reason for pruritis ani is unclear, but it is often linked to anorectal diseases, lifestyle habits and skin conditions. Below are a few of the more common reasons your bum may be keeping you up at night:
     

    Hemorrhoids

    Anal itching is both a symptom and complication of hemorrhoids that can escalate into pruritis ani. When a patient experiences hemorrhoid flare-ups, blood vessels in the walls of their anus and lower rectum swell and bulge, often causing inflammation and bleeding. This irritation around the anus causes sporadic itching, and continuous scratching of the area can further harm the sensitive tissues and worsen symptoms.

    More specifically, itching can occur when overstraining during bowel movements pushes an internal hemorrhoid outside the anus, otherwise known as a prolapsed internal hemorrhoid. Internal mucus then comes into contact with the anal tissues and prolongs the itching.
     

    Pinworms

    Pinworms are tiny parasites that infect the colon and rectum via ingestion of their eggs through contamination. Once the eggs hatch in your intestines, the pinworms wiggle out from the anus (especially at night) and lay eggs on the surrounding anal skin. The primary symptom is intense anal itching that causes restless sleep. However, treating pinworms is usually a simple and straightforward process of oral medication and topical creams.
     

    Skin Conditions

    Chronic skin disorders around the anal region, such as eczema and idiopathic dermatitis, can cause itching and dry, flaky skin for no apparent reason. Allergic dermatitis, however, results from the skin coming into contact with an allergen via creams, lotions, soap, powders, etc. and having a negative reaction. At times, excessive cleaning using one of the aforementioned products ends up worsening one’s anal itching. While chronic skin conditions are untreatable, allergen-based conditions can be managed by avoiding the triggering products.
     

    Hygiene Habits

    Both excessive cleaning and lack of cleaning of the anal region can irritate the skin. Over-wiping after bowel movements, especially with rough toilet paper or soap/topical products, can lead to dryness and itching.
     
    For more information on pruritis ani and its causes and treatment methods, check out our earlier blog post here.

     

    Ways to Manage Proctalgia Fugax Pain | Minnesota

    While the term “proctalgia fugax” (pronounced proh-TAL-ja few-gacks) may sound completely obscure, the rectal condition actually affects up to 18 percent of Americans. The Latin term literally translates to “fleeting rectal pain” and is characterized by intensely painful, sporadic rectal or anal spasms that last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Sometimes described as feeling like a severe muscle cramp or like a knife is shoved up one’s rear end, proctalgia fugax is extremely unpleasant to experience. However, home remedies can help alleviate some of the pain and discomfort.

    One of two primary functional anorectal pain syndromes, proctalgia fugax occurs as a result of cramping of the levator ani muscle. Attacks are more common in the middle of the night, but they can occur during the daytime as well. The pain is usually so intense that patients must stop what they were doing and attempt to alleviate the discomfort or wait until the spasm subsides. While these episodes typically only occur a few times per year, some patients have reported feeling pain almost everyday. While attacks are technically spontaneous and unpredictable, certain lifestyle factors such as stress, anxiety, excessive sitting and defecation may trigger episodes.

    Roughly 80 percent of patients suffering from proctalgia fugax do not seek medical attention due to the infrequency of their attacks, and the condition, thankfully, does not cause lasting damage. However, it’s helpful to know some effective pain reliever options, as well as lifestyle changes to potentially prevent future attacks.

    Medications: Topical glyceryl nitrate (pain-relieving drug), nerve blockers, muscle relaxers, hemorrhoid creams

    Warm baths: To relax the anal muscles and potentially reduce the chance of spasms

    More potassium: Food like bananas, cantaloupe, spinach, potatoes and oranges are rich in potassium and can aid in preventing spasms

    More vegetables: More vegetables and whole grains mean more fiber and less chance of constipation, which in turn reduces straining of the anal muscles. Natural vegetable powder can also help produce softer stool

    Relaxation techniques: Reduce stress and anxiety via meditation, deep-breathing exercises and yoga

    Pelvic muscle retraining: Pelvic muscle exercises, such as kegel exercises, can help strengthen and relax muscles in that area.

     

    Comparing Anal Abscesses and Anal Fistulas | Minnesota

    Hemorrhoids, abscesses, fistulas, fissures, anal itching, rectal prolapse—with so many anorectal disorders out there, it’s hard to keep track of which is which. Two of these conditions, anal abscesses and anal fistulas, are closely linked to one another but can be easily distinguished via the guidelines below.
     

    Defining Each Disorder

    Anal Abscess – This is a pus-filled, infected cavity near the opening of the anus or deep in the rectum. Most abscesses result from infection of anal glands in the lining of the anal canal near the anus opening. When bacteria from the gut passes the anal sphincter barrier and into the surrounding tissue of the rectum, an abscess of varying severity and depth forms. When an abscess fails to fully heal, an anal fistula may form.

    Anal Fistula – As mentioned above, fistulas usually occur due to a previous anal abscess. A fistula is an inflamed tunnel under the skin, connecting the anal canal and the surface of the surrounding skin. The majority result from an anorectal infection, wherein the anal crypts are infected and cause pus-filled cysts to form near the anal canal.
     

    Symptoms

    Anal Abscess – The most common symptoms are pain around the anal area, swelling, redness, and fever. Rectal bleeding and urinary complications (difficult or painful urination) may also occur.

    Anal Fistula – In addition to most likely having a history of anal abscesses, patients may also experience skin irritation around the anus, a throbbing pain when sitting, anal discharge, swelling and redness, and fever.

     

    Causes

    Anal Abscess – This usually occurs from infection of anal glands in the lining of the anal canal near the anus opening. Other causes include an anal fissure and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

    Anal Fistula – As previously mentioned, fistulas typically result from an abscess that did not fully heal. They may also, though less frequently, be caused by Crohn’s disease, STDs, trauma, tuberculosis, cancer or diverticulitis.
     

    Treatments

    Anal Abscess – Surgical incision and drainage should be performed ASAP, as antibiotics are ineffective at this stage of the infection. Delaying surgery can result in tissue destruction, fibrosis (scar tissue formation), and impaired anal continence. Drainage involves making a small incision above the abscess as close to the anus as possible, then removing the gauze after 24 hours. Sitz baths and stool softeners can help with post-surgery discomfort.

    Anal Fistula – Surgery is generally needed to treat fistulas and involves cutting a small part of the anal sphincter muscle away. By doing so, the tunnel/fistula is opened up to form a trench that heals from the bottom outwards. After a few weeks, the trench ideally fills up with scar tissue and heals. Post-surgery discomfort is mild and can usually be addressed with painkillers.
     

    Recurrence Rates

    Anal Abscess – Nearly half of abscesses may recur, either in the form of a new abscess or as a frank fistula.

    Anal Fistula – Fistulas can also potentially recur, with recurrence rates dependent upon the particular surgical technique utilized.

     

    10 Reasons For Rectal Bleeding That Aren’t Hemorrhoids | Minnesota

    Bleeding from your rectum or anus is never a pleasant experience, and it can understandably cause immediate panic. Generally, bright red blood indicates bleeding in the lower rectum, while dark red blood indicates bleeding from deeper and further up in the body. While passing dark red blood is usually a sign of digestive bleeding and requires immediate attention, any amount of rectal bleeding should be taken seriously.

    While rectal bleeding can be caused by pesky hemorrhoids, there are a number of other potential causes ranging from fistulas and fissures to more serious cases of colon/bowel cancer.
     
    1. Anal Fistula
    An anal fistula is an inflammatory tunnel under the skin connecting the anal canal and the surface of the surrounding skin. Most fistulas occur from an anorectal infection, where the anal crypts are infected and cysts containing pus form near the anal canal. Fistulas are often misdiagnosed as hemorrhoids, as symptoms can be similar, including drainage from the anus, itchiness and pain during bowel movements. They can be treated with antibiotics, pain meds and a fistulotomy.

    2. Anal Fissure
    An anal fissure is a small rip or tear in the lining of the anal cana typically caused by trauma to the inner lining of the anus via a bowel movement or stretching of the anal canal. They can be painful, but fissures often heal within a few weeks through increasing fiber/fluid intake to keep stool soft and help ease bowel movements.

    3. Colon Cancer
    As scary as it may sound, rectal bleeding is a dangerous sign of colon cancer and must be taken very seriously. Symptoms of colorectal cancer include abdominal pain, a change in bowel habits, an anal or rectal lump, and bleeding during bowel movements. Click here to read our post on the differences between rectal cancer and hemorrhoids.

    4. Gastroenteritis
    Gastroenteritis, otherwise known as the stomach flu, is a common bacterial infection that causes diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Due to inflammation in the stomach and colon, the bowel becomes more sensitive during the illness and may cause bloody stools. While the process is uncomfortable, gastroenteritis normally clears up after a few days of rest and hydration.

    5. Diverticulosis
    Diverticulosis is a chronic bowel condition that causes small bulges or pockets to develop in the lining of the intestine/digestive tract. If these bulges become inflamed or infected, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and bloody stools can occur. More common in people over 40, diverticulosis can be treated using diet modifications, antibiotics and, if needed, surgery.

    6. Rectal Prolapse
    Believe it or not, a bit of your intestine can actually slip outside of your body. A rectal prolapse occurs when part of the large intestine slips outside the anus, which can happen during a bowel movement. This in turn causes pain and bright red blood in the stool, as well as difficulty in controlling your bowel movements. A prolapse usually requires surgical treatment, so call your doctor right away.

    7. Polyps
    Polyps are non-cancerous growths that can develop along the lining of your bowel. They’re pretty common and don’t usually manifest symptoms. In more severe cases, they can cause diarrhea, constipation, mucus in the stool and bloody stools. While most polyps do not escalate into cancer, there is still risk of cancer development. Be sure to call your doctor for a full examination.

    8. Internal Bleeding
    As mentioned earlier, darker colored blood can be a sign of internal bleeding in your digestive system. It can also be a sign of cancer, stomach ulcers or severe gastrointestinal disease. If you see dark red blood in your stool call your doctor ASAP.

    9. Colitis
    Colitis is a chronic inflammation of the innermost lining of the large intestine and rectum. Small ulcers develop in the lining of the bowel, which then bleed and produce pus. This causes recurring diarrhea, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and the frequent urge to pass stools. Management of colitis conditions can include antibiotics, medications and surgery.

    10. Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)
    Sexually transmitted infections (STI) can result from unprotected anal sex and cause inflammation of the lining of the anus, which can lead to bleeding and pus. Treatment includes antibiotics and antiviral/antifungal medications.

     

    Here’s What to Expect After Undergoing Rubber Band Ligation | Minnesota

    Rubber band ligation (RBL) is a common treatment method for hemorrhoids, especially prolapsed hemorrhoids, in Minnesota. This office procedure is almost never appropriate for grade 1 or mild grade 2 hemorrhoids (which are treated with IRC) or more severe grade 4 hemorrhoids (which are treated with surgery). RBL involves a doctor inserting a scope into the anus and clamping onto the prolapsed hemorrhoid to place a rubber band around its base, cutting off the blood flow to the hemorrhoid and causing it to shrink and die off. The procedure only takes a few minutes but is usually limited to one hemorrhoid per office visit. RBL downgrades hemorrhoids to grades 1 or 2, and any remaining hemorrhoids are typically treated with infrared coaguation (IRC).
     

    What Happens After the Procedure?

    After rubber band ligation, you’ll typically experience a bit of pain and a feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen, as well as an urge to have a bowel movement. These sensations are totally normal and usually subside within a few days. You may also experience small amounts of anal/rectal bleeding for about 7 days after procedure due to the hemorrhoid falling off. It’s encouraged to avoid physically intense activities that strain the body for at least 2-3 weeks. While some patients are able to return to regular activities immediately, others may need a couple days of downtime and bed rest.

    Below are a few guidelines for navigating your post-rubber band ligation recovery process:

    Avoid any strenuous exercises, such as biking/cycling, jogging, weight lifting, and aerobics, for 2-3 weeks or until your doctor gives you the green light.

    Avoid lifting heavy objects for 2-3 weeks, including groceries, backpacks/briefcases, dog food, children, etc.

    If you previously took any medications or blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, your doctor will let you know when it’s okay to restart your meds.

    Take your post-surgery pain medications exactly as directed, but do not take two or more types of pain meds at the same time unless instructed to.

    Take showers/baths as usual, but make sure to thoroughly dry the anal area dry.

    Drink plenty of fluids, and eat lots of high-fiber foods to aid your bowel movements.

    Take stool softener such as Colace to keep stool soft.

    Try to avoid straining during bowel movements.

    To speed up your recovery process, take a sitz bath (sit in 2-3 inches of warm water for 15-20 minutes) three times daily AND after bowel movements. Remember to pat the anal area dry afterward.

    Call your doctor immediately if you cannot pass stools or gas, see bright red blood soaking through the bandage, or see signs of infection (increased pain, swelling, redness, pus draining from the area, fever).

     

    Major Moments in Hemorrhoids History | Minnesota

    Hemorrhoids have plagued humans for thousands of years, with the earliest known mention of its symptoms dating back to roughly ~2250 BC in the kingdom of Babylon in the Code of King Hammurabi. Fast forward to 1700 BC in Egypt, and we stumble upon the first-ever recorded case of hemorrhoids, which also happened to highlight an important topical wound ointment.

    The first use of the word “haemorrhoids” in the English language occurred in 1398. The term derived from the Old French word “emorroides,” taken from Latin derivative “hæmorrhoida-ae,” which in turn originated from the Greek word for “haimorrhois.”

    Below is a timeline of key events in the history of hemorrhoid development:
     

    Hemorrhoid History: A Timeline

    ~2250 BC: Babylon Code of King Hammurabi described the symptoms of hemorrhoids

    1700 BC: Egyptian papyrus pronounced a topical astringent lotion

    1552 BC: Egyptian medical record detailed remedies for hemorrhoids

    1046 BC: Old Testament, 1 Samuel 5:9 Philistines punished with “emerods”, and in 1 Samuel 5:12 People who moved the Ark to Ekron were punished with “emerods”

    460–375 BC: Hippocratic Treatises described hemorrhoid treatment by cautery and excision, and first recorded use of speculum to inspect the rectum (endoscopy)

    25 BC–AD 50: Celsus describes Pile ligation

    41–68: Roman physician Dioscorides defined Aloe Vera use for easing hemorrhoids

    130–200: Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius’s physician Galen pronounced hemorrhoids treatment ointment containing laxatives and leeches. He also explained thread use to tie off piles causing them to shrivel up

    4th–5th Century: Indian Susruta Samhita text defined clamp and cautery use

    5th–10th Century: Arab physician El-Zahrawy defined cautery irons use, whilst Byzantine physicians ligated with thread on the hemorrhoid base, before amputating

    1307–1370: John of Ardene’s exposition transcribed hemorrhoids and fistula treatment, and enemas use

    1806: Modern era of endoscopy was piloted by Bozzini with his aluminum tube to expose the genitourinary tract

    1835: St.Marks Hospital London was founded by Frederick Salmon providing modern hemorrhoids and fistula treatment

    1849: Introduction of anal dilation for hemorrhoids treatment

    1935: St.Marks Hospital further developed excision and ligation methods at the hands of ETC Milligan and C Naughton Morgan – nowadays defined as the gold inhemorrhoidectomy standard

    1952: Modification to the Milligan-Morgan procedure introduced by Ferguson

    1955: A.G. Parks’ developed his closed method surgical treatment the hemorrhoidectomy

    1963: J Barron developed an out-patient rubber band procedure to tie hemorrhoids

    1970: Development of cryotheraphy, diathermy, infrared coagulation and laser cauteries

    1975: PH Lord developed his anal dilation hemorrhoid treatment method, whilst WHF Thompson postulated that hemorrhoids developed from anal cushions that are part of the normal anatomical structures

    1997: Italian A Longo introduced his stapled hemorrhoidectomy procedure for prolapsed hemorrhoids
     
    Due to lack of studies and documentation on hemorrhoids, as well as lack of patients seeking medical assistance, the exact prevalence of hemorrhoids is unknown. However, it’s estimated that roughly half of Americans develop hemorrhoids by age 50, with roughly five percent of the US population affected.

    The outlook for hemorrhoid treatment and rehabilitation is generally positive. While some individuals suffer from flare-ups and recurring hemorrhoids, only a small portion of patients require surgery.

     

    The Treatment of Hemorrhoids in Ancient and Modern Times | Minnesota

    Hemorrhoids, a condition that involves swelling of the veins in the rectum, have been a nuisance since the dawn of man. Accounts of hemorrhoids date back to the earliest of civilizations, including the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans.

    Ancient Egyptian documents directed caregivers to apply an ointment made from ground acacia tree for an unnamed, but painful, perianal disease that was most likely hemorrhoids. The word “haemorrhoid” has Greek roots: haema (blood) and rhoos, coined by Hippocrates in 460 BC. Hippocrates provided some of the earliest recorded methods of surgical procedures, including a ligation procedure that involved tying thick woolen thread around the hemorrhoid to cut off its blood supply. Later writings also described excision of hemorrhoids. The Roman, Arab and Indian societies also recorded writings that described their own ligation and excision techniques.

    During the Middle Ages, these procedures were often performed by literal barber instead of physicians, who thought themselves to be above performing surgery. Barbers often had various tools essential to their trade that doubled as makeshift surgical equipment. Science and surgery met once again the during The Renaissance, where documents indicated the usage of ligation with needle and thread, followed by excision.

    Clearly, ligation was the preferred way of operating on hemorrhoids. It was simple to do and only required readily available material. Even today, ligation is an incredibly common procedure offered by many clinics, including One Stop. Rubber band ligation, the modern version of the procedure, is not far off from that of ancient times. The procedure involves inserting an anoscope into the anus, grasping the hemorrhoid, then attaching a rubber band tightly around the base of the hemorrhoid. The hemorrhoid then shrivels up and falls off in about a week.

    Nowadays, ligation is just one of multiple options and is performed depending on how advanced the hemorrhoids are. Infrared Coagulation Therapy, or IRC, is a procedure that has gained popularity for small to medium sized hemorrhoids. The device is inserted through an anoscope and will then apply infrared light directly to the hemorrhoid, which causes clotting and scar tissue. Scarring causes the hemorrhoid to shrink. Rubber band ligation is slightly more painful, but IRC has slightly higher chances of relapse. Ultimately, they are similar in effectiveness.

    Hemorrhoids have been an issue for people for as long as civilization has existed, and it’s fascinating to see its presence so universally throughout history. It’s important to remember that everyone suffers from hemorrhoids, so don’t be afraid to have them checked out by your doctor.

    Battling Hemorrhoids? Try These Exercises to Alleviate Symptoms | Minnesota

    Dealing with hemorrhoid discomfort can be a real pain (literally). In addition to visiting your doctor for a full exam, home remedies and lifestyle changes can help with relieving hemorrhoid symptoms. One important activity that can significantly assist your hemorrhoid prevention progress is exercising, which can include anything from simple walking to more intense cardio workouts.
     

    Kegel Exercises

    Also referred to as pelvic exercises, kegel exercises strengthen the muscles in the pelvic area and can help prevent hemorrhoids by increasing blood flow to the anal region and improving blood circulation. Strong anal muscles provide good support for internal hemorrhoids while also preventing existing ones from enlarging or protruding. Kegels can also help tighten tissues and control leaking around hemorrhoid problem areas.

    The most basic Kegel exercise consists of simple pelvic muscle contractions. Similar to squeezing your pelvic region when you feel the need to urinate, squeeze and hold that same movement for five seconds. Release and relax for five seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times per session, three times daily.

    And contrary to popular belief, kegel exercises can be done by both men and women!
     

    Brisk Walking

    One of the easiest activities to incorporate into your daily lifestyle, brisk and regular walking for 20-30 minutes daily can help with hemorrhoid symptoms. Begin by walking slowly to warm up. Increase your pace after a few minutes to increase your heart rate and improve your body’s blood circulation.

    Remember: the goal is to improve blood flow to your pelvic region, so walking keeps your body upright rather than sedentary on a couch.
     

    Aerobics/Cardio Workouts

    Aerobic exercises are ideal for treating hemorrhoid symptoms, as they get the blood flowing and help relax any strained muscles in the lower part of the body. Performing aerobics—or other forms of cardio—regularly improves blood circulation not only throughout the entire body, but also to the pelvic/anal regions. On top of that, more cardio workouts means more sweat and drinking more water; aerobics can also help you avoid constipation, one of the primary causes of hemorrhoids. Good examples of aerobic activities are running, swimming, spinning/cycling, dancing, and aerobics classes.

     

    These Everyday Habits May Be Giving You Hemorrhoids | Minnesota

    As unpleasant as hemorrhoids may sound, they are, believe it or not, quite common. With over three million cases reported each year, hemorrhoids are merely swollen veins caused by pressure on the bowels. While major lifestyle changes, such as pregnancy, can cause hemorrhoid development, many cases actually develop from seemingly insignificant everyday habits that build up over time. From diet choices to fitness and movement, below are a few common habits to be mindful of if you’re worried about hemorrhoids:
     
    1. Not enough fiber – Low fiber intake can lead to constipation, which directly causes overstraining during bowel movements and, thus, inflamed veins. Try to aim for 25-50 grams of fiber everyday, eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts. For more on increasing your fiber intake, check out our post on the best and worst foods for preventing hemorrhoids.
     
    2. Straining/overexerting yourself during workouts – If a weight is too heavy, DON’T force yourself. Suddenly increasing weight amounts too quickly puts a burst of pressure on your lower region, which is NOT what you want for your blood vessels.
     
    3. Sitting too long on the toilet – Sitting for too long is never a good thing for your body! Hemorrhoids usually worsen or develop when there’s an increased, downward pressure, so the longer you sit on the toilet checking Twitter, the more your blood pools downward and adds pressure to the veins. Adding onto the fiber point above, eating more fiber should help increase the speed of your bowel movements and prevent added toilet-squatting time.
     
    4. Eating too much processed food – Fast food, frozen meals and pre-packaged junk food are absolutely terrible diet options, as they contain few nutrients and loads of sodium. They also contain inflammation-promoting ingredients that increase constipation and bloating. Avoid!
     
    5. Sitting for long periods of time – It’s not just excessive toilet-sitting that’s frowned upon. Sitting and binge-watching four straight hours of Keeping Up With the Kardashians will essentially produce the same negative results. Decreased mobility can cause blood flow to also decrease, and blood is more likely to gather up/pool in the anal veins, causing irritation and swelling that can develop into hemorrhoids.
     
    6. Not hydrating enough – Along with increasing your fiber intake, drinking more fluids (preferably water) throughout the day helps promote good digestion and proper stool passage. Aim for at least eight cups of water daily.
     
    If you do develop hemorrhoids, you may be able to alleviate discomfort using these home remedies. However, it’s important to still visit your doctor for a full examination and treatment rundown.

     

    The Best & Worst Foods to Eat When You Have Hemorrhoids | Minnesota

    Dealing with hemorrhoids is no walk in the park, but knowing the right kinds of food to incorporate into your daily diet can make a major difference in treating and preventing flare-ups. While it’s always encouraged to fill your diet with high-fiber foods, the vast amount of fiber-filled options can be pretty overwhelming! Below is a quick and dirty breakdown of the best and worst foods to consume while dealing with hemorrhoids.

     

     

    BEST FOODS

    EAT plenty of fruits and vegetables. Apples, berries, broccoli, leafy greens and winter squash are great options. It goes without saying that fruits and vegetables provide valuable nutrients, and most people don’t consume enough of them. In addition to easing constipation symptoms, fruits and vegetables add bulk to your stool and may reduce strain during bowel movements.

    EAT whole grains. Oatmeal is one of the most popular whole grain foods, as well as whole grain breads, brown rice and popcorn. Whole grains have NOT been refined and contain all the nutritious parts of the original grain, providing more fiber, protein and micronutrients.

    EAT more legumes (beans, lentils, nuts). Black beans, almonds, chickpeas and edamame contain large amounts of fiber even in very small portions. The legume family is also credited for helping decrease blood sugar levels and increase healthy gut bacteria.

    EAT flax, hemp and chia seeds. These are all good sources of soluble fiber.

    DRINK LOTS OF WATER! In addition to helping with your increased fiber intake, water throughout the day is crucial for good digestion. Aim for at least eight cups of water daily.

    Remember: Shoot for 25-50 grams of fiber everyday. Too much fiber in one sitting can cause gas and bloating, so be sure to add it to your diet in small increments.
     

    WORST FOODS

    AVOID refined grains. This includes white bread, bagels, white rice and pretty much anything made from white flour. Refined grains have been milled, which removes the bran and germ and, consequently, any nutrients the grain originally contained.

    AVOID processed foods as much as possible. Fast food, frozen meals and pre-packaged junk food are absolutely terrible options, as they contain few nutrients and tons of sodium. They also contain inflammation-promoting ingredients that increase constipation and bloating.

    AVOID excessive alcohol. This can be tough, but alcohol dehydrates your body and can lead to constipation and disrupt the digestive balance in your stomach.

    AVOID dairy. Milk and cheese products can irritate hemorrhoids since they often cause gas and bloating, which can contribute to hemorrhoid pain and stomach cramps if you are already constipated.

    AVOID fried, salty food. Fries, fried chicken, fritters, the list goes on. These items scream inflammation and can cause your body to hang onto water, putting more pressure on your blood vessels. More pressure means more likelihood of developing hemorrhoids. Fried foods are also difficult to digest.

    AVOID spicy food. Again, inflammation.
     
     

    Hemorrhoids vs. Rectal Cancer: How to Tell the Difference | Minnesota

    Because the symptoms of hemorrhoids and early-stage rectal/colon cancer are very similar, people often confuse and, at times, misdiagnose the two conditions. Since the treatment method for each condition is vastly different, it’s important to know how to differentiate hemorrhoids from rectal cancer and proceed with the appropriate treatment options.

    Rectal Cancer

    The most obvious and noticeable symptom of rectal cancer is a malignant tumor (cancerous tumor that spreads) that forms in the tissues of the rectum. Additional rectal cancer symptoms can include:

  • Stools that are not round in shape
  • Bloody stools
  • A change in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation)
  • Anal tenesmus (the feeling of urgently and constantly needing to pass stools due to rectal inflammation)
  • Unexplained weight loss (typically later symptom)
  • Unexplained fatigue (typically later symptom)
  • Pelvic or lower abdominal pain (typically later symptom)
  • The risk of rectal cancer increases as you age, so the condition is more common in individuals over 50, although it can also manifest in younger people. Those with either a personal or family history of colorectal polyps, colorectal cancer or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at a higher risk.

    If you have any of above symptoms, you’ll need to still see a doctor for a digital rectal exam, colonoscopy and full work-up.
     

    Hemorrhoids

    Hemorrhoids are swollen, bulging blood vessels in the walls of the anus and lower rectum. When the tissues supporting the vessels become inflamed and stretch, the vessels expand and cause its walls to thin. This often leads to bleeding. If the intense stretching and internal pressure continue, these already weakened vessels ultimately protrude from the anus. Patients with hemorrhoids can suffer from internal hemorrhoids, external hemorrhoids, or both.

    Internal hemorrhoids are small or large hemorrhoids that develop inside the rectum and do not protrude outside the anus. They may bleed but are normally painless.

    External hemorrhoids are small or large hemorrhoids that protrude from the anus and bleed. Some external hemorrhoids retract back into the anal sphincter after a period of time, while larger, more severe ones require manual pushing to force them back into the interior of the anus. Hemorrhoids can exit the body via coughing, sneezing, laughing or standing for long periods of time. Prolapsed hemorrhoids can produce external anal mucus and itching around the anus.

    Symptoms of hemorrhoids include:

  • Discomfort, itching or pain around your anus
  • Bloody stools or seeing blood on the toilet paper when wiping
  • Moist, pink bumps around the edge of the anus, or bulging out from the anus
  • Severe or abnormal pain (advanced hemorrhoids)
  • Discomfort when sitting and laying down (advanced hemorrhoids)
  • Unlike rectal cancer, hemorrhoids are typically caused by changeable lifestyle habits such as lack of movement and exercise (lack of blood circulation), sedentary work, and straining from constipation, as well as pregnancy.

    If you experience any of the above rectal cancer or hemorrhoid symptoms, see a doctor immediately. For more on rectal examinations, check out our blog post about what to expect from a standard rectal exam.

     

    How Aging Increases Your Chances of Getting Hemorrhoids | Minnesota

    As we grow older and experience a variety of physical and mental changes to our bodies, we also become more susceptible to disease and illness. Because our regenerative powers slowly decrease over time, our bodies have a tougher time battling symptoms as we age—making hemorrhoids all the more common and bothersome.

    How Aging Affects the Development of Hemorrhoids

    Hemorrhoids, which develop when the veins in the anus and rectum become distressed and swollen, are much more of a threat when the body is sedentary. Decreased mobility (and increased amounts of time sitting), typically associated with aging, can cause blood flow to the lower part of the body to also decrease. The blood is then more likely to gather up/pool in the anal veins, causing irritation and swelling that can develop into hemorrhoids.

    Older individuals are also more prone to constipation as a result of having a more sedentary lifestyle. The straining that occurs from constipation, due to passing hard and dry stools, can cause prolonged stress to the anal and rectal veins. Once the blood vessels in these veins become extremely irritated, hemorrhoids can develop.

    Preventing Hemorrhoids in Old Age

    Diet Changes

    Hemorrhoids in the elderly can be effectively prevented by making conscious diet and lifestyle changes. A high-fiber diet helps maintain healthy bowel movements, thereby lowering chances of constipation and anal vein swelling. Consuming more fruits and vegetables, as well as legumes (chickpeas, lentils, soybeans) and whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice, barley), easily adds more fiber to your diet.

    Oatmeal bowlChickpeas

    DRINK. MORE. WATER. Consuming plenty of fluids helps keep the bowel healthy and functioning, and stools remain soft. This further prevents constipation and lowers your chances of having hemorrhoids.

    Exercise

    For elderly individuals who are capable of moderate levels of exercise, this is another good way to improve overall bowel movement and lower body blood circulation. Daily short walks, light swimming, and gardening are all appropriate examples of moderate exercise. However, you should always consult your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise routine.

    Treating Hemorrhoids at Home

    If the above prevention methods fail, and you find yourself with pesky hemorrhoids, there are a few home remedies that can help alleviate your symptoms. Sitz baths (soaking the affected area in warm water for 10-15 minutes) can soothe anal tissues and decrease pain and discomfort. Oils and creams may also be good options for early-stage hemorrhoids, such as witch hazel ointment or witch hazel hemorrhoidal pads.

    If symptoms do not clear up (or become worse) despite home treatment efforts, make sure to see a doctor for a full examination and advanced treatment method.

    Infrared coagulation (IRC) – Non Surgical Solution for Internal Hemorrhoids | Minnesota

    Hemorrhoids describes both a series of blood vessels in the perianal area as well as the condition that afflicts them, typically in older adults. With age these hemorrhoids can become swollen and inflamed, resulting in itching, pain, bleeding, thrombosis, and infection. While not deadly, hemorrhoids can often be a nuisance to the point of debilitation. So how do we treat them?

    There have been many methods devised to treat hemorrhoids since ancient times, ranging from medicinal plants, topical creams, to hemorrhoidectomy, rubber band ligation, and more. The most common method, which we use most often, is infrared coagulation, or IRC. Infrared coagulation is a non-surgical procedure that is a convenient and minimally invasive way to treat hemorrhoids.

    There is generally no special preparation needed for IRC. During the procedure, a small probe will be placed into the anus which will flash infrared light onto the surface of the hemorrhoid. The heat from the infrared probe will burn the hemorrhoid, creating scar tissue that cuts off blood supply to the hemorrhoid and causes it to shrink and die.

    You may feel some heat and pain, but the discomfort is minimal, and the treatment only takes a few minutes.

    After the procedure you may feel the urge to defacate or a feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen. These are temporary. It is also possible to experience some rectal bleeding, which should stop on its own.

    It’s a good idea to take some stool softener to help ease bowel movements in the days following the procedure. Do not take aspirin or any NSAIDs. It is also a good idea to regularly exercise and maintain proper diet and bowel habits going forward.

    IRC offers major advantages to patients over previous hemorrhoid treatment methods:
    • Fast, simple, and safe solution
    • No anesthesia required
    • No special preparation needed
    • No recovery time after treatment
    • Clinically proven results
    • Covered by all major insurance companies

    What are the Best Treatments for Hemorrhoids? | Minneapolis & St Paul

    The term “hemorrhoid” has been used to refer to both normal anatomic tissue and pathologic structure. Hemorrhoid diseases are swollen and varicose blood vessels in the lower rectum. They are among the most common causes of anal complaints in the office visits.

    Hemorrhoids diseases include internal hemorrhoids, external hemorrhoids, anal tags, thrombosis of hemorrhoids and mixed hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids are graded from I to IV based on the degree of prolapse. Besides causing anal itching, pain, bleeding and prolapse, hemorrhoids could cause other complications, such as thrombosis, anemia, and infection. Moreover, many hemorrhoid patients have a comorbidity of anal fissure, fistula, or anal warts. Because no single treatment modality can fix all hemorrhoids, a true hemorrhoid clinic will offer multiple treatment modalities and options to meet a patient’s specific needs and provide complete care.

    If you are treated with single modality for your hemorrhoids, regardless of the severity, type of hemorrhoids, and associated anorectal conditions, it leads to poor results because of poor quality care.

    Internal hemorrhoid Grade 1
    Very early hemorrhoids can often be effectively dealt with by dietary and lifestyle changes. The lifestyle changes should also be part of the treatment plan for more advanced hemorrhoids.
    1. Eating plenty of high-fiber foods
    2. Drinking plenty of fluids
    3. Keeping stool soft
    4. Good toilet habits
    5. Doing exercise regularly, but avoid heavy lifting
    6. Reducing weight

    Internal hemorrhoid Grade 1-2
    Infrared coagulation (IRC) is a non-surgical treatment that is fast, well tolerated, and remarkably complication-free. The infrared light quickly coagulates the vessels that provide the hemorrhoid with blood, causing the hemorrhoids to shrink and recede.

    Internal hemorrhoid Grade 3
    The third grade internal hemorrhoids can be treated with the combination of infrared coagulation and rubber band ligation (banding). Rubber band ligation is widely used for the treatment of more advanced (more prolapsed) internal hemorrhoids where the prolapsed hemorrhoidal tissue is pulled into a double-sleeved cylinder to allow the placement of rubber bands around the tissue. Over time, the ligated tissue dies off. Rubber band ligation downgrades the hemorrhoids to grade 1 or 2, so some patients may need to do Infra-Red Coagulation (IRC) treatments after rubber band ligation.

    Internal hemorrhoid Grade 4
    A hemorrhoidectomy surgically removes the tissue that causes bleeding or protrusion. It is done in a doctor’s office, surgical center, or hospital under anesthesia and may require a period of inactivity.

    External hemorrhoidal tags (anal tags)
    Small and asymptomatic tags don’t need any treatment. If symptomatic, anal tags can easily be removed in the office using a local anesthetic and a radiofrequency device.

    Thrombosed external hemorrhoids
    These hemorrhoids are typically treated with either incision to remove the clot or with external hemorrhoidectomy. Simply draining the clot usually relieves the pain immediately, but it may not work well if multiple thromboses exist as it can also lead to recurrence, so it is better for patients with multiple thromboses to completely excise the thrombosed hemorrhoids.

    External hemorrhoids
    Small and asymptomatic external hemorrhoids don’t need any treatment, however most patients will have an intermittent flare up. Eventually patients may need surgery (external hemorrhoidectomy) if you have large external hemorrhoids and/or persistent symptomatic external hemorrhoids.

    How to Treat if I Have Both Hemorrhoids and an Anal Fissure? | Minneapolis & St Paul

    The patients in Minnesota often couldn’t tell the differences between anal fissure and hemorrhoids because they both cause rectal pain and rectal bleeding at the same location. Although both hemorrhoids and anal fissure are associated with similar symptoms, they are two very different diseases that are important to distinguish.

    Hemorrhoids could be as painful as anal fissure when thrombosis develops. In the most time, the pain caused by hemorrhoids is mild, persistent, dull aching pain, not always related to bowel movement. Anal fissure usually has sharp rectal pain during bowel movements.

    An anal fissure is a tear in the anal canal in the lower rectum. Anal fissures are typically thought to be caused by trauma from a hard or painful bowel movement. Many patients report bright red blood on the toilet paper or the stool, though bleeding is usually not significant.

    If hemorrhoids and anal fissures occur together, the patients have to treat anal fissure first. Not only is anal fissure more painful, but also is hemorrhoids usually treated under anoscope which creates more pain and makes anal fissure worse.

    Hemorrhoids and anal fissures are initially treated with high fiber diet (such as fruits, veggies and whole grains) , taking an over-the-counter stool softener and using creams or ointments especially for hemorrhoids. It can also help to soak your bottom in warm water for 2-3 times a day, and Sitz baths after bowel movements are effective in relieving symptoms.

    If these first-line treatments do not work, the patient will focus on the definitive treatments for anal fissure with the topical agents such as Nifedipine and nitroglycerine (NTG) ointment in conjunction the treatments listed above.

    Botox has also shown to be a promising treatment, its relaxation effect on sphincters lasts for three months that is long enough for anal fissure to heal. If the anal fissure does not resolve following treatments, then a partial anal sphincterotomy may be needed, where a cut will be made on the anal sphincter in a different location in the anus, and both the fissure and new cut will heal together.

    After anal fissure heals, the attention turns to treat the hemorrhoids with infra-red coagulation, banding or surgery if necessary.

    Four Cardinal Symptoms of Hemorrhoids | Minnesota

    Although hemorrhoidal symptoms and complaints are common and typically not a serious concern, all patients should be examined for signs of possible cancer and other associated diseases. There are four cardinal symptoms of hemorrhoids, including rectal pain, bleeding, anal itching, and rectal mass or lump.

    Anal Itching
    Anal itching is the most common complaint in the hemorrhoid patients. It often comes and goes. The initial relief of the itching does not necessarily mean the problem goes away. Continuous scratching or excessive cleaning of the anal area may further harm the sensitive tissues and worsen symptoms. In addition, the area can be highly sensitive to perfumes, soaps, fabrics, dietary intake and superficial trauma. When chronic itching occurs, the perianal area becomes white with fine fissures.

    Treatments for anal itching include taking antihistamine as a sedative prior to sleeping to prevent the patient from unconsciously scratching, or using a topical corticosteroid to alleviate the itching. Underlying hemorrhoids and other rectal diseases must be considered and treated when diagnosing and treating anal itching.

    Anal pain
    Anal pain is a common sign of hemorrhoids. The patients with hemorrhodis often complain the aching pain, irritating pain, and spasmodic pain. If the hemorrhoid patient also has anal fissure, sharp pain may occur during intense, forced bowel movements that are often accompanied by rectal bleeding. Immediate onsets of intense pain accompanied by a palpable mass are usually a result of an external thrombosed hemorrhoid, which may last a few days to a couple of weeks. Internal hemorrhoids, however, are not very painful due to being located above the dentate line of the rectum.

    Proctalgia fugax is a more serious anal pain condition that involves short spasms of intense pain at night. Hemorrhoids could be its trigger or cause.

    Rectal Lump
    A palpable anal lumps can be caused by a variety of conditions including anal warts, hemorrhoids, polyps, fissures, or cancer.

    Hemorrhoids are probably the most common reason for having a rectal lump. It can be caused by internal hemorrhoids, but more commonly by external hemorrhoids. If a rectal lump is related to internal hemorrhoids, it usually gets bigger and more prolapsed right after the bowel movement; it could be spontaneously reduced in the early stage of internal hemorrhoids. But it could be non-reducible in the late stage of hemorrhoids.

    The thrombosed external hemorrhoids often cause very painful, bluish anal lumps when the hemorrhoidal veins rupture and the blood clots develop.

    Rectal bleeding
    Rectal bleeding can be caused by hemorrhoids and other conditions, but even the slightest amount of bleeding should be taken seriously. Common causes of bleeding are internal hemorrhoids, ruptured thrombosed external hemorrhoids, fissures, diverticulosis, colon cancer, colitis, polyps and angiodysplasias. Patients of older age or with significant family history of bowel disease or cancer should consider further examination. In addition, patients who were previously treated for rectal bleeding but continued to experience bleeding must be further examined.

    The source of rectal bleeding is determined by history, physical examination and blood tests, assisted with anoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, radionuclide scans, and angiograms.

    FAQs of Infrared Coagulation | Minnesota

    A hemorrhoid is a common illness that numerous Americans suffer from. Approximately three out of four adults will have hemorrhoids at some point in their life. If you have anorectal symptoms, such as anal itching, rectal bleeding, anal lumps, and you suspect hemorrhoids , you should always be evaluated with a thorough evaluation by a physician for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan and to exclude a serious illness.

    GREAT NEWS ABOUT HEMORRHOIDS! Infrared coagulation, or IRC, a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure is available to treat hemorrhoids. This blog is to answer the common questions on the IRC with the FAQs.

    What is infra-red coagulation?
    Infrared coagulation (IRC) has quickly become the world’s leading office treatment for hemorrhoids and is preferred over other methods because it is fast, well-tolerated, and virtually complication-free. A small probe is placed in the base of the hemorrhoid, and a few bursts of infrared light are applied. The vessels that provide the hemorrhoid with blood are then congealed, and the hemorrhoids shrink away. It may take a few weeks for all the hemorrhoids to shrink completely.

    IRC is more effective and fewer infections than sclerotherapy, and may be better tolerated than rubber band ligation in most cases.

    How long is the procedure?
    Each treatment lasts about a couple of minutes, but the severity of the hemorrhoid as well as your comfort level is considered.

    Does it hurt?
    The procedure is very tolerable. You’ll probably feel a brief sensation of heat rather than any actual pain. You may feel some discomfort from anoscope. This treatment is available to be done during a regular office visit and does not require any special preparation, anesthesia, or medication or salves.

    How should I prepare for the procedure?
    In most cases, there is no preparation necessary. The physician will need to examine you to decide on the ideal treatment plan. Try to have a bowel movement 30 minutes before coming into the office.

    Who are the Best Candidates for Infrared Coagulation (IRC)?
    Infrared coagulation can be used to treat the early stages of hemorrhoids, and it is most effective in grade 1-2 hemorrhoids. If you’re suffering from irritating internal hemorrhoids that continue to cause itching, discomfort, pain, bleeding and other symptoms, and it does not respond to conservative self-management, IRC treatments might be a good solution.
    How is Infrared Coagulation Procedure Performed?

    Before IRC procedure is performed, Dr. Shu gently inserts the anoscope (a very short, 3-4 inch rigid metal tube), then uses a handheld device that creates an intense beam of infrared light to touch the mucosa above the hemorrhoids, exposing the hemorrhoid tissue to a quick pulse of infrared light. The heat from the infrared light burns 4-5 spots in the targeted area, coagulating the vein above the hemorrhoids.

    What is the Recovery Time of Infrared Coagulation Procedure?
    After the IRC procedure, you may feel mild discomfort in the anus and the urge to have a bowel movement sometimes. You are able to resume normal everyday activities immediately afterward. Typically, there are no post-treatment effects. However, there may be slight spot bleeding a few days later, but heavy rectal bleeding is extremely rare. Avoid heavy straining, lifting, and aspirin. If you notice significant rectal bleeding, you should call your doctor’s office.

    You may use Tylenol as needed and take a warm sitz bath daily to relieve discomfort. A stool softener, fiber, and water will help ease your bowel movement while you heal.
    How many visits are required?

    This depends on how severe the hemorrhoid problem is, the location of the hemorrhoids, and your individual response to the procedure. Most patients require 4 visits every two weeks.
    Will the hemorrhoids come back?

    Does it come back?
    Recurring hemorrhoids in different locations may occur in some patients. If this happens, infra-red coagulation, rubber band ligation or repeat hemorrhoidectomy may be necessary. Also, a sensible diet, moderate exercise, and proper bowel habits are helpful.

    Do you offer other treatment options?
    An expert in proctology, Dr. Shu does hundreds of hemorrhoid treatments every year. He offers rubber band ligation and hemorrhoidectomy for the most severe cases if necessary. He also treats other anorectal diseases such as anal fissure, anorectal abscess, anal polyp and anal warts.

    Dr. Shu has had extensive experience in treating hemorrhoids with non-surgical IRC treatments in the past two decades, and he has successfully treated more than two thousand hemorrhoids patients with almost ten thousand IRC treatments. Please call 952-922-2151 if you need help to treat your symptomatic hemorrhoids.

    Hemorrhoid Diet and Preventing hemorrhoids | Minneapolis & St Paul

    There is a strong correlation between diet and hemorrhoids. Turns out that what you eat, and what it subsequently turns into, has a huge effect on the health of your bowels- and that includes hemorrhoids, those pesky swollen veins that no one wants to talk to their doctor about. Basically, repetitive stress on the vascular hemorrhoidal cushions causes the supporting tissue to weaken and become inflamed, which results in the hemorrhoids getting blown up like a balloon. Trust me, you don’t want any balloons down there. With the skin and tissue stretched so thin, it can tear and bleed onto your toilet paper, an alarming sight for anyone procrastinating at work. It can get a lot worse than that too, like if it develops into an external hemorrhoid, becomes thrombosed, or, god forbid, gets infected. But that’s not what this is about. Today we’re talking prevention.

    There are three big things when it comes to hemorrhoids: stool hardness, toilet habits, and inflammation. Don’t strain too long or too hard on the toilet, as it puts pressure on the hemorrhoids.

    Have you gotten your fiber today? It’s recommended that women consume at least 25 grams of fiber a day, and that men consume 30-38 grams of fiber a day. Most likely, you’re one of the 95% of people in America that don’t get the proper fiber intake they need. Fiber adds bulk to stool, making it easier to pass and reducing the chance of constipation. Constipation is problematic. The less fiber you eat and water you drink, the harder your stool. The harder your stool, the more constipated you get. The more constipated you get, the more you strain. The more you strain, the more pressure you put on the hemorrhoidal cushions, and, well, you know the rest.

    Good toilet habits: move your bowels as soon as you feel the urge; Do not sit on the toilet for long periods of time.

    Inflammation is swelling. increased blood flow. Heat. Irritation. Hemorrhoids. Diet can be a big factor in inflammation. Here are a few things to take note of:

    -Reduce refined carbohydrates and animal products
    -Reduce alcohol consumption
    -Get enough micro minerals such as zinc and chromium
    -Get enough essential fats such as Omega-3 fats
    -If possible, don’t be overweight

    How Many Times can You Have the Rubber Band Ligation Treatments | Minnesota

    Rubber band ligation (RBL) is one of the common procedures to treat hemorrhoids. RBL is an office procedure that mainly treat the prolapsed hemorrhoids in the advanced grade 2 and grade 3 hemorrhoids.

    RBL is very effective in treating hemorrhoids, but it is not very efficient because RBL treatment is usually limited to one hemorrhoid each office visit and additional areas may be treated at 2 week intervals. Most patients need 2-4 RBL sessions. The patients will have more rectal discomfort, rectal tenesmus (feeling of incomplete defecation), and pain if given the RBL in two locations at the same time.

    The hemorrhoid tissue has to be prolapsed enough to be tied off at its base with rubber bands, so it cannot be performed if there is not enough tissue to be pulled into the barrel in the banding device. This procedure is almost never appropriate for grade 1 or mild grade 2 hemorrhoids. The infra-red coagulation (IRC) is the better option for early and mild hemorrhoids.

    The RBL process involves a doctor inserting an anoscope into the anus and grasping the prolapsed hemorrhoid with a long clamp to place a rubber band around its base. With the rubber band in place, the hemorrhoid dies off in a few days or a week. The procedure is done in a doctor’s office and only a couple of minutes.

    After the procedure, some patients may feel tightness, mild pain or have the feeling of bowel movement. Most patients are able to return to regular activities (but avoid heavy lifting) almost immediately. If you feel some pain after banding, you may use Tylenol or Ibuprofen as needed and do a lot of Sitz bath to relieve discomfort. Some patients may have slight rectal bleeding in a week. If you notice significant rectal bleeding, then you should call your doctor’s office.

    Proctalgia Fugax Means “Fleeting” Rectal Pain | Minneapolis & St Paul

    8%-18% of people have it. And of those people, only 20-30% seek a professional diagnosis for it. Patients suffer from episodes of severe pain that can make it difficult to function in their daily lives. What is this mysterious ailment?

    Proctalgia fugax is the answer. Proctalgia fugax, fugax meaning “fleeting” in Latin, is a condition that causes severe episodic pain in the anorectal area caused by cramps in the levator ani, the main pelvic floor muscle. Attacks typically occur at night and are often mistaken as an urge to defecate. When the levator ani spasms, the result is anorectal pain lasting anywhere from a few seconds to 30 minutes. Men may even get an involuntary erection! This condition typically starts around the age of 45. While it does not cause physical damage to the body, proctalgia fugax can be very painful and debilitating.

    Proctalgia fugax cannot be cured, but its symptoms can be managed. Here’s a list of some of the many treatments that can help ease the pain during an attack:
    1. Warm baths
    2. Warm enemas
    3. Cold packs
    4. Relaxation techniques
    5. Salbutamol inhaler – Usually used for bronchitis, salbutamol inexplicably seems to shorten episodes of pain
    6. Botox – Inhibits acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that controls muscle, which reduces contractions
    7. Topical calcium channel blockers – Vasodilates blood vessels, reduces muscle contractions
    8. Counseling – Stress can be a major trigger of proctalgia fugax. Eliminating stress may reduce the frequency of attacks.
    9. Galvanic stimulation – High voltage stimulation has been shown to reduce frequency of attacks
    10. Treatments of the underlying diseases, such as hemorrhoids and anal fissures.

    Overall, proctalgia fugax can be a real nuisance. The 8%-18% figure above may be even greater in reality because so few people seek treatment. And it’s understandable why people don’t- it’s an uncomfortable and embarrassing thing to talk about. Many will just try to ride it out. Proctalgia fugax can be a struggle. It’s not worth the loss in quality of life. If you feel that proctalgia fugax is making your life worse, it might be time to see your doctor.

    Rectal Examination Process in Hemorrhoid Care | Minnesota

    Anorectal assessments include visual inspection, palpation, digital rectal examination and anoscopic examination. The patient typically lies sideway on his or her left side with the patient’s knees flexed toward the chest (left lateral decubitus position), which is allows comfort for the patient as well as good visualization and access for the examiner.

    The doctor usually inspects the entire perianal area first. It is common that patient apprehension is great before any anal examination, and you may slowly take deep breath and try to relax. The doctor gently spread your buttocks to allow easy visualization of anus.

    The doctor often the following signs by simple inpection.
    1. Redundant tissue
    2. Skin tags, anal polyps, and anal cancer
    3. External hemorrhoids
    4. Anal warts
    5. Fissures and fistulas
    6. Signs of infection or abscess formation
    7. Rectal or internal hemorrhoidal prolapse.

    The digital exam is to palpate any suspicious mass lesion in the anorectal canal. Because internal hemorrhoids are soft vascular structures, they are usually not palpable unless thrombosed. The prostate in men is palpated during the rectal exam.

    anoscopeAnoscopy is a simple medical procedure that can help your doctor identify an abnormality in your anus and distal rectum.

    To perform an anoscopy, your doctor will insert a device called an anoscope into your anus. This scope is typically 3-4 inches long, made of plastic or stainless steel . An anoscope allows your doctor to get a detailed look at the tissue within your anorectal areas.

    Anoscopy is to confirm the diagnosis of hemorrhoids, severity of hemorrhoids, anal fissure and other anorectal diseases.

    Three KEY BENEFITS OF INFRARED COAGULATION THERAPY FOR INTERNAL HEMORRHOIDS | Minneapolis & St Paul

    Many Americans experience hemorrhoids. The exact prevalence is unknown because most patients are asymptomatic and do not seek care from a physician. It may affect approximately half the population by the age of 50. Hemorrhoids are more prevalent in persons 45 to 65 years of age.

    Although the precise cause is not well understood, hemorrhoids are associated with intrinsic weakness in rectal hemorrhoidal tissues with conditions that increase pressure in the hemorrhoidal venous plexus, such as straining during bowel movements secondary to constipation. Other risk factors include obesity, pregnancy, constipation, chronic diarrhea, anal intercourse, and pelvic floor dysfunction.

    Hemorrhoidal size, location, and thrombosis, determine the extent of pain or discomfort. Internal hemorrhoids, proximal to the dentate line, are traditionally graded from I to IV based on the extent of prolapse. External hemorrhoids and anal tags, distal to the dentate line, develop secondary to internal hemorrhoids or result of thrombosis.

    The ideal treatments for early stages of internal hemorrhoids are always debated. Some are more effective but are more painful, others are less painful but their efficacy is also lower. Thus, comfort or efficacy is a major concern.

    Medical management (e.g., stool softeners, topical over-the-counter preparations), dietary modifications (e.g., increased fiber and water intake), and behavioral therapies (good toilet habit, sitz baths) are the mainstays of initial therapy.

    If conservative management is unsuccessful, office-based, non-surgical treatments of grades I to III are the preferred next step and the common treatment options include infra-red coagulation and rubber band ligation. The studies showed that band ligation, although more effective in controlling symptoms and obliterating hemorrhoids, is associated with more pain and discomfort to the patient. As infrared coagulation can be conveniently repeated in case of recurrence, it could be considered to be a suitable alternative office procedure for the treatment of early stage hemorrhoids.

    Excisional hemorrhoidectomy leads to greater surgical success rates but also incurs more pain and a prolonged recovery than office-based procedures; therefore, hemorrhoidectomy should be reserved for recurrent or higher-grade disease.

    3 KEY BENEFITS OF INFRARED COAGULATION THERAPY FOR INTERNAL HEMORRHOIDS

    Infrared coagulation is quick and near painless
    Infrared coagulation can reduce or eliminate the hemorrhoid with a series of a few quick and near painless treatments using short bursts of hot light.

    The primary benefits of infrared coagulation are the quick and near painless treatments. While a series of 3 or 4 treatments is normally required over a 2 month period to reduce hemorrhoid, the individual treatments only take a few minutes, and require no recovery time. This is a big perk compared to taking several days off for surgery and recovery, which can be required in the most severe cases.

    Infrared coagulation is nonsurgical

    While many people associate hemorrhoids with painful surgery, only a small percentage of patients actually require surgery. Hemorrhoidectomy is a surgical procedure to remove most severe hemorrhoids. Instead, infrared coagulation, or other nonsurgical treatments, can reduce or eliminate the source of a hemorrhoi. The treatment is performed right in the office with no anesthesia, incisions, or stitches.

    Infrared coagulation is effective
    Nonsurgical treatments are simple, quick and convenient, but they must also offer a certain level of effectiveness. To that end, infrared coagulation is up to 95% effective.
    If you’d like to see how infrared coagulation can help you, give Procedure Clinic a call today at (952) 922-2151 to schedule a consultation. You can enjoy lasting relief from hemorrhoid pain!

    The Easy Hemorrhoid Care™ (EHC) | Minnesota

    One Stop Medical Center invites you to experience an elevated level of care for your hemorrhoid treatments, with Minnesota’s first ever Easy Hemorrhoid Care™ Experience.

    For nearly 20 years, Dr.Steven Shu has been providing exceptional hemorrhoid care utilizing the state-of-the-art medical techniques and technology available. Now he and his team offer Easy Hemorrhoid Care™ , a new care delivery system for hemorrhoid treatment with minimal invasive procedures, including Infrared Coagulation (IRC), rubber band ligation, and modified hemorrhoidectomy. It is an efficient system that requires only one trip. We provide patients a new experience in hemorrhoid care, from procedure through recovery. These advancements reduce discomfort, time, decrease the chance of complication and reduce the total recovery time.

    For the first time in Minnesota, a personalized approach to meet your specific hemorrhoid care requirements is now available! The Easy Hemorrhoid Care™ Experience has been designed to take the stress and worry out of your hemorrhoid treatment. This package provides the most comfortable and seamless hemorrhoid care experience possible, with enhanced, customized hemorrhoid care, saving you precious time in your busy schedule.

    Benefits of the Easy Hemorrhoid Care™ (EHC)
    In the standard hemorrhoid care, the patients with hemorrhoids require multiple office visits with Infrared Coagulation and/or rubber banding ligation for their internal hemorrhoid treatments, followed by external hemorrhoidectomy and/or excision of anal hemorrhoids. It is a long process, but it is usually covered by your medical insurance.

    The Easy Hemorrhoid Care™ (EHC) is a specially designed hemorrhoid care delivery system that aims to shorten the whole process of hemorrhoid treatment, to reduce discomfort, the chance of complications, and total recovery time. Patients are given Botox during the procedure to relax anal sphincter muscles, reducing post procedural pain. It is an efficient system that requires only one trip where you receive premium medical care, but it is not covered by your insurance.

    To learn more about our Easy Hemorrhoid Care™ Experience in One Stop Medical Center, please contact us by calling at 952-922-2151 or email at info@shuMD.com.

    Injections of Botulinum toxin for Anal Pain and Anal Fissure

    Introduction
    Botulinum toxin A, is a toxin protein produced by bacteria called clostridium botulinum. When injected into a muscle, it will temporarily blocking neural signals for muscle contractions, causing the muscle fibers at the injection area to relax. Botulinum toxin A has been successfully used for the treatment of a variety of medical conditions involving unwanted muscle spasms such as strabismus and cervical dystonia. It is also commonly used for removing unwanted wrinkles in cosmetic care.

    The internal anal sphincter that controls the anus is always under tension. If this tension (also called resting pressure) is too high, it causes rectal pain. The common diseases associated with anal sphincter spasms are anal fissure and functional anal rectal pain. Spasm can make an anal fissure worse or prevent an existing one from healing.

    Botulinum toxin A has also been used to treat anal fissure for several years. Injecting Botulinum toxin A into muscle around the anus will temporarily relax the internal anal sphincter. This reduces the spasm and pain and allows the fissure to heal.

    Most patients have at least some pain relief in their pain after treatment with Botulinum toxin A. The success rate for an anal fissure healing after the injection is 70 out of 100 treatments. Sometimes the injection might need to be repeated, especially in the patients with functional anorectal pain.

    What Happens During the Procedure?
    There is no special preparation needed before the injection procedure. You don’t need to do any preparation, but you are encouraged to have bowel movement and please do carry out your usual hygiene routine (shower or bath) before you come in.

    Dr. Shu will perform the injection procedure in the exam room or procedure room, and it takes a few minutes to perform. You will be awake throughout the procedure.

    You will be asked to lie on your left side on the exam table. The area around your anus will be cleaned with an alcohol spray. Dr. Shu will then give 6-8 injections of Botulinum toxin A into your sphincter muscle with a hair thin needle. This will be uncomfortable during the injection, but it is an extremely quick procedure.

    After the Procedure
    You can drive home or return to work afterwards. Very occasionally, the patient develops vasovagal reaction (fainting) to the procedure, the you lie on the table for a few minutes to recover.

    The Botulinum toxin A will start to work in a few days. The effects of Botulinum toxin A peaks in 1-2 weeks and usually lasts 3-6 months. During this time, anal fissures are allowed to heal.

    Most people do not have any side effects. The potential side effects of botulinum injections may include the inability to control the passage of gas (gas incontinence), pain from the injections, bleeding, infection at the injection site, and rarely, fecal incontinence (we don’t have any case of fecal incontinence). If symptoms of incontinence occur following Botox® injection, they typically disappear completely after several months.

    It is important to make sure that you continue to keep your stool soft following the treatment, to avoid straining. Continue anal care measures including Sitz bath, fibre in your diet, and drinking enough water.

    Pregnancy and Hemorrhoids | Minnesota

    Going to the doctor again for hemorrhoids is one of the last things a woman wants to deal with after pushing a child out of their body, but the only thing less appealing than that is actually having hemorrhoids. Pregnancy brings a lot of changes to a woman’s body, one of which is an increase in progesterone, a hormone that is responsible for regulating pregnancy. Aside from one of the greatest joys in life, progesterone also causes one of the greatest inconveniences: hemorrhoids. The combination of progesterone and intense pushing during labor makes hemorrhoid a common ailment among women.

    One of the things that can affect the likelihood of developing hemorrhoids during pregnancy is whether the birth is vaginal or a C-section. A vaginal birth is much more likely to result in hemorrhoids, due to all the pushing and strain on the anorectal area. Straining that area of your body can cause hemorrhoids whether your pregnant or not (so don’t spend too much time reading the news on your phone in the bathroom), and anyone that has had experience with childbirth will know that women have to push very very hard, and that’s putting it lightly.

    C-sections are less likely to result in hemorrhoids because the entire process of straining and pushing the baby through the birth canal is avoided. However, this all depends on how much straining the pregnant woman does before the procedure.

    Usually, very conservative treatment is given to women with hemorrhoids, as additional stress from a procedure is usually not the best for a pregnant woman. Typically, fiber intake, topical ointments, and cold packs are enough to manage hemorrhoids. However, in more severe cases, a procedure may be required to deal with it. In this case, it is best to go with your doctor’s recommendation as to what is best for you and the baby.

    Epidemiology on Hemorrhoids | Minnesota

    Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in the lower rectum and anus. They are among the most common causes of anorectal complaints, and only a small proportion of those people seek therapy. This blog will summarize the current epidemiology of hemorrhoids.

    Prevalence
    The prevalence of hemorrhoids is not well documented due to the lack of clinical research on this topic. There has been a scarcity of literature reporting on the epidemiology of hemorrhoids.
    It is estimated that the overall prevalence of symptomatic hemorrhoids in the general population is about 4.4%, but the true prevalence of hemorrhoids, including asymptomatic hemorrhoids should be much higher than 4.4%.

    According to a study done in a hemorrhoid center, estimates suggest that around half of Americans develop hemorrhoids by time they are 50. The number of people in the US suffering from symptomatic hemorrhoids is estimated to be around 10 million, with 1 million new cases occurring each year. Up to one third of those 10 million people with hemorrhoids seek medical treatment.

    Trends
    It is noticed that the number of people visiting hospitals for hemorrhoidectomies has fallen. A peak of 117 hemorrhoidectomies per 100,000 people was reached in 1974; this rate declined to 37 hemorrhoidectomies per 100,000 people in 1987, and the number should be much lower now. Office treatment of hemorrhoids with non-invasive methods account for some of this decline.

    Gender
    There is no known sex predilection, although men seem to be more likely to seek medical attention. However, the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy also increase the likelihood that hemorrhoids will become symptomatic and may increase the incidence of thrombosis in females.

    Race
    Caucasians are more frequently present with hemorrhoidal disease and seek treatment more often than other races.

    Genetics
    Some individuals are more genetically predisposed to hemorrhoids than others. But there are no indicative factors that can be used to identify this group of patients.

    Age
    The prevalence of hemorrhoids increases as people age. In most cases, hemorrhoids develop in individuals who are over 30 years old, with a peak in persons aged 45-65 years, although they can develop at any age. External hemorrhoids tend to occur more commonly in younger adults.

    Socioeconomic Status
    People who live in rural areas and those with a higher socioeconomic status appear to be more likely to develop hemorrhoids.

    Normal Things that Can Give You Hemorrhoids | Minnesota

    There are few things more annoying than suffering from hemorrhoids. Even with Grade I hemorrhoids, you will usually find out when there’s blood on their toilet paper or occasional itching and irritation around anus. God forbid it becomes Grade IV mixed hemorrhoid. It’s ghastly sight. Who wants to see that? You notice the blood and feel the itch, as well as mild anxiety- you look up the symptoms, and WebMD tells you that you probably have hemorrhoids. Then you have to pretend like you don’t have a itchy swollen bleeding vein in your rectum while you talk to your coworkers. And you’ll wonder: what did I do to deserve this?

    Well, a lot of things. You’re probably doing one of them right now. Old habits die hard, or give you hemorrhoids. Here’s a list of everyday things that are actually giving hemorrhoids:

    Straining too hard/long- Your colon and rectum can only take so much straining while you relieve yourself. This is usually because of constipation or diarrhea, or because you had eyes glued to your phone for 25 minutes. Eat your beans and keep trips to the bathroom short.

    Weight/pregnancy- Putting on weight of any kind is going to put pressure on your rectum. And, for those who are overweight, diet and aerobic exercise will help keep you in shape and prevent hemorrhoids.

    Lifting too hard/long- If your job often requires heavy lifting, or you never figured out how to deadlift correctly, the physical strain can injure your rectum and give you hemorrhoids.
    Being born- Unfortunately, some people are just more genetically inclined to get hemorrhoids. For whatever reason, God decided you were gonna have weak easily-swollen veins that’ll start bleeding at 27.

    Thankfully with modern medical technologies like IRC and old, but reliable rubber band ligation and surgical excision, and an ever growing understanding of hemorrhoids, even those destined to have an itchy rectum can still have a normal, nuisance-free existence.

    The Combined Modalities Achieve the Best Result in the Treatment of Hemorrhoids | Minnesota

    Hemorrhoids diseases begin internally, then external hemorrhoids develop when the internal hemorrhoids get worse over a period of time. Internal hemorrhoids are graded from I to IV based on the degree of prolapse. Because no single treatment modality can fix all hemorrhoids, a true hemorrhoid clinic will offer multiple treatment modalities and options to meet a patient’s needs and provide complete care.

    If you are treated with a single modality for your hemorrhoids, regardless of the severity, type of hemorrhoids, and associated anorectal conditions, it leads to poor results because of poor quality care. Based on his hemorrhoid treatment experience for the past 20 years, Dr. Shu developed a practical and effective treatment strategy based on the severity of hemorrhoids.

    For example, if you have to push the prolapsed hemorrhoids back with your finger after bowel movements, it suggests you may have grade three internal hemorrhoids. Dr. Shu will perform rubber band ligation one to three times to downgrade your hemorrhoids from grade three to grade one to two, then he will perform infrared coagulation to further treat the remaining hemorrhoids. The result of the combination treatments is much better than that of either single modality.

    Rubber band ligation is widely used for the treatment of more advanced (more prolapsed) internal hemorrhoids where the prolapsed hemorrhoidal tissue is pulled into a double-sleeved cylinder to allow for the placement of rubber bands around the tissue. Over time, the ligated tissue dies off.

    Infrared coagulation (IRC) is a non-surgical treatment that is fast, well tolerated, and remarkably complication-free. An infrared light quickly coagulates the vessels that provide the hemorrhoid with blood, causing the hemorrhoids to shrink and recede.

    Dietary and lifestyle changes should also be part of the treatment plan for more advanced hemorrhoids.

    If you have grade four internal hemorrhoids, large external hemorrhoids and/or persistent symptomatic external hemorrhoids, you may need surgery (external hemorrhoidectomy) to have them removed.

    Kegel Exercises and How They Can Help to Prevent Hemorrhoids | Minneapolis & St Paul

    Hemorrhoids, a disease that affects almost 75% of people at some point in their lives, can be a real nuisance for a busy adult. The itching, bleeding, and pain of hemorrhoids make them as annoying as they are unsightly, and getting rid of them may take a while or require going to a doctor’s office, which is why the best way to deal with hemorrhoids is preventing them from occurring in the first place!

    Exercise may help to prevent hemorrhoids. Many people are under the impression that exercise can make hemorrhoids worse or even cause hemorrhoids, but this is only true for certain exercises such as weightlifting, typically due to bad form. Certain exercises are very good for hemorrhoid relief.

    One method is kegel exercises. Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic exercises, involve contracting and relaxing the pubococcygeal, or PC, muscle in the pelvic floor in order to strengthen it. It’s the same muscle you contract and relax in order to go to the bathroom. They are commonly used to prevent urinary incontinence as well as other pelvic floor problems. Doing this exercise regularly may also reduce the chances of hemorrhoids, and can be done discreetly almost everywhere, either sitting, standing, or lying down, and requires no equipment, so it’s great to do it at work or at home!.

    To perform a kegel exercise:
    Squeeze the PC muscle for 3 seconds
    Relax the PC muscle for 3 seconds
    Perform steps 1. and 2. in succession for 10 reps
    Take a 30 second break and perform the set of 10 reps two more times
    3 sets of 10 reps should performed three times a day

    This is by no means the only way to do kegels- feel free to modify as you see fit.

    The Elephant Foot Yam: a Potential Future Hemorrhoid Treatment? | Minnesota

    Amorphophallus paeoniifolius, or the elephant foot yam, when cut in half, looks exactly like it’s described: an elephant foot. While it’s not a pretty looking root, there may be more than meets the eye with this humble looking root. Basically, the elephant foot yam is this wide-spread vegetable is grown in places in Africa, Southeast Asia, and tropical Pacific islands. It’s almost unheard of in America for the most part, but in the areas it is cultivated, such as India, it is often fried or cooked into delicious curries.

    However, not only is it prized for its subtle, mild, taste, but it’s also coveted for its medicinal effects by those who study alternative and traditional medicine. Like many health superfoods it has a reputation for being a cure-all, with a wide variety of positive health benefits ranging from lowering cholesterol to treating diabetes to “detoxification”. While some of these unsubstantiated claims might make you roll your eyes, don’t dismiss the elephant root yam just yet- when it comes to hemorrhoids, research suggests that yam could be answer.

    A recent paper from the Regional Ayurveda Research Institute suggests that extracts of the Amorphophallus paeoniifolius tuber could be effective in treating hemorrhoids. In the paper, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, researchers searching for potential new drugs induced hemorrhoids in rats using croton oil, a foul smelling oil made from the seeds of the Asian croton tree. Once the rats had developed hemorrhoids, indicated by the inflamed tissue and the presence of blue dyes added by the researchers, they administered various kinds of extracts of the root as well as normal hemorrhoid medication from the drugstore. The results were quite interesting- the root resulted in reductions in hemorrhoid size and inflammation comparable to that of the medication. There was a clear healing effect observed, as the control group with no medication saw no reductions in hemorrhoid size or inflammation.

    Of course, there is a long way to go before a marketable drug or even clinical testing on humans is possible, but this study could certainly result in lot of interesting follow up research. While the mechanism of how the tuber’s healing effects are not exactly known, an analysis of the compounds within the tuber give some hints as to what the secret of the tuber is. Various flavonoids and phenolic compounds were found that could potentially explain the root’s anti-inflammatory and curative effects on hemorrhoids. While no one should be holding their breath waiting for a miracle hemorrhoid drug coming anytime soon, these studies show the enormous potential of this native plant and sheds light on an interesting and uncommon medical field. In the meantime, make sure you get enough daily fiber.

    Hemorrhoids and Pregnancy | Minensota

    Hemorrhoids are very common complaints during pregnancy. It afflicts 20 to 50 percent of all pregnant women in Minnesota. Pregnancy changes your body in more ways than you might think. Why does pregnancy make women more prone to hemorrhoids? There are several reasons on it.

    1. Hemorrhoids are a type of venous disease similar to varicose veins; it is surely not perfect designing in its anatomy and physiology with intrinsic defects.

    2. The enlarging uterus plus increased blood flow put pressure on the pelvic veins and other large veins that increases the pressure on the veins and causes them to become more dilated.

    3. Constipation is another common problem during pregnancy, which can also aggravate hemorrhoids due to the straining.

    4. An increase in progesterone hormone during pregnancy causes the walls of hemorrhoidal veins to relax, allowing them to swell more easily. Moreover, progesterone slows down women’s digestive tract and contributes to constipation.

    5. The pushing process involved in labor also makes the existing hemorrhoids worse.

    Many women in the Minneapolis and St Paul areas develop the new hemorrhoids during their pregnancy; others have the preexisting hemorrhoids even before they get pregnant. Some women get them in the first pregnant, others get recurrent hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids usually get worse in the third trimester, right after labor pushing or if you develop constipation.

    The typical hemorrhoids symptoms during pregnancy are anal itching, rectal bleeding, pain, and bulging out. The good news is that hemorrhoids will begin to improve soon after giving birth.
    The most conservative hemorrhoid treatments are usually prescribed for hemorrhoids occurring during pregnancy and soon after childbirth. Local application of over-the-counter ointments, fiber supplements, Sitz bath and cold packs are often sufficient to relieve the symptoms. If the patients develop the hemorrhoid complications, commonly painful thrombosed external hemorrhoids, then the simple surgical procedure with incision and drainage is necessary to remove the blood clots and alleviate excoriating rectal pain. Occasionally, the limited external hemorrhoidectomy is needed in some severe cases.

    The patients are encouraged to see hemorrhoid doctors, family physicians or colorectal surgeons for hemorrhoid evaluation in 2-3 months after delivery if they have severe hemorrhoids during pregnancy or the symptoms linger even a few months after giving birth.

    The good thing is that minimally invasive hemorrhoid procedures, such as Infrared coagulation (IRC) and banding, can effectively treat most hemorrhoids without cutting or stapling to postpartum women. For the extensive or severe hemorrhoid cases that do not respond to conservative methods, hemorrhoidectomy is needed to remove them completely. Dr. Shu prefers to perform less invasive hemorrhoidectomy, not traditional hemorrhoidectomy, in combination with banding and IRC, The patients usually have good result with quicker recovery with this approach.

    9 Tips for Recovering After Infrared Coagulation (IRC) Treatment of Hemorrhoids | Minnesota

    If you’re suffering from hemorrhoids, Infrared coagulation (IRC) is often an initial treatment of choice, especially for early stage of internal hemorrhoids. In this procedure, an intense infrared light heats the hemorrhoidal tissue, creating scar tissue that blocks blood supply to the hemorrhoid, which shrinks and dies.

    In general, IRC is a very safe office procedure that takes less than a minute in each treatment. It is relatively painless and no anesthesia or painful injections are needed. It produces very good results in the early stages of hemorrhoids with minimal complications and quick recovery. The recovery time after IRC treatment is minimal with very little pain or discomfort. It is important to take care of the rectal area after the IRC procedure to avoid a recurrence of the hemorrhoids. Here at the Procedure Clinic in Edina, MN, we offer the following tips on recovering from IRC treatments.

    1. Keep the area clean and dry. Do not wipe or rub vigorously.

    2. Take sitz bath in warm water for 15 min, twice a day and after every bowel movement. Sitz baths will help relieve discomfort and clean the area.

    3. Good toilet habits:
    a. Move your bowels as soon as you feel the urge.
    b. Do not strain, bear down, or hold your breath during a bowel movement.
    c. Do not sit on the toilet for long periods of time. If you cannot empty your bowel, you may re-visit the toilet at a later time.

    4. Avoid constipation and straining during bowel movements:
    a. You are encouraged to eat plenty of high-fiber foods, drink plenty of fluids, and exercise. The high fiber food includes vegetables , fruits, , beans, and whole grains.
    b. If your diet is lack of fiber, y can also take two tablespoons of any over the counter fiber supplement such as natural wheat bran, natural oat bran, flax, Benefiber with a lot of water.
    c. If you develop constipation with hard stool, you may use a stool softener with or without laxative.

    5. Do not stay seated for more than two hours. Do the muscle exercise by tightening your buttock muscles 10 times and take 10 deep breaths every a couple of hours.

    6. Avoid heavy lifting for a few weeks.

    7. Do not drink alcohol or reduce alcohol intake.

    8. Apply hemorrhoid creams when the symptoms flair up.

    9. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.

    When to Call Your Doctor
    Problems are not common with the IRC treatment. However, if there is a substantial amount of bleeding, severe pain, chills, fever or difficulty passing urine (very rare), you should call your doctor to seek medical attention.

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