Hemorrhoids

Audrey J. Woolrich, MD, PC -  - Gastroenterologist

Audrey J. Woolrich, MD, PC

Gastroenterologist located in New York City on Manhattan's Upper East Side

Hemorrhoids are very common and may be asymptomatic or present with anal pain and or rectal bleeding at any age. At her private practice on the Upper East Side in New York City, Audrey J. Woolrich, MD, brings over 30 years of experience to diagnosing and treating a wide range of colorectal issues including hemorrhoids. Don't suffer from hemorrhoid discomfort. To discuss a combination of lifestyle modifications and treatments, call Dr. Woolrich's office or schedule an appointment online today.

Hemorrhoids Q & A

What are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins located in the lower part of your rectum or the skin around the anus.

There are two types of hemorrhoids: internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids are located in the rectum, and external hemorrhoids occur around the anus.

Internal hemorrhoids can prolapse and be seen externally. In most cases, these are reducible, meaning they can be pushed back inside.

What causes hemorrhoids?

There are many possible causes of hemorrhoids. In most cases, excessive internal pressure on the rectum and anus can lead to hemorrhoids. Common causes include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Prolonged sitting on the toilet
  • Straining with constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Low fiber diet

What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?

Usual symptoms include one or a combination of the following:

  • Anal pain
  • Swelling in the anal area
  • Hard lumps that could be tender
  • Anal itching
  • Rectal bleeding

Should I seek medical attention for my hemorrhoids?

Yes, as other conditions could also cause some of the above symptoms. Colorectal cancers are being diagnosed at a younger age, so you should report any rectal bleeding to your doctor.

How do you treat hemorrhoids?                  

Treatment depends on whether the hemorrhoids are internal or external.

If they are not prolapsed, internal hemorrhoids may respond to topical treatment such as emollient suppositories. You might also need to adjust the consistency of your stool by correcting your constipation or diarrhea.

If your internal hemorrhoids are bleeding or prolapsing, there are various treatment options that eliminate the blood supply to the affected dilated vein.

Dr. Woolrich offers a minimally invasive treatment called hemorrhoid energy therapy (HET®) that is performed at her endoscopy center.

You must fast for four hours prior to the procedure and take two enemas before leaving home. You will have to register at the Carnegie Hill Endoscopy Center 45 minutes before your scheduled procedure. Intravenous sedation will be administered. Dr. Woolrich will use the HET  Bipolar System to block the blood supply to the dilated vein with a low temperature setting which minimizes tissue  damage.

The procedure takes just a few minutes depending on the number of hemorrhoids that have to be treated. There is usually no pain afterwards. The underlying causes must be addressed. If the hemorrhoids are very large and can not be reduced, there are other options available such as rubber banding and surgery.

If mild, external hemorrhoids may respond to over-the-counter preparations, but soaking the area in a warm bath or applying a warm wet washcloth several times a day is usually most helpful. If the external hemorrhoid is extremely painful, Dr. Woolrich might recommend a simple surgical procedure performed by a proctologist or colorectal surgeon in their office. Dr. Woolrich would determine whether this would be appropriate and make the necessary referral. Again, the underlying cause for the hemorrhoids must be treated as they will often recur.

For compassionate hemorrhoidal care call the private office of Dr. Audrey Woolrich or schedule an appointment online today.