When preparation h does not work: What If Treating Hemorrhoids at Home Doesn’t Work?
What If Treating Hemorrhoids at Home Doesn’t Work?
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Benjamin Krevsky, MD, MPH
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal canal. Of course, everyone has veins in this area, but when they become enlarged they can bleed, itch and cause pain.
Hemorrhoids can be located internally, externally or sometimes both. While rarely a serious condition, hemorrhoids certainly cause a lot of discomfort and concern. I previously discussed treatments you can do at home to get relief. These treatments included hydration, fiber, sitz baths, soothing wipes, ointments, creams, suppositories and more. But what do you do when this does not solve the problem?
When Should You Go to the Doctor for Hemorrhoids?
Again, before assuming that your condition is hemorrhoids, it’s a good idea to see your doctor for an examination. After all, it’s difficult to take a look for yourself. If there is any bleeding, severe pain or fecal incontinence (loss of bowel control), you should definitely see the doctor. A large amount of bleeding or the sudden onset of severe pain means you should seek medical treatment immediately.
What Kind of Doctor Treats Hemorrhoids?
In most cases, you can see a primary care physician about your hemorrhoid symptoms. But if there are complications, your doctor may refer you to a specialist, such as a gastroenterologist or a proctologist (surgeon).
How Do Doctors Treat Hemorrhoids?
Doctors can treat hemorrhoids by prescribing medications or by performing minor surgery to major surgery. Here are several treatment options:
Prescription Ointments, Creams and Suppositories
These usually contain an emollient (medication to soften and soothe the skin). In addition, there may be an anesthetic (for example, pramoxine) and/or steroid (hydrocortisone). Prescription strength medications often work better than their over-the-counter cousins. But sometimes not so much.
An oral tablet called Vasculera comes with some prescription treatment kits (Analpram advanced kit) and also helps reduce the size of hemorrhoids.
Rubber Band Ligation
In this common treatment, the doctor applies miniature rubber bands to the internal hemorrhoids. This causes them to shrink up, stop bleeding and pull back inside. There are several different techniques for performing the procedure.
In one form, (CRH O’Regan) single bands are applied once a week for several weeks. This is done as an outpatient in the doctor’s office. Multiple bands can also be placed right after a colonoscopy or other endoscopic procedure while you are still sedated. This would be done in an outpatient surgery center or hospital procedure room. Bands can also be placed without another procedure.
Depending on the doctor and your individual situation, it could be with or without sedation. While rubber band ligation works for most patients, it doesn’t work all the time. Also, there are some potential complications – bleeding, pain and infection. Recovery can range from a day or 2 to 6 weeks.
In this procedure, hot light is applied to the base of the hemorrhoid to seal it off. This is usually done in a surgery center but can be done in the office.
The advantages include:
- High success rate in small or medium hemorrhoids
- Very rapid recovery
- Very low risk of any complications
Usually, your recovery is complete as soon as the procedure is finished. There may be a second treatment required if the first treatment does not work.
Actually, laser treatment is not done any more. It was similar in principle to infrared coagulation, but the equipment is much more complicated and expensive.
This uses electrical energy to cauterize the hemorrhoids. While it is effective, it can be a painful treatment.
Radiofrequency Hemorrhoid Ligation
This method uses a probe to grasp the hemorrhoid and then cauterize it using high frequency electricity (HETTM) . Experience with this technique is limited.
In the operating room, a surgeon uses a special ultrasound probe in the rectum to find the arteries supplying the hemorrhoids. Then a suture is placed around each artery to cut off the blood flow.
This is performed in the operating room and requires special equipment not commonly available. Recovery is quick and painless for most people.
This involves cutting out the hemorrhoids with a scalpel or cutting through the wall of the rectum and stapling the area shut again. This is true surgery and has a recovery period of several weeks. It can be very painful post-operatively and infection is often a problem.
However, this treatment works for the worst hemorrhoids, works when the other treatments fail, and has the longest period before the hemorrhoids come back.
Is It Common for Hemorrhoids to Reoccur?
Yes! Sometimes it takes a year or two, sometimes longer, but they can come back again after any treatment. They can even come back after surgery, but usually not for a long time.
How Do You Decide Which Hemorrhoid Therapy Is Best for You?
Everybody’s situation is different. Discuss the options with your gastroenterologist or surgeon. If they only offer one kind of treatment, they may not be selecting the best one for your hemorrhoids.
In the meantime, if you have more questions or feel your condition is urgent, contact your Temple physician or healthcare provider.
To schedule an appointment, please call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) or request an appointment online.
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Medically reviewed by Saurabh Sethi, M. D., MPH — By Scott Frothingham on October 7, 2019
Even without treatment, the symptoms of small hemorrhoids might clear up in just a few days. Chronic hemorrhoids, however, can last weeks with regular symptom flare-ups.
Keep reading to learn how to treat hemorrhoids that won’t go away and when to see a doctor.
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins around your lower rectum and anus. These veins can swell to the point that they bulge and become irritated. There are two main types of hemorrhoids:
- Internal hemorrhoids. These occur in the small arterial branches inside the rectum. They’re typically not felt or seen, but they may bleed.
- External hemorrhoids. These occur in the veins under the skin outside of the anal opening. Like internal hemorrhoids, external hemorrhoids can bleed, but because there are more nerves in the area, they tend to create discomfort.
Conditions commonly associated with chronic hemorrhoids include the following:
- A prolapsed hemorrhoid is an internal hemorrhoid that gets bigger and bulges outside the anal sphincter.
- A strangulated hemorrhoid is a prolapsed hemorrhoid with the blood supply cut off by the muscles around your anus.
- A thrombosed hemorrhoid is a clot (thrombus) that forms after blood pools in an external hemorrhoid.
If you have hemorrhoids, you’re not alone. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases estimates hemorrhoids affect about 5 percent of Americans and about 50 percent of adults over 50 years old.
If you have hemorrhoids that just won’t go away or keep reappearing, see your doctor.
Following diagnosis, your doctor might recommend treating chronic hemorrhoids with lifestyle changes, including:
- incorporating more high-fiber foods in your diet
- increasing your daily consumption of water and other nonalcoholic beverages
- limiting your time sitting on the toilet
- avoiding straining during bowel movements
- avoiding heavy lifting
Your doctor may also recommend some more involved or more medicinal steps to incorporate in self-treatment, such as using:
- over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, like ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), naproxen (Aleve), or aspirin
- OTC topical treatments, such as a cream containing hydrocortisone or a pad with a numbing agent or witch hazel
- a stool softener or fiber supplement, such as methylcellulose (Citrucel) or psyllium (Metamucil)
- a sitz bath
If self-care isn’t effective in relieving your symptoms, your doctor may recommend one of a variety of procedures.
Your doctor may suggest:
- Rubber band ligation. Also called hemorrhoid banding, this procedure is used for prolapsing or bleeding hemorrhoids. Your doctor places a special rubber band around the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off its blood supply. In about a week, the banded section will shrivel and fall off.
- Electrocoagulation. Your doctor uses a special tool to deliver an electric current that shrinks a hemorrhoid by cutting off its blood supply. It’s commonly used for internal hemorrhoids.
- Infrared photocoagulation. Your doctor uses a tool that delivers infrared light to shrink a hemorrhoid by cutting off its blood supply. It’s typically used for internal hemorrhoids.
- Sclerotherapy. Your doctor injects a solution that shrinks a hemorrhoid by cutting off its blood supply. It’s typically used for internal hemorrhoids.
Your doctor may suggest:
- Hemorrhoidopexy. A surgeon uses a special stapling tool to remove internal hemorrhoid tissue, pulling a prolapsed hemorrhoid back into your anus. This procedure is also called hemorrhoid stapling.
- Hemorrhoidectomy. A surgeon surgically removes prolapsed hemorrhoids or large external hemorrhoids.
If you have hemorrhoids that won’t go away, see your doctor. They can recommend a variety of treatments, ranging from diet and lifestyle changes to procedures.
It’s important you see your doctor if:
- You’re experiencing discomfort in your anal area or have bleeding during bowel movements.
- You have hemorrhoids that don’t improve after a week of self-care.
- You have a lot of rectal bleeding and feel dizzy or lightheaded.
Don’t assume that rectal bleeding is hemorrhoids. It can also be a symptom of other diseases, including anal cancer and colorectal cancer.
Last medically reviewed on October 7, 2019
How we reviewed this article:
Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.
- American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. (n.d.). Hemorrhoids: Expanded version.
- Cleveland Clinic. (2016). Hemorrhoids.
- Harvard Health Publishing. (2019). Hemorrhoids and what to do about them.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2019). Hemorrhoids.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (n.d.). Hemorrhoids.
Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.
Oct 7, 2019
Medically Reviewed By
Saurabh Sethi, MD, MPH
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Medically reviewed by Saurabh Sethi, M.D., MPH — By Scott Frothingham on October 7, 2019
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When does Botox start to work and why does it not work? Interestingly, long before this, this drug was widely used in medicine to correct strabismus, torticollis and some other diseases. Therefore, Botox is a fairly well-studied substance.
How it works
Botulinum toxin is designed to block neuromuscular impulse transmission to the muscle from the brain, while not changing the very structure of muscles or nerves. The drug is administered subcutaneously. Botox partially paralyzes the muscles, as a result of which they stop contracting and stretching the skin. As a result, a person acquires a face without wrinkles, but with the preservation of her facial expressions.
Why Botox might not work?
The lack of results from the injection of the drug can be due to several reasons:
Injection of the drug into the wrong muscle
To obtain a successful result, it is extremely important to determine the location of the muscle and its strength.
Incorrectly calculated dosage
Thus, too low a dosage of the agent will not make it possible to achieve the desired result.
Wrong choice of drug
Botox is commonly referred to as any drug containing botulinum toxin A. There is no significant difference between the drugs, but there is a difference in duration, degree of purification, volume. For example, the Xeomin drug is considered weaker than Botox and Dysport, and if it is administered to a client after these two designated drugs, there may be no effect. It is also not recommended to mix different drugs and administer them without waiting for the complete withdrawal of the previous one.
Lack of experience, incorrect assessment of the state of tissues can lead to errors, which will negatively affect the effect of the drug.
Botulinum toxin preparations are highly sensitive to storage temperature – they can be found undiluted in the refrigerator or in the freezer. This storage regime should be observed from the manufacturer’s packaging until the dilution of botulinum toxin in the clinic with saline. However, unforeseen things can happen – improper transportation, power outages – and the effectiveness of the drug will immediately decrease significantly. This applies to all drugs except Xeomin.
Incorrect dilution of the drug
It is necessary to carefully dilute botulinum toxin with saline. With too rapid introduction of saline into the drug, a large number of bubbles and foam appear. This leads to a significant decrease in the effect of the drug.
Improper storage after reconstitution
All diluted botulinum toxin preparations must be used within 24 hours and not stored in the refrigerator for several days. Sometimes an unused diluted drug is collected in syringes and put into freezers, and when the client arrives, it is taken out and thawed. However, re-freezing of the formulations is prohibited, because the effect of the drug practically disappears.
Body produces antibodies to the drug
This situation can happen for several reasons:
- short treatment interval;
- increased dosage;
- past botulism (food poisoning containing botulinum toxin).
Botox is an effective cosmetic procedure, but it is not able to remove static wrinkles. The drug is most effective when injected into the area of the nasolabial folds, between the eyebrows, and the forehead.
An expert spoke about the dangers of using expired drugs
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Often people do not keep track of the expiration date of medicines in the home medicine cabinet and take expired medicines.
How long is it permissible to take drugs after the expiration date? What medications should not be taken in such cases? How to store medicines correctly? And how to understand that the drugs were stored incorrectly? – told about it Ekaterina Terentyeva, general practitioner, head of the medical examination department, INVITRO group of companies.
What happens to drugs after the expiration date?
Over time, the drug is exposed to temperature, moisture, sunlight and other external factors that can lead to various chemical reactions of decomposition, oxidation, and so on. These chemical interactions entail a change in the physicochemical properties of the drug. In expired medicines, the chemical properties of the components of the drug change, their medicinal qualities are destroyed. Such drugs can become hazardous to human health.
Can medicines that have expired be used? For which drugs is this unacceptable?
The expiry date is the period of time the manufacturer of the drug guarantees its effectiveness, provided that the storage conditions are observed. After the expiration date, many drugs can be used without fear for their health, but not more than two months, provided they are properly stored. However, these recommendations do not apply to all dosage forms.
All ophthalmic preparations should definitely be discarded at the expiration date, since by this time the preservative usually stops working in them and bacteria begin to multiply in the drops. It is recommended to store a printed vial of tablets for no more than a year from the moment it is opened, otherwise the risk of getting gastrointestinal problems increases. In addition, some capsules / tablets, depending on their properties, may shrink or absorb water vapor from the air, which may affect the therapeutic effect of the drug. Expired solutions for injection should not be used, as they may form toxic substances. Also, do not use injection solutions if they have changed their color or a cloudy precipitate has appeared in them, even if the expiration date is preserved – this can be extremely dangerous. Separately, it must be said about vitamins, since these low molecular weight organic compounds decompose at a high rate and at the time of the expiration date they will contain very few active substances that have a therapeutic effect.
Preparations such as nitroglycerine, insulin and antibiotics in liquid form are strongly discouraged after the expiration date.
The effectiveness of some drugs may decrease dramatically as the end date approaches.
Liquid form preparations (solutions, suspensions) have a shorter shelf life than solid form preparations (tablets, powders, capsules).
What happens if you still use after the deadline? Are poisonings possible with such drugs?
It is better not to take the risk of taking the drug after the expiration date. This is especially true for anticonvulsants, drugs that stop attacks of ischemia and angina, anticoagulants, if there is a risk of thrombosis, bronchodilators and antispasmodics, cardiotonic and antiarrhythmic drugs, drugs to stabilize the function of the thyroid gland, sedatives and hypnotics, oral contraceptives, adrenaline, insulin, antibiotics and others.
Expired medicines may not be effective or cause irreparable harm to health due to changes in their chemical composition. The consequences of taking such drugs can be an allergic reaction, poisoning, increased infection, heart failure, visual disturbances and other consequences.
Please understand that if you use expired tablets, you are solely responsible for possible side effects. At the expiration date, the effect of the drugs may differ for the worse from that provided for by the instructions. Do not use tablets that have changed their color, shape, or texture.
What to do with medicines that do not have expired dates, but were stored incorrectly?
Proper storage of medicines ensures that you are taking the right quality medicines that have the maximum therapeutic effect on the body.
It is very important to store medicines at the correct temperature. Ideally, this should be the temperature indicated in the package for the drug, but minor deviations are possible. Most drug manufacturers try to make it easier to store them, so the acceptable temperature range is quite wide. At the same time, many drugs are designed for storage at room temperature from about 15 to 22 degrees Celsius, for some drugs the temperature may be even higher, but some of them must be stored in the refrigerator. If you do not follow the storage rules, the product will become unsuitable for use much earlier than indicated on the package.
Is it true that if the tablet crumbles / does not crumble, then this means that it has retained its medicinal properties?
In addition to expiration dates and requirements for storage conditions, all medicines have external characteristics: color, haze or gloss, density, size, consistency, which make it possible to determine whether the medicine has deteriorated.
Look out for cracked, crumbling or crumbling tablets. You need to check if the color specified in the annotation has changed. If the tablets have changed color or texture, they may be harmful to health.