Virtually everyone is familiar with the symptoms of hemorrhoids such as burning, itching, pain and bleeding. Because hemorrhoids are so common, a lot of people are tempted to self diagnose when they experience any of these symptoms, just assuming that they probably have hemorrhoids.
However, when it comes to hemorrhoids or other colon diseases, self diagnosing is definitely not a good idea. The biggest reason that self diagnosing is a bad idea is because there are several other serious colorectal diseases that can have symptoms that are very similar to hemorrhoids. The most serious of these colon diseases is colon cancer, but other diseases or problems include polyps, which may become cancerous, fissures, fistulas and tumors. Because of the potential health risks of these other colon diseases, making an appointment with your doctor and setting up an exam is highly recommended.
There a few ways that your doctor can diagnose your hemorrhoids while ruling out these other conditions. As embarrassing as it may be, this exam is absolutely essential. Your doctor will most likely do a quick visual exam followed by a more intensive exam such as a proctoscopy, anoscopy or colonoscopy. The proctoscopy uses a scope that is slightly longer than the one used during the anoscopy which can only view the last two inches of the anal canal. The biggest benefit of the anoscopy is that it can be performed at any time while both the proctoscopy and the colonoscopy require a patient to undergo a day of colon cleaning in order to empty the colon so that the hemorrhoids doctor can get a better view.
Once people get over the age of 50, regular colonoscopies are recommended as a preventative measure even for people without hemorrhoids. The colonoscopy allows for a complete view of the colon making it the most thorough of all the colon exams.
Although hemorrhoids are an embarrassing condition to discuss with a doctor, it’s essential that you do. There has been a lot of press lately about the importance of regular colon screening and there’s no doubt that with better preventative care, less people would die from this deadly disease. If caught early enough, colon cancer is very treatable; this is why early diagnosing is so essential. Also, the sooner you get properly diagnosed, the sooner you can start with hemroid treatment and potentially avoid complications.
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