“Hemorrhoids” is a common complaint, referring to symptoms such as rectal bleeding, perianal itching, anal pain, prolapse, and mucus discharge. After the age of 50, approximately 50% of people will experience symptoms due to hemorrhoidal disease. About 1 million Americans develop hemorrhoidal symptoms each year. Common causes of hemorrhoidal disease include straining during bowel movements or activity; a low fiber diet; diarrhea; older age; and pregnancy. Prolonged time sitting on the toilet is a notorious source of hemorrhoid problems.
Hemorrhoids are actually a normal part of the anal anatomy. Internal hemorrhoids are the anal cushions—the blood vessels and soft tissue—located in the anal canal. These anal cushions are thought to contribute to maintaining our continence—our ability to hold stool until we reach the toilet—and to allowing us to discriminate between liquid and solid stool and gas.
Treatments for hemorrhoidal disease have been sought for centuries. Even the ancient Egyptian papyri (1100-1200 BC) listed topical remedies for hemorrhoidal complaints. The management of hemorrhoidal complaints begins with diet modification and a change in toilet habits. Among the office-based procedures are rubber band ligation and sclerotherapy. Certain individuals may instead require a surgical procedure such as an excisional hemorrhoidectomy, stapled hemorrhoidopexy (PPH), or Doppler-guided hemorrhoidal artery ligation (DG-HAL). This webchat will review hemorrhoidal disease and explore the various treatment options, both surgical and non-surgical, available for hemorrhoid sufferers.
About the Speaker
Ursula Szmulowicz, MD, FASCRS is a staff surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic in the Digestive Disease Institute. She is board certified in General Surgery and in Colon and Rectal Surgery. Her specialty interests include anal dysplasia and cancer, HPV-related disease, anorectal disease, pelvic floor disorders, and colonoscopy.
Dr. Szmulowicz received her Doctorate in Medicine from the New York University School of Medicine in 2000. She completed a General Surgery residency at Indiana University from 2000 to 2005. Her fellowship in Colon and Rectal Surgery was completed at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center from 2005 to 2006.
Dr. Szmulowicz is active as a fellow in the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. She has authored several book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles. She has been an invited speaker at national and international conferences.
To make an appointment with Ursula Szmulowicz, MD, or any of the other specialists in our Digestive Disease Institute at Cleveland Clinic, please call 216.444.7000 (or toll-free 1.800.223.2273, ext. 47000). You can also visit us online at www.clevelandclinic.org/digestive.
This Health Chat will open on
Monday, October 22, 2012
to allow you to submit questions. We will try to answer as many questions as possible during the chat. Please create an account to attend the chat and submit your questions.