The Common Causes of Anal Itching | Minneapolis & St Paul

Anal itching, also called anal pruritus is a common symptom in the office visit in Minnesota. The symptom often fluctuates over time. 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 and thick with fine fissures.

Possible causes of anal itching include:

Hemorrhoids: Anal itching can be an initial symptom of hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids usually cause local inflammation. The skin folds, anal tags and external hemorrhoids make cleansing difficult.

Skin irritation: The local inflammation caused by hemorrhoids and anal leakage cause moisture around anus, and moisture and friction can irritate the skin in the peri-anal area. Some products such as soap and toilet paper may also trigger irritation.

Digestive problems: Diarrhea or fecal leakage can cause anal irritation and itching.

Skin disease: Anal itching could be related to a specific skin disease, such as psoriasis or contact dermatitis.

Infections: STD, yeast infections, and the parasite may also involve the anus and can cause anal itching.

Anal tumors: Rarely, a cause of anal itching.

Treatments for anal itching include:
1. Keep the peri-anal area dry and clean
2. Avoid scratching skin
3. Taking antihistamine as a sedative prior to sleeping to prevent the patient from unconsciously scratching
4. Using a topical cream such as Preparation H cream or corticosteroid cream to alleviate the itching.
5. Treat the underlying disorders such as hemorrhoids after thorough evaluation.

Hemorrhoid Prevention Measures | Minneapolis & St Paul

There are many ways to prevent the hemorrhoids for the patients in Minnesota.

One of the best ways to avoid hemorrhoids or a flare up is to avoid constipation by keeping your stools soft. Eating a diet that is high in fiber such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains are recommended. Taking a fiber supplement every day, such as Citrucel or Metamucil, can help keep bowel movements regular. Drinking enough fluids is equally as important so that your urine is light yellow or clear. Water is the best form of hydration.

Daily exercise is also great to help the bowel move through your digestive system and prevent you from becoming constipated. Moderate activity of at least 30 minutes 3-4 times per week is recommended.

Scheduling time each day for a bowel movement and keeping it a daily routine may help. Take your time and do not strain when having a bowel movement, because it is the straining that makes hemorrhoids worse or cause the rupture of varicose veins and thrombosis. Straining and holding your breath when trying to pass a stool creates greater pressure in the veins in the lower rectum.

Avoid frequent heavy lifting and obesity may reduce the chance of hemorrhoid development.

Lastly, once you feel the urge, it is important to go because if you wait to pass a bowel movement, the urge goes away and your stool could become dry and be harder to pass.

History of Hemorrhoid | Minneapolis & St Paul

As early as 2250 BC hemorrhoids have been recorded in literature to some extent. It would probably be safe to say that it is one of the oldest ailments known to people. The Egyptians were the first people who medically recorded the remedies for hemorrhoids. They used a poultice of dried acacia leaves with a linen bandage to heal protrusions and inflammations of venous material. A Greek physician named Hippocrates also wrote about hemorrhoids describing it as bile or phlegm which is determined to be the veins in the rectum. He treated the anal protusions very crudely avocating pulling the tissue off with the finger tips, or pulling the veins upward, while someone puts a hot iron to the hemorrhoid and burns it off. The first recorded endoscopy (use of speculum to inspect the rectum)can also be credited to Hippocrates. Even the bible has records of hemorrhoids in the earliest times from the Old Testament Book of Samuel 5:9 Philistines, “punished with emerods” and Samuel 5:12, “People who moved the Ark to Ekron were punished with emerods”.

One of the earliest known hemorrhoid treatments was with the aloe vera plant. Dioscorides, a Roman physician started using that to treat inflamed hemorrhoids. Then approximately 130-200 AD a Roman physician named Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Galen) prescribed ointment, laxatives, and leeches for hemorrhoids treatment. During the same time period in India, the use of clamp and cautery was used to get rid of hemorrhoids and control bleeding.

Between the 5th and 10th Century, Byzantine physicians used thread to ligate the base of the hemorrhoid and then followed by its amputation.

In 1935, Doctors E.T.C. Milligan and C. Naughton Morgan further studied the excision and ligation methods, which later became the gold standard in hemorrhoidectomy.

In the 1960s, banding of larger hemorrhoids was introduced with rubber band ligation.

In the 1970s, cryotheraphy, diathermy, and laser cauteries were developed for treatment.

In the 1990s, Stapled Hemorrhoidopexy, also known as Procedure for Prolapse & Hemorrhoids (PPH) was first described by an Italian surgeon – Dr. Antonio Longo, and since then has been widely adopted to treat the grade 3 and 4 hemorrhoids. Moreover, Another non surgical procedure, called Infra-red coagulation (IRC) was developed to treat the early stage of hemorrhoids.

The Management of Anal Tags | Minneapolis & St Paul

Have you been using too much toilet paper because of pesky anal tags? Hemorrhoidal skin tags are flaps of skin or flesh found around the anus. They often form as a result of an existing hemorrhoid.

Anal tags are the shapeless lumps and flaps of skin and tissue found at the anal verge. They’re quite common and usually come with other anorectal problems, such as hemorrhoids.

Anal skin tags often occur if an individual heals the thrombosed external hemorrhoids at home without surgery, the thrombosed hemorrhoids may leave behind skin tags. Anal sentinel tags may also form because of non-hemorrhoid causes, such as anal fissure, surgery, or infection, etc.

Despite the fact that people often confuse them with cancerous growths, skin tags are benign and present no serious health concerns.

Hemorrhoidal skin tags often don’t cause significant rectal symptoms, but they often affect the cleansing after bowel movement. If feces become trapped beneath the skin tags, it can cause irritation and lead to itching and further inflammation. Skin tags can also cause pain when it flairs up or if there’s another underlying rectal problem.

Patients suffering discomfort or itching due to hemorrhoidal skin tags can treat the condition with the following:

  • Thorough cleaning of the affected area after bowel movement. May use gentle cleansers, such as witch hazel or aloe vera extract.
  • Do a Sitz bath with warm water.
  • May use OTC hemorrhoid cream to reduce irritation and swelling.
  • If the skin tags frequently cause symptoms, individuals may consider having them removed surgically.
  • Most patients who have anal tags often have hemorrhoids, too, they should consider complete care by treating internal hemorrhoids before removal of anal tags or at the same time.

Excision of anal tags:
Anal tags can easily be removed in the office using local anesthetic. A radiofrequency device is used to get rid of skin tabs and resurface the anal area to acquire a good cosmetic result. The procedure takes less than 10 minutes and patients are safe to drive immediately afterwards. There may be mild postoperative pain and discomfort with bowel movement in the first week. The patients are typically able to go back to work next day although the whole healing process may take a few weeks. If the patient needs a hemorrhoidectomy, anal tags can be removed together as part of hemorrhoidectomy. If the anal tag is extensive, two stages of surgery may be necessary to avoid anal stenosis.

Hemorrhoids 101 | Minnesota

Believe it or not, everyone has had a normal hemorrhoidal tissue in their rectum and anus. It’s only when your hemorrhoidal veins enlarge and become varicose veins that they’re considered abnormal or diseased.

There are three types of hemorrhoids – internal, external, and mixed hemorrhoids that consist of both internal and external. External hemorrhoids are those that occur outside the anal verge and affect bowel cleansing after one’s bowel movement, causing skin irritation and itching. A thrombosed external hemorrhoid is usually very painful due to rupture of one’s varicose veins, which causes blood clots and is often accompanied with swelling and pain. These external hemorrhoids are typically treated with either an incision or removal of the clot, or with an external hemorrhoidectomy performed under local anesthesia.

Internal hemorrhoids are graded from I to IV based on the degree of prolapse. Grade I hemorrhoids bulge with defecation; grade II lesions also bulge with defecation, but then recede spontaneously. Grade III hemorrhoids require digital replacement after prolapsing, while grade IV hemorrhoids cannot be replaced once prolapsed. There are many treatment options for internal hemorrhoids that vary based on the severity of each case, including infrared coagulation, rubber band ligation and hemorrhoidectomy.

Infrared coagulation (IRC) is a fast and effective non-surgical solution for hemorrhoid treatment!

A hemorrhoid is a common illness that numerous Minnesotans suffer from. Approximately three out of four people will develop hemorrhoids at some time in their lives. While many people associate hemorrhoid treatments with painful surgery, only a small percentage of hemorrhoid patients actually require hemorrhoidectomy. A fast and simple non-surgical office procedure has taken the fear out of hemorrhoid treatments. The majority of hemorrhoid patients are good candidates for non-surgical Infrared coagulation (IRC) treatments.

What is Infrared Coagulation (IRC)?
IRC is a FDA approved office procedure that uses infrared light to treat symptomatic internal hemorrhoids, and it takes just a couple of minutes for each treatment. IRC is a safe, fast, and effective solution for hemorrhoids. Therefore, IRC has quickly become the most widely used office procedure for hemorrhoid clinics and is preferred over other methods because it is fast, effective, well-tolerated by patients, and rarely has complications.

A small light probe contacts the area above the hemorrhoid complex under direct view, exposing the tissue to a burst of infrared light for about 1.5 second. This coagulates the veins above the hemorrhoid, causing it to shrink.
With IRC, hemorrhoid doctor can effectively coagulate the insensitive area right above the hemorrhoids and destroy these small veins. In this way, the sensitive and painful area is avoided, and IRC becomes a very tolerable treatment.

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

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.

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.

The resulting scar tissue cuts off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid venous complex. This causes the hemorrhoid complex to shrink and die. It may take a few weeks for all the hemorrhoids to shrink completely. Moreover, the scar tissue acts to hold nearby hemorrhoid veins in place so they don’t bulge into the anal canal easily and become hemorrhoids as you age.

Each IRC treatment only takes a couple of minutes. You may need as many as four separate treatment sessions every two weeks to cover all the areas where hemorrhoids appear, but this depends on each individual case and how extensive your hemorrhoids are.

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.

The Easy Hemorrhoid Care™ (EHC) – a New and Elevated level of Care Delivery System for Hemorrhoid Treatment | 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.

The Common Causes of Minor Rectal Bleeding | Minneapolis & St Paul

Minor rectal bleeding is one of the common symptoms that the Minnesotan patients seek for the medical care. It refers to the passage of small amount of bright red and fresh blood from the rectum and anus, which may appear on the surface of stool, on the toilet paper or in the toilet bowl.

This blog mainly discusses on the conditions with minor rectal bleeding that occurs intermittently. Rectal bleeding can be caused by various conditions, but even the slightest amount of bleeding should be taken seriously. Common causes of minor bleeding are internal hemorrhoids, ruptured thrombosed external hemorrhoids, fissures, fistula, diverticulosis, colon cancer, colitis, and polyps. 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 minor rectal bleeding is determined by history, physical examination and endoscopies. In the initial office visit, your doctor may inspect the anus visually to look for anal warts, anal fissures, cancer or external hemorrhoids, and followed by the digital examination with a gloved, lubricated finger and then anoscopy to look for abnormalities and sources of bleeding in the lower rectum and anal canal. If indicated, your doctor may also perform endoscopies, either sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.

Anoscopy is a rectal exam with a very short (3 to 4 inch) rigid metal tube to examine the lower rectum and anal canal, it is very useful when your doctor suspects hemorrhoids, anal fissures and other anorectal diseases.

A flexible sigmoidoscopy is to uses a short (24 inches) and flexible tube with a camera to examine the lower colon and rectum.

Colonoscopy is a test that examines the lining of the entire colon for abnormal growths, such as polyps or cancer. A long tube is passed into your bowel, and a light on the end allows the examiner to see the inside of the bowel. If anything abnormal is found, a small biopsy will be done, and polyps or growths can be removed.

The management of minor rectal bleeding mainly focuses on the treatments of the underlying diseases.

Treatment of External Thrombosed hemorrhoids | Minneapolis & St Paul

External hemorrhoids occur outside the anal verge. Thrombosed external hemorrhoids occur if varicose veins rupture and blood clots develop. It is often accompanied by swelling with a bluish-purplish discoloration and severe incapacitating pain.

The symptoms may improve in some patients with conservative nonsurgical treatment – the anal care I coined includes stool softeners, increased dietary fiber, increased fluid intake, warm Sitz baths, and analgesia. For most patients, surgical excision is often more effective and efficient in treating thrombosed external hemorrhoids. Surgical excision is an office-based procedure performed under local anesthesia. This safe office procedure offers low complication and recurrence rates and high levels of patient satisfaction.

Procedure
After cleaning the anal area with an antiseptic, lidocaine with epinephrine is locally injected in the surgical area. The thrombosed hemorrhoid is unroofed by making an elliptical incision in the hemorrhoid, then the blood clots are removed, and the procedure is finished for a simple case. 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. The external hemorrhoidectomy may be performed, then the hemorrhoidal tissue with blood clots is removed together, and the bleeding in the wound is stopped with a cautery. The wound in the anal area is covered with sterile gauze.

Postoperative Care
The patient will be instructed to do anal care measures, including warm Sitz baths three times a day for 15-30 minutes at a time. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen should be used for pain control. The patient should remain well hydrated and take a stool softener to keep stool soft.

Complications
Common complications of thrombosed external hemorrhoid excision include pain, bleeding, infection and delayed healing. A perianal skin tag could develop in some patients. Stricture and incontinence are extremely rare complications.

Why can’t Single Treatment Modality Fix All Hemorrhoids? | Minnesota

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 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.

No single treatment modality can fix all hemorrhoids or get rid of anorectal symptoms. Specialized hemorrhoid clinics should be able to offer multiple treatment modalities with cutting edge technologies to cure hemorrhoids and associated diseases.

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.

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
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.

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