Dr. Crean On News4Jax Discussing Stress Effects (Hemorrhoids) During COVID-19
Full Transcript, Slightly Edited for Ease of Reading
News4JAX – During this time of uncertainty, with COVID-19, it’s no surprise people are dealing with much added stress. Unfortunately, that can cause health problems, including hemorrhoid flare-ups. According to Harvard Health, more than 75% of people, ages 45 and older, have had hemorrhoids with symptoms like rectal pain, itching and bleeding after a bowel movement. Joining me now with more, is Dr. Alex Crean from Memorial Hospital. Dr. Crean, thank you so much for joining us this morning
Dr. Crean – Good morning Zack thank you for having me.
News4JAX – For those of us not familiar with hemorrhoids, what are they and what causes them?
Dr. Crean – That’s a great question, I think one of the biggest barriers to care that people have is the embarrassment factor. I try to reassure them that, actually, we all have hemorrhoids. It’s part of the natural mechanism to help us control when we have bowel movements. So, it’s really just blood vessels in that anatomic area that contribute to our natural continence. Then when people “have hemorrhoids” it’s when they’re having symptoms like you mentioned already.
News4JAX – And when you say all people have them…I know we just quoted a number of people older than the age of 45, but you’re saying younger people regardless of their sex can have hemorrhoids as well.
Dr. Crean – That’s it, yeah. There’s really no predisposition between genders. And then young people, older people it depends on a lot of your bowel habits, your bathroom habits, what you do for work. Like you mentioned stress is a big component of it as well; and then constipation issues.
News4JAX – Are hemorrhoids something you can feel coming on; an onset before they come to fruition.
Dr. Crean – Definitely. Depending on if you’re having some type of change in bowel habits, the symptoms can gradually worsen over time, but there are some patients that can have really an acute flare up and can come all of a sudden as well.
News4JAX – Dr. Crean, tell me this. What can people do…what should people do if they feel them coming on or if they notice they have them?
Dr. Crean – Okay, that’s a good question. There’s a lot of stuff that patients could just do on their own or with their primary care. They can really focus on avoiding constipation. Trying to avoid any unnecessary straining. So, if you’ve been doing a lot heavy-lifting, avoid that as much as possible and then also increase your daily fiber intake; either just with fruits and vegetables or with a fiber supplement.
News4JAX – Drinking plenty of fluid. Is that something recommended by health professionals?
Dr. Crean – The more water you can drink the better it will be for the hemorrhoids .
News4JAX – Go as soon as you feel the urge. I’m reading that as I’m speaking to you. If you wait to pass a bowel movement and the urge goes away, your stool could dry and that becomes harder to pass. Is that correct?
Dr. Crean – That’s a good point. I really try to counsel patients on what I just call good bathroom habits. So, if you feel the urge to go, give it a try. But on the flip side, not to force anything. In the age now with the iPhone and iPad, I try to counsel patients not to bring that stuff into the restroom with you. Just do you what you have to do and then that’s really the only time you should spend in there and avoid any unnecessary straining.
News4JAX – Oh, that’s very Interesting. Great advice. What else should people be doing – at what point should folks go to the doctor seek medical attention for their hemorrhoids?
Dr. Crean – When the symptoms really are affecting your quality of life, I think that’s what hemorrhoid treatment is all about. It’s not about what they look like – people are worried how big they are, how small they are. If you’re having symptoms, we can change that with treatment. Either medical treatment or surgical treatment. And then if people are having bleeding, especially; if you’re getting to that age where it’s time for a colonoscopy, it’s something that should get checked out, because there’s always a small chance it could be something else other than hemorrhoids.
News4JAX – And before I let you go, I want to comment on two things – exercising and avoid sitting for long periods.
Dr. Crean – Absolutely – I agree with both of those. Exercising; just being active; it doesn’t have to be strenuous. Even just walking on a daily basis. And then prolonged sitting…if you can avoid it. Unfortunately, we’ve been sitting around a lot with the coronavirus pandemic, but if you can get up and about. Just to reassure people as well, at Memorial Hospital with our group, that we’re taking a lot of precautions for screening and prevention to make sure that we’re as safe as possible.
News4JAX – And if people are interested in that screening and those preventive tips and measures, where can they go to find out more information.
Dr. Crean – You can come to our office or you can come to our website.
News4JAX – Dr. Crean, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us this morning.
Dr. Crean – Thank you so much. Have a great weekend.