Note: If you are actually suffering from a serious, constant hemorrhoid pain that simply doesn’t go away with any traditional treatment, go to urgent care and see a doctor NOW! And also, feel free to ignore the story and skip to the end of this post for the treatment my doctor recommended.
Over the past two weeks I’ve learned a newfound respect for the casual phrase “pain in the ass.” I don’t think it will ever mean the same thing to me again. I guess it’s almost funny to write about… now. But I definitely wasn’t laughing a few days ago at this time. In fact it was quite the opposite, I was literally crying from the constant, debilitating pain, and the sense of hopelessness it made me feel.
No doubt many people have suffered from hemorrhoids in the past. If you’ve ever had that scratchy, itchy sometimes stinging pain in that area, like there’s a fire burning in your behind, you know what I mean. Possibly, like me, you didn’t really even associate it with the term “hemorrhoids” – generally for me I’d feel it a few times during bowel movements, and sure it might hurt bad for a while, but it would go away in minutes, and then fade in a day or two. It began the same way for me this time, but when I was showering and trying to clean the area, I noticed a rather large bump/growth, which of course scared the crap out of me. No pun intended. I tried to clean it rigorously with soap and water the first few days; in retrospect, I’m wondering now if that just made it worse.
By around the 4th day, I was feeling pain down there nearly all the time. It was still bearable but very uncomfortable to say the least. I bought some Preparation H at the store, hoping for some easy, immediate relief. But no go, it was pretty much worthless. Finally, I got on the internet and read up on the term hemorrhoids, and the descriptions I read sounded exactly like what I was dealing with, so I started reading up on the treatment options. Most of it was similar. Get more exercise (huh? did I mention I could barely walk?), eat more fiber, take warm baths (preferably with epsom salt), take pain killers. Seemed like the consensus was that only in extreme cases you might need to have it surgically taken care of, but otherwise in general it would take a week or two to gradually go away on its own. I tried all the easy stuff mentioned above but it still kept getting worse.
By the end of last week, I could barely walk anymore. I could only move in small baby steps, and with every step came a sharp pain. Sitting down hurt, standing up hurt, coughing/sneezing/laughing, even slightly bending my knees hurt. Essentially any slight movement caused pain. I can’t even describe how horrible it got when I actually had a bowel movement, I was literally screaming and cursing – then for minutes even after the movement ended, I was stunned and doubled over in pain. I couldn’t even move, all I could do was stand there, knowing I still had to face the next pain of trying to clean the area. This was on top of the constant, endless, droning regular pain. The only time I didn’t feel the constant attacks was when I was sitting in my car, don’t ask me why. Somehow the shape and positioning made me feel OK. Unfortunately getting in and out of the car was excruciating.
I decided something was really wrong, and it was time to try to get in to talk to my doctor. I called in and was told I’d get a call back to let me know if he could see me. I waited and waited but nothing. So I went into work and toughed it out. By mid-afternoon I lost my patience and called again, only to be told my doctor wasn’t even working that afternoon. Grrrrr. However, they told me he’d be working the walk-in (urgent care) the next day (Saturday). So I figured I’d just wait and do that the next morning. Of course things got progressively worse and the pain just got worse. The whole evening and night was torture, and even while trying to sleep, any slight movement would cause enough pain to jolt me awake. Some of you may remember the bout with tooth pain incident I had a while back; this has been the only thing that has ever compared. The pain was probably worse in that case, as it felt like it would jolt directly into my eyes – but this had the secondary effects of not being able to walk around, and of course it was all just very embarassing and disgusting to me, which made it that much more difficult.
Finally I got to the doctor. He examined me very briefly, and said it was borderline that it might need operating on. He gave me a referral for surgery but it said something like “may take up to 3 weeks to schedule” so I was pretty skeptical. He kept calling it “angry” during the exam, which was actually kind of funny, but yeah, it certainly felt like someone was angry and punishing me with pain all day long. He then grabbed a napkin and started scribbling down his treatment suggestions, about 5 or 6 items which I’ll list below at the end for those interested.
Ultimately I believe the best call he made was guessing there might be an infection. I did everything he suggested, but within 4-6 hours after taking antibiotics, the constant pain had just subsided. Now maybe that was just coincidence and it was one of the other things, but given a similar experience with the tooth situation, I’m about 99% convinced the infection was what was causing the worst of it.
Bear in mind this is something that wasn’t mentioned in most of the things I read online, so it bears repeating. If you are feeling a really un-natural and constant pain, it just might be an infection that has taken it to the next level, so to speak, and getting antibiotics may be the best way to deal with it. I think the thing with “pain” in general is, there’s just no way to convey it to someone else, even a doctor. There’s no way for them to gauge what your threshold is, whether you might be exaggerating, or what you really mean when you say its constant or sharp or whatever. I’m sure that just makes it hard to diagnose and treat in cases like this. In any case, after it kicked in, I was suddenly able to walk around again. I’ve never been so relieved and appreciative of just the simple act of being able to get around my own house, or even something as simple as bending down to pick up something that had dropped.
It’s now been 3 days since I saw the doctor, and things seem to be getting better. I can get around almost normally, though I still feel it. I also have some general pain/itchiness, particularly after a bowel movement, so I’m hopeful that it won’t get any worse and I won’t need the surgery option. I’m continuing with most the stuff he told me to do for at least a week.
The moral of the story? Listen to your body, and don’t wait/delay to see the doctor when you sense something is really not right. You’d think I would have learned this after the tooth incident. I was lucky because I generally tend to avoid doctors, and I’m not sure I would have gone to the walk-in if I didn’t know my personal doctor was going to be there. Sometimes I’m stupidly stubborn about things like this, and as I mentioned, there’s always a bit of embarassment factor attached to this kind of thing. I’m just thankful that worked out the way it did, and that he prescribed the antibiotics.
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MY DOCTOR’S TREATMENT SUGGESTIONS:
1 – Bactrim (prescribed anti-biotic)
2 – Sitz bath 15-20 minutes with HOT water, 2-4 times a day (purchasable at Walgreen’s/Rite-Aid, etc) – I recommend adding Epsom salt too
3 – Proctosol (prescribed hydrocortisone cream)
4 – Tuck’s Pads (purchasable over the counter, has Witch Hazel)
5 – 100mg Coldace twice a day (over the counter, stool softener)
6 – Milk of Magnesia (I didn’t use this)