Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for: December, 2020

By NASHVILLE GASTROINTESTINAL SPECIALISTS
December 24, 2020
Tags: Anal Fissure  
What Is an Anal FissureDo you notice spots of bright red blood when you wipe? Do you experience anal itching? If so, these could be signs of an anal fissure. The lining of the anus is delicate and has the ability to tear, especially when straining or dealing with constipation. This is so common that gastroenterologists often see more patients presenting with anal fissures than hemorrhoids.
 
What can cause an anal fissure?
If you’ve ever had an anal fissure before you know just how uncomfortable they can be. By knowing what causes an anal fissure you may also be able to prevent one from happening in the future. A fissure typically results from trauma to the anus caused by,
  • Constipation
  • Passing hard stools or straining during a bowel movement
  • Persistent or recurring diarrhea
  • Childbirth
  • Anal intercourse
  • Crohn’s disease
How do I know that I have an anal fissure?

You may be dealing with an anal fissure if you notice pain with a bowel movement. The pain can be quite sharp and intense, and you may even experience burning or pain for hours after. Other symptoms include anal itching and drops of blood when wiping (typically bright red blood). If you notice black or dark stools, this is a sign of internal bleeding and it’s important to see a gastroenterologist right away.
 
How is an anal fissure treated?

Most fissures will heal on their own with proper care. There are things you can do to help promote healing. These include,
  • Staying hydrated and drinking lots of fluids
  • Getting daily exercise
  • Consuming a high-fiber diet
  • Avoiding straining with a bowel moment
  • Go to the bathroom when you need to (do not hold it in)
  • Relax in a Sitz bath
  • Use baby wipes rather than toilet paper (which may be too dry and rough) after a bowel movement
  • Sometimes, stool softeners and fiber supplements can be helpful
The majority of anal fissures will heal by themselves; however, if you’ve been dealing with this problem for more than eight weeks then it’s time to see a gastroenterologist for treatment. There are specific prescription creams or medications that can be used to help treat the fissure. In rare cases, surgery is needed.
 
If you are experiencing rectal bleeding or pain you must turn to a gastroenterologist to find out what’s going on, as these can also be symptoms of other more serious digestive and intestinal issues.

By NASHVILLE GASTROINTESTINAL SPECIALISTS
December 09, 2020
Category: GI Care
Tags: Hemorrhoids  
Finding Ways To Prevent HemorrhoidsProne to hemorrhoids? Here are some ways to prevent flare-ups.
 
Hemorrhoids are serious (and literal) pain in the butt. Of course, certain factors can predispose people to have hemorrhoids. If you’ve had them before chances are fairly good that you are looking for ways to make sure you never have to deal with them again. From the office of our gastroenterologists, here are some helpful tips for preventing hemorrhoids in the future.
 
Add more fiber to your diet
You might think you’re getting enough fiber in your diet, but you could be very wrong. In fact, only 1 in 20 Americans is getting the proper amount of fiber intake every day. Of course, dietary fiber isn’t just important for improving digestion, it can also help to soften stools so they are easier to pass. Fiber can also prevent constipation, which is often a cause of hemorrhoids.
 
Get Your Body Moving
Exercise provides an array of benefits, and better gut health is just one of them. Even if you aren’t prone to hemorrhoids, regular aerobic activity will increase blood flow to the intestines and stave off constipation. Just remember to wait about 1-2 hours after eating before you work out.
 
Practice Good Hygiene
How you clean down there may also affect your predisposition to hemorrhoids. Of course, you should always be practicing good personal hygiene and thoroughly cleaning after you use the bathroom. Of course, along with proper hygiene, it’s also a good idea to take a shower at least once a week in the evening right before going to bed, making sure that you are giving your backend a little extra (but gentle) cleaning.
 
Avoid Straining and Heavy Lifting
You may be surprised to discover that lifting heavy objects or straining can also put too much pressure on the anus, which can lead to hemorrhoids. While any doctor will recommend exercising for its many health benefits, you mustn’t be straining or pushing too hard.
 
Enjoy a Sitz Bath
If you do find yourself dealing with the beginnings of hemorrhoids, you may want to run a bath with Epsom salts, which can help to alleviate pain, discomfort, and inflammation. While certainly not as pleasant, a cold bath can also have positive effects, as it can both numb the area to reduce pain and also stimulate blood flow.
 
If you are dealing with painful hemorrhoids and you aren’t finding relief through home care, then it’s time to speak with a qualified gastroenterologist who can provide you with more effective strategies for soothing and easing your symptoms.