Colonoscopy and Hemorrhoids

During a routine physical, it is fairly common for a doctor to perform a Fecal Occult Blood test. This test is used to detect the presence of excess blood in the feces, which may be a sign of a problem in the digestive system. Blood may indicate one or more of the following conditions:

•    Hemorrhoids
•    Anal fissures
•    Polyps – either benign or cancerous
•    Ulcers
•    Colitis
•    Crohn’s Disease
•    Diverticulitis

A positive fecal occult blood test will usually require an examination that may include a colonoscopy.  A colonoscopy is an outpatient test performed by a doctor to examine the health of the lower colon and anus. The procedure is performed with a flexible tube, including either a CCD or fiber optic camera, inserted through the anus.  The doctor can manipulate the device directionally to investigate and detect abnormalities that may be suspect. The guidelines for colonoscopies were recently revised and now suggest a regular exam for anyone over the age of 50, and a follow-up exam at least every 10 years thereafter.

Colonoscopy and Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids that are manifest above the Anorectal line (internal hemorrhoids) have no nerve endings that register pain.  A person may have had internal Hemorrhoids for many years and never noticed any issues of discomfort, constricted bowel movements or pain. Bleeding may be the only sign that they exist. In this case, a colonoscopy is an effective means of diagnosing the condition.

Colonoscopy precautions:
For a person who has a current episode of external hemorrhoids, this type of exam may be painful.  Putting off the exam until the hemorrhoids have dissipated may be a wise, but consulting with your doctor before reaching any decision is prudent. A colonoscopy is not recommended for persons with either Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease since it may cause perforation of the colon tissue. In some rare cases, hemorroids may be caused through the trauma of tissue damage during the colonoscopy exam.