Tips for Stressing Less This Back-to-School Season

Back-to-school season represents the end of summer vacation. It also brings new challenges that frequently cause stress for individuals of all ages.

Fortunately, there are lots of ways to stay calm, cool and collected during back-to-school season, including:

Identify and Address the Signs of Stress

This back-to-school season, keep an eye out for any signs of stress. That way, an individual can alleviate stress before it gets out of hand.

Remember, stress comes in a variety of forms. These include:

  • Behavioral Changes: Forgetfulness, insomnia, temper tantrums and other behavioral changes are common signs of stress.
  • Emotional Issues: Mood swings, low self-esteem and other emotional problems are often related to stress.
  • Physical Problems: Fatigue, headaches and other physical issues may be linked to stress.
  • Psychological Problems: Anxiety, depression and other physiological problems may occur due to stress.

Back-to-school stress may happen due to one or more of the aforementioned factors. For those who are struggling with back-to-school stress, it may be beneficial to discuss their concerns and questions with a loved one. Consulting with a doctor also may be helpful, as this medical professional can help a patient develop a successful stress management strategy.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Let’s face it – back-to-school season may lead to restless nights. Yet there are several things a person can do to make a good night’s sleep a regular occurrence. These include:

  • Avoid Caffeinated Beverages Close to Bedtime: Caffeine stimulates the nervous system, which may make it tough for the body to relax at night. As such, people should avoid consuming coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages in the late-afternoon and evening.
  • Create a Comfortable Bedroom: A bedroom’s setup should be conducive to a good night’s sleep. Therefore, it is important to remove any bright lights and minimize external noise in a bedroom that otherwise can interfere with a person’s ability to enjoy restful sleep.
  • Relax Before Bedtime: Scrolling through social media websites, texting on a smartphone or tablet or playing video games before bedtime often stimulates the mind. On the other hand, reading a book, taking a hot bath or using other relaxation methods may help a person calm down and get the Zzz’s that he or she needs at bedtime.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends children between the ages of 6 and 13 get between nine and 11 hours of sleep each night. Comparatively, the NSF recommends kids between the ages of 14 and 17 get between eight and 10 hours of sleep and adults get seven to nine hours of sleep. If a person follows the NSF’s sleep guidelines, he or she could enjoy sufficient sleep every night and put back-to-school stress to rest.

Exercise Regularly

There is a direct correlation between exercise and stress reduction. In fact, exercise delivers a number of stress-relieving benefits, and these include:

  • Increased Endorphin Production: Exercise boosts the production of endorphins, i.e. the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Thus, even taking a few minutes to walk, play and enjoy other physical activities may help a person instantly increase his or her endorphin levels.
  • Reduced Tension: Exercise may help a person take his or her mind off of back-to-school season stress. Therefore, those who are struggling with the hustle-and-bustle of the back-to-school season can exercise to simultaneously take a break from their everyday activities and minimize tension.
  • Enhanced Mood: Exercise helps a person improve his or her mood. It also helps reduce the risk of anxiety, depression and insomnia – all of which may affect parents and kids more frequently during the back-to-school season.

As the summer comes to an end and the hot temperatures subside, now may be the perfect time to get into a regular exercise routine. With an exercise regimen in place, parents and kids may be better equipped than ever before to stay active and manage back-to-school stress.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

The foods a person eats every day can have far-flung effects on his or her stress levels. If an individual prioritizes his or her diet during back-to-school season, he or she may be able to eat healthy and limit stress throughout the school year.

Many foods have been shown to help individuals combat stress. These foods include:

  • Avocados: Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, avocados have been shown to help people minimize stress, as well as improve mood and bolster concentration.
  • Fish: Like avocados, fish is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that help people reduce stress.
  • Milk: Drinking a glass of warm milk before bedtime has a relaxing effect on the body. Also, the calcium and vitamin D in milk often helps stabilize a person’s mood and relax the muscles.

Additionally, those who want to embark on dietary changes to alleviate back-to-school stress may want to consult with a doctor. By doing so, an individual can receive the support that he or she needs to develop and maintain a healthy diet both now and in the future.

Schedule a Sports Physical

Back-to-school season means youth sports are kicking off for many kids across the United States. Approximately 38 million kids participate in organized youth sports, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, there is always a risk that a child will get hurt or sick during an organized sports activity. Yet parents who take a proactive approach to sports physicals can help their kids prepare accordingly.

A sports physical enables parents to determine if it is safe for a child to participate in a particular sport. During the evaluation, a doctor learns about a child’s medical history and performs a physical examination. If a doctor still has questions about a child’s well-being after the assessment, he or she may then request a follow-up exam or additional tests.

For parents or kids who are worried about sports injuries, the La Peer Health Systems team can help. Our expert outpatient care physicians learn about each patient and provide him or her with a personalized treatment plan. They next will work with a patient to put his or her treatment plan into action and ensure this individual can achieve the optimal results.

Schedule a Consultation with the La Peer Team Today

When it comes to receiving comprehensive medical treatment, there is no need to stress. At La Peer, our outpatient care physicians diagnose and treat a wide range of medical conditions – everything from bunions to osteoarthritis. Plus, our physicians dedicate the necessary time and resources to educate patients about various medical conditions and help them make informed treatment decisions. To find out more, please contact us today at 855.360.9119 to schedule a consultation with one of our physicians.

How to Heal After ACL Reconstructive Surgery

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructive surgery stabilizes the tibia bone (shinbone), prevents the tibia bone from sliding forward on the femur (thighbone) and stops the femur from sliding backward. It is a complex procedure, and as such, often requires a lengthy recovery process to ensure proper healing.

At La Peer Health Systems, our orthopedic surgeons help patients streamline the ACL reconstructive surgery recovery process. As part of our commitment to providing exceptional care and support, we are offering the following tips to help patients heal properly following ACL reconstructive surgery:

Participate in Physical Therapy

ACL reconstructive surgery actually begins prior to treatment. At this point, patients may perform physical therapy exercises to strengthen the leg and ACL muscles.

Physical therapy may be required for several weeks prior to ACL reconstructive surgery. A physical therapist usually works with an ACL reconstructive surgery patient and teaches him or her assorted leg and ACL exercises. Then, the patient performs these exercises with a physical therapist or at home.

ACL reconstructive surgery pre-rehabilitation exercises simultaneously reduce knee pain and swelling and increase range of motion in the knee. Failure to perform these exercises may slow down the healing process following ACL reconstructive surgery. Perhaps worst of all, ACL reconstructive surgery patients who ignore these exercises may struggle to regain full range of motion in the knee after treatment.

Follow the RICE Model

ACL reconstructive surgery patients may experience pain and swelling in the days following treatment. Patients who follow the “RICE model,” however, can alleviate these issues.

The RICE model offers a simple process to help ACL reconstructive surgery patients manage knee pain and swelling. It involves four steps:

  • Rest: Get plenty of rest. Also, use crutches as needed and avoid placing too much weight on the knee.
  • Ice: Ice the knee frequently; it generally helps to ice the knee at least every 2 hours for 20 minutes at a time.
  • Compression: Place a compression wrap or elastic bandage around the knee.
  • Elevation: Lie down and use pillows to elevate the knee.

In addition to the RICE model, physical therapy sessions following ACL reconstructive surgery may be beneficial. These treatment sessions help ACL reconstructive surgery patients strengthen the muscles around the knee, as well as improve knee flexibility.

Practice Proper Wound Care

An ACL reconstructive surgery patient will leave a treatment center with dressing and a bandage around his or her knee. The dressing and bandage should not be removed until an orthopedic surgeon indicates it is safe to do so; otherwise, a patient risks infection.

Furthermore, an ACL reconstructive surgery patient will need to wrap his or her leg in plastic when showering or bathing. This may be required until an orthopedic surgeon removes stitches around the treatment area.

Manage Post-Surgery Pain

Pain is normal following ACL reconstructive surgery. And in some instances, an orthopedic surgeon will prescribe medication to help an ACL reconstructive surgery patient minimize post-treatment pain.

To manage post-treatment pain with a prescription medication, an ACL reconstructive surgery patient should follow an orthopedic surgeon’s instructions. A patient should fill the prescription after treatment, along with notify the surgeon if he or she experiences nausea, drowsiness or any other side effects.

Avoid Work and Other Strenuous Activities

The first few weeks after ACL reconstructive surgery are crucial to ensure a successful recovery. For those who work a physically demanding job, it is important to take time off from work. This allows an ACL reconstructive surgery patient to focus on treatment recovery and limit the risk of further injury.

Most ACL reconstructive surgery patients should expect to be out of work for a few days or weeks after treatment. Patients will need to elevate the knee and keep their knee bandage clean and dry during this period.

An orthopedic surgeon may provide a patient with simple exercises to perform in the initial days after an ACL reconstructive procedure, too. These exercises are designed to help keep blood flowing to the leg and reduce the risk of clotting.

Begin to Put Weight on the Knee

An ACL reconstructive surgery patient may be required to use crutches for seven to 10 days following treatment. Next, when the patient is comfortable, he or she can start to put weight on the knee.

Typically, an ACL reconstructive surgery patient can begin to put weight on his or her knee approximately two weeks after treatment. In some instances, a patient may require up to eight weeks before he or she regains full use of the knee.

An orthopedic surgeon may fit an ACL reconstructive surgery patient for a special knee brace as well. The brace is set to enable a patient to move only a certain amount in all directions. Meanwhile, an orthopedic surgeon will respond to a patient’s concerns or questions about the brace and explain how it works and how to remove it.

Follow a Rehabilitation Plan

An orthopedic surgeon crafts a custom rehabilitation plan for each ACL reconstructive surgery patient. By following this plan, a patient can ensure his or her recovery stays on track.

ACL reconstructive surgery recovery varies based on a patient’s age, health and other factors. On average, an ACL reconstructive surgery rehabilitation program may range from two to six months. In some instances, the program may extend beyond six months.

Regardless of how long an ACL reconstructive surgery rehabilitation program requires to complete, it is paramount to maintain constant communication with an orthopedic surgeon. If a patient experiences any signs of infection or has ACL reconstructive surgery recovery concerns, this surgeon can provide immediate assistance.

Return to Physical Activities

An orthopedic surgeon sets ACL reconstructive surgery recovery milestones that a patient needs to reach before he or she can resume certain physical activities. Although it may be tempting to rush back to playing football, jogging and performing other physical activities, an ACL reconstructive surgery patient must meet an orthopedic surgeon’s recovery milestones before resuming these activities. That way, a patient can minimize the risk of future knee injuries.

Remember, the goal of ACL reconstructive surgery is to help an individual repair his or her knee and regain full range of motion in the knee. If a patient collaborates with an orthopedic surgeon throughout the recovery process, this individual can get the help that he or she needs to safely resume various physical activities as quickly as possible.

Schedule an ACL Reconstructive Surgery Consultation with a La Peer Orthopedic Surgeon

La Peer’s orthopedic surgeons teach patients about all aspects of ACL reconstructive surgery. By doing so, they help patients prepare for ACL reconstructive surgeries and achieve the best-possible recovery results. To find out more about ACL reconstructive surgery, please contact us today at 855.360.9119 to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic surgeons

Why Hip Arthroscopy Is Here to Stay

Hip arthroscopy helps orthopedic surgeons analyze and diagnose patients’ hip problems. The procedure is proven to be safe and effective, and as such, is quickly becoming a top choice for orthopedic surgeons and patients alike.

What Is Hip Arthroscopy?

Hip arthroscopy is a hip procedure that enables orthopedic surgeons to identify and treat hip joint conditions and injuries. Perhaps best of all, hip arthroscopy is minimally invasive, and it does not require large incisions into the skin and soft tissues.

During a hip arthroscopy, an orthopedic surgeon uses an arthroscope; this medical instrument allows a surgeon to examine and operate on the inside of a patient’s joint. An arthroscope features a fiber-optic camera that provides a live video feed from inside a joint that is projected onto a monitor. It is also very thin; in fact, the instrument measures only several  millimeters in diameter. Therefore, an orthopedic surgeon can use an arthroscope to evaluate the inside of a patient’s hip joint and perform soft tissue repair as needed.

Hip arthroscopy sometimes provides an alternative to traditional hip surgeries. Patients often experience less pain and joint stiffness following hip arthroscopy than they would after a traditional hip procedure. Plus, hip arthroscopy patients may enjoy a shorter recovery period in comparison to other hip treatments.

How Is Hip Arthroscopy Performed?

On average, hip arthroscopy requires up to two hours to complete, and the procedure is typically performed under anesthesia to minimize pain. An orthopedic surgeon first places the patient’s leg into gentle traction to allow visualization of the entire hip joint.  Instruments are then inserted to administer treatment.

After traction is applied, the surgeon makes two or three small incisions into the hip. These incisions enable the surgeon to use an arthroscope and other medical instruments during treatment.

Next, the surgeon treats the patient’s labrum, a ring of soft tissue surrounding the hip socket. The surgeon repairs any labral tears that may have occurred due to friction of the femoral head (highest part of the thigh bone) rubbing against the hip socket. The surgeon may repair or remove the patient’s labrum, depending on the labrum’s condition and other factors.

The surgeon then identifies and corrects any femoral head problems. If the femoral head has deformities or is out of alignment, or if the hip socket and femoral head do not fit together correctly, the surgeon will reshape the femoral head. The surgeon uses special bone-shaving tools to remove excess or misshapen bone, resulting in an improved fit into the hip socket.

Lastly, the surgeon removes inflamed tissue from the hip. This reduces the risk of further hip joint damage.

What to Expect After Hip Arthroscopy

An orthopedic surgeon tailors a hip arthroscopy procedure to a patient, and the recovery period for hip arthroscopy varies based on a patient’s health, the severity of his or her hip condition and other factors.

Following hip arthroscopy, a patient is usually discharged from a recovery room within about one to two hours. A patient may require crutches in the initial weeks or months after hip arthroscopy, though most patients are off crutches within two weeks. An orthopedic surgeon may recommend physical therapy to ensure a patient can optimize his or her treatment results as well.

Also, an orthopedic surgeon provides full recovery instructions. An orthopedic surgeon’s goal is to help a hip arthroscopy patient streamline the recovery process. Thus, an orthopedic surgeon is ready to respond to a hip arthroscopy patient’s concerns and questions at any point during the recovery period.

Is Hip Arthroscopy Right for You?

Hip arthroscopy is used to treat a variety of hip injuries and chronic conditions, such as:

  • Dysplasia: Refers to a hip socket that is too shallow and cannot support the femoral head. Dysplasia commonly causes hip and groin pain and may result in a snapping or popping sensation in the hip during physical activities.
  • Hip Joint Infection: Occurs when bacteria enter the hip joint, resulting in inflammation, cartilage deterioration and bone damage. An individual who is dealing with a hip joint infection may experience hip pain, swelling, redness and loss of movement.
  • Hip Impingement: Causes bone spurs (extra bones that develop along the hip socket or on the femoral head) and soft tissue damage in the hip. Hip impingement ultimately may lead to osteoarthritis, a form of arthritis that occurs when cartilage on the ends of a bone wears down. Additionally, common hip impingement symptoms include hip pain, tenderness and stiffness.
  • Loose Bodies: Refers to loose bone or cartilage fragments that travel freely inside the hip joint. Loose bodies may cause hip pain and irritation.
  • Snapping Hip Syndrome: Refers to a snapping sensation in the hip that occurs during physical activities. Snapping hip syndrome may result in hip pain and weakness.
  • Synovitis: Occurs when the synovial membrane (lining inside the joints) becomes inflamed and causes the joints to bleed. Synovitis may lead to hip pain and swelling.

An orthopedic surgeon performs a full patient evaluation prior to performing hip arthroscopy. That way, a surgeon can determine if hip arthroscopy can help a patient address his or her hip problems.

Bottom Line on Hip Arthroscopy

For those who are dealing with hip joint injuries or conditions, a hip arthroscopy may be ideal. A hip arthroscopy enables an orthopedic surgeon to treat a patient’s hip joint issues, along with any related cartilage and soft tissue problems.

Furthermore, there are many reasons why people choose hip arthroscopy, and these reasons include:

  • Limited Downtime: Generally, hip arthroscopy patients can return home one day after surgery.
  • Quick Recovery: The hip arthroscopy recovery period often is shorter than the recovery period associated with other hip treatments.
  • Minimal Scarring: Hip arthroscopy requires just a few small incisions, resulting in less scarring in comparison to other hip procedures.

Like any surgery, there are risks associated with hip arthroscopy, and it is important to discuss these dangers with an orthopedic surgeon before treatment. With the right orthopedic surgeon, an individual can receive the guidance and support he or she needs to determine if hip arthroscopy can deliver the desired results.

Select the Right Orthopedic Surgeon for Arthroscopic Hip Surgery

At La Peer Health Systems, we are proud to offer hip arthroscopy procedures performed by Dr. Tigran Garabekyan, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and founder and director of the Southern California Hip Institute. Dr. Garabekyan is an orthopedic surgery expert who specializes in sports medicine, hip, shoulder and knee joint preservation and joint replacement. He has even shared his orthopedic surgery insights at national and international conferences and written and co-authored many online and in-print journal articles.

Dr. Garabekyan can perform hip arthroscopy surgery without a perineal post. This technique allows Dr. Garabekyan to administer simultaneous bilateral hip arthroscopy to accelerate a patient’s recovery. It also reduces the risk of skin, deep soft tissue and neurological damage to a patient’s groin area.

Of course, Dr. Garabekyan is one of several La Peer orthopedic surgeons who is happy to treat hip arthroscopy patients of all ages. Our orthopedics team provides cutting-edge hip, shoulder and knee treatments designed to help patients achieve long-term pain relief. To find out more about hip arthroscopy and our other orthopedic treatments, please contact us today at (855) 360-9119 to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic surgeons.

Top 10 Health Tips for Men

Did you know that on average, the life expectancy for men is less than women? This is partially to do with the fact that men are far less likely to visit their doctors for annual check-ups, take note of signs and symptoms of serious disease, and maintain a healthy lifestyle compared to women. It may be true that many men subscribe to the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Fortunately, attitudes are changing and men are realizing that they have to be proactive with regard to their health. With that being said, the top 10 health tips for men (no matter your age) have been compiled below:

  1. Eat a well-balanced diet

Highly processed foods, including white flour and white sugar, should be eliminated or at least minimized in the diet. These foods have minimal nutritive value, as vitamins, minerals, and fiber have been stripped away. Accordingly, they contribute to weight gain and chronic diseases that are major causes of death. In addition, fat intake should be judicious, as some forms can contribute to heart disease. Instead, concentrate on eating an array of colorful, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables along with whole grains and healthy fats (e.g., olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids). These measures can not only help men attain an optimal weight but also protect against heart disease and other chronic health problems.

  1. Exercise regularly

Most authorities recommend a goal of 30 minutes of exercise daily, which has been shown to improve health. The good news is that the physical activity doesn’t have to be continuous. It can be achieved intermittently in 5 to 10 minutes bursts throughout the day. It can also take various forms such as walking, biking, swimming, jogging, and even gardening or mowing your lawn. You should avoid being a “weekend warrior,” as it increases your chances of injury. Also, don’t forget to incorporate weight training (at least 2 times per week) into your routine to maximize the results of your exercise program.

  1. Drink moderate amounts of alcohol

Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol, no matter what kind, not only protects against heart disease but also lowers risk of death from all causes. If you drink alcohol, limit your intake to no more than two drinks per day. As a reference, a standard drink equals one 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler, one 8-ounce glass of malt liquor, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1 1/2 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. Keep in mind that your drinks should be staggered throughout the week and not consumed all at once, as many men fall into the trap of binge drinking and don’t realize its long-term effects. After all, while one to two drinks a day are okay, excessive alcohol consumption can be adverse to your health.

  1. Abstain from tobacco use

Whether you smoke cigarettes, vape, or chew tobacco, you are putting your health at risk. Tobacco smoke contains more than 4000 chemicals and is a known cause of cancer (carcinogen). Smoking also increases the likelihood of chronic health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and lung disease. Chewing tobacco is not any safer, as it is still a carcinogen and also contributes to gum disease and tooth loss. Tobacco can even contribute to poor mental health. As a result, discontinuing tobacco use can be one of the single most effective ways to improve your health. Also, don’t forget to limit your exposure to secondhand smoke (also known as passive smoking), as it too can increase your chances of developing chronic health problems.

  1. Pay attention to your prostate

In the majority of men, the prostate begins to grow larger after the age of 40. This growth spurt can lead to bothersome symptoms, such as frequent nighttime urination and a weak urine stream, which are indicative of a condition referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia (an “enlarged prostate”). Fortunately, there are measures with the potential to prevent or reverse this benign (noncancerous) disease, such as supplementing with the herbs saw palmetto and/or pygeum. Additionally, advancing age is a risk factor for prostate cancer. You may be able to decrease your risk of prostate cancer by consuming foods that are protective of the prostate, such as soy, green tea, and tomatoes. Soy contains isoflavones, green tea contains polyphenols, and tomatoes contain lycopene, all of which have anti-cancer properties. Additionally, supplementation with the antioxidants selenium and vitamin E may also decrease your chances of developing prostate cancer.

  1. Get into the habit of visiting your doctor for yearly preventative health exams

It is no secret that men are far less likely to visit their doctors for preventative health exams. A way to combat this is by choosing a doctor that you are comfortable with and trust, as this is conducive to open discussions about all aspects of your health, including mental and sexual wellness. You should keep track of your numbers—weight, body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure, and cholesterol (including total cholesterol, triglycerides, “bad” cholesterol [LDL], and “good” cholesterol [HDL]). It is important to undergo recommended health screenings, including those for vision and hearing, depression, diabetes, and skin, prostate, and colon cancers. The preventative health exam also provides an opportunity to update vaccinations, such as the flu, meningitis, pneumonia, tetanus, and others. In short, regular, yearly checkups have the potential to save your life.

  1. Take your mental health seriously

Your mental health is inseparable from your physical health. It is estimated that upwards of 6 million men report struggling with depression, while over 3 million men report struggling with anxiety. Accordingly, mental health is crucially important, but many men, due to the associated stigma, are afraid to discuss their emotional well-being. As a result, they may cope by drinking excessively, overeating, becoming aggressive, or engaging in risky behaviors. It is important to reach out and seek evaluation if you are experiencing symptoms such as low mood, anxiety, thoughts of suicide, etc.

  1. Prioritize sleep

Sleep deprivation is extremely common in today’s on-the-go society. But, did you know that sleep deprivation can be detrimental to your health? It can increase your risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, depression, and other chronic health problems. It can even increase the likelihood of accidents, one of the leading causes of death. Adequate rest is one of the easiest ways to improve your health. Sleep requirements vary with age and from person to person, but most men need between 7 and 9 hours a night. The benefits of adequate sleep include increased energy, sharper mental focus, improved mental health, and boosted immunity.

  1. Maintain close relationships with family and friends

Unfortunately, women seem to be better at maintaining close relationships than men. As a result, men should strive to strengthen bonds with their family and friends. Engage in volunteer work, religious/church groups, hobbies, or any other activity that gets you involved socially with others. Additionally, consider adopting a pet or having a weekly meal or coffee with others in an effort to establish stronger bonds. The payoff from maintaining close ties to others includes reduced stress levels and enhanced mental, as well as overall, health.

  1. Reduce stress

Stress can be a major factor in the development of acute and chronic health problems. Many men juggle a variety of roles—employer/employee, son, father, husband, etc. These roles can be a significant source of stress. As a result, men oftentimes succumb to the pressure and overextend themselves, which can lead to sleep deprivation, lack of exercise, and a shortage of personal time. All of this is a recipe for disaster, as the accumulated stress can take a physical as well as psychological toll. This is why it is vital that men learn to set aside/schedule some personal time for themselves each day, even if it’s only 30 minutes. Those 30 minutes have the potential to physically and emotionally renew, which could tremendously enhance health and well-being.

The above tips have the potential to provide a framework for the adoption of long-lasting habits that should culminate in an enhanced sense of health and well-being. All you have to do is become proactive in your health.

Are There Home Remedies for Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids, also referred to as “piles,” are one of the most common problems in the general population. It is estimated that hemorrhoids will affect 75% of American adults at some point in their lifetime. They represent swollen veins in the area of the anus and rectum and can develop inside the rectum (internal hemorrhoids) or below the skin of the anus (external hemorrhoids). Common symptoms of hemorrhoids may include pain/discomfort, itching/irritation, rectal bleeding, and a swelling or lump near the anus. Embarrassment, fear of pain, and long recovery times are all common worries that prevent many individuals from seeking the treatment they need. As a result, many people with hemorrhoids opt for self-treatment with home remedies. Though the below remedies can help treat hemorrhoids, if you are suffering from this condition it is always better to first make an appointment with your physician!

Warm sitz baths

Warm sitz baths are a mainstay of the treatment of hemorrhoids. The word “sitz” is derived from the German word, “sitzen,” which refers to the act of sitting. Sitting in a tub of warm water that is filled just enough to cover your legs and buttocks will help to ease the swelling and irritation caused by hemorrhoids. Alternately, sitz baths may be performed in a small plastic tub that fits over a toilet seat. The temperature of the water should be lukewarm, as high temperatures can cause more harm than relief. For optimal results, sitz baths should be taken for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day, especially after a bowel movement. You may also choose to add other ingredients, such as Epsom salt, essential oil, or baking soda, to the bath in order to help reduce hemorrhoid symptoms even further.

Witch hazel

Witch hazel is a wildly popular home treatment for hemorrhoids. It is an astringent, which is one of the main properties that makes it ideal for treating hemorrhoids. Witch hazel’s astringent properties reduce the swelling in hemorrhoid tissue, which causes shrinkage and relief of associated pain and itching. Furthermore, substances called tannins present in witch hazel also have anti-inflammatory properties, which further reduces swelling. It’s okay to use witch hazel directly on hemorrhoids by adding a small amount to a cotton ball and gently wiping the affected area several times a day, especially after a bowel movement. Witch hazel should not be diluted with alcohol, as this can dry out and irritate the hemorrhoid even more.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. As a result, it can provide relief from the burning, itching, and swelling caused by hemorrhoids. It has also been shown to activate the immune system, enabling the body to combat any infections that may accompany the irritated areas around the anus and rectum. Aloe vera can be purchased commercially or harvested directly from the leaves of the plant. You should only use pure aloe vera gel on hemorrhoids, as additives and preservatives can make symptoms worse. Simply apply aloe vera generously to the affected area via a gentle massaging action, which can be repeated 2 to 3 times a week. You can enhance the inflammation-fighting properties of aloe vera by refrigerating it 15 to 20 minutes before application.

Essential oils

Essential oils are overlooked as natural home remedies for hemorrhoids. The anti-inflammatory activity of essential oils shrinks the swollen veins and, thus, reduces the swelling and pain of hemorrhoids. Furthermore, they provide needed support for weakened veins, which may prevent reoccurrence of hemorrhoids. Essential oils may also provide useful hormones, vitamins, and nutrients. The following essential oils may be used as home remedies for hemorrhoids:

  • Tea tree oil

To unleash its therapeutic effects, mix 2 drops of tea tree oil in 1 teaspoon of castor oil, transfer the mixture to a cotton ball, and apply it to the affected area. You may repeat the process twice in a week.

  • Frankincense oil

To utilize its healing properties, mix 2 drops of frankincense oil with 2 tablespoons of liquid lanolin and gently massage the concoction into the affected area.

  • Patchouli oil

In the rare case of a ruptured hemorrhoid, the oil can also enhance the growth of reparative tissue. For best effect, add 3 drops of patchouli oil to 1 teaspoon of sweet almond oil and apply to the affected area once per day.

Over-the-counter medications

The market is full of over-the-counter (OTC) ointments, creams, suppositories, and pads for relief from the annoying symptoms of hemorrhoids. For example, Preparation H® is a very popular cream and can be found in almost every pharmacy on the planet. These OTC products may contain various substances, such as witch hazel (an astringent), hydrocortisone (a steroid), and lidocaine (an topical numbing agent), that provide temporary relief and help your hemorrhoid heal faster. However, you should not use a formulation with hydrocortisone in it for more than a week at a time, as steroids can cause thinning of the skin. In addition, OTC nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Motrin®), may be helpful.

Wet wipes

It is very important to clean the rectal area as to make it free of any stray fecal matter, which could add to the irritation of hemorrhoids. Furthermore, using toilet paper after a bowel movement can only aggravate matters when suffering from hemorrhoids. Instead, wet wipes can be very effective at cleaning the rectal area without causing further irritation of existing hemorrhoids. For an added boost, choose wet wipes with anti-hemorrhoid ingredients such as witch hazel or aloe vera, which are not only soothing but also help hasten the resolution of hemorrhoids. Avoid wet wipes with added alcohol or perfumes, as these ingredients have the potential to increase irritation of existing hemorrhoids.

Ice packs

Applying ice packs to angry hemorrhoids can definitely be effective at relieving pain and inflammation. In addition to reducing swelling, the cold temperatures also have a numbing effect, which helps to temporarily decrease pain. You should always be sure to wrap the ice in a small towel, as applying ice directly to the skin can cause damage and add to the irritation of hemorrhoids. Apply ice packs to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes at least 3 times per day. For maximum effect, use this treatment after a warm sitz bath, as the sitz bath dilates the veins in the rectum and anus and ice packs contract them.

Epsom salt

Epsom salt has many medicinal applications, and the at-home treatment of hemorrhoids is one of the most popular applications. Magnesium sulfate, the active ingredient in Epsom salt, is absorbed through the skin with ease and works by causing shrinkage in enlarged hemorrhoids, which can also relieve pain. Soaking in Epsom salt also enhances the healing of damaged and bleeding hemorrhoids. It can also boost the effect of other at-home hemorrhoid treatments such as warm sitz baths. In a lesser known hemorrhoid treatment, Epsom salt can be combined with glycerin. You can mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt with 2 tablespoons of glycerin, apply the mixture to a gauze pad, and apply it to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes. This process can be repeated several times per day.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is another tried and true home remedy to naturally treat hemorrhoids. When applied topically, its anti-inflammatory properties decrease inflammation and relieve pain as well as accelerate the healing of hemorrhoids. In addition, coconut oil has antibacterial characteristics, helping to keep the affected area clean and free of infection. It may even curb the itching associated with the irritated hemorrhoid area. It’s easy to use, just transfer coconut oil to a cotton ball and apply it directly to hemorrhoids for 5 to 10 minutes several times per day.

Black tea bags

Black tea contains tannic acid, which has astringent properties. The acid is an ideal treatment for inflamed hemorrhoids, as it reduces swelling and discomfort. Are you wondering how to use a black tea bag to treat hemorrhoids? Immerse a black tea bag in a cup of lukewarm water and let it rest for several minutes in the water. While it’s still warm, apply the wet tea bag to the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes. The process can be repeated 2 or 3 times per day. You can switch it up and use frozen tea bags to instead of warm ones.

In addition to the above home remedies, it’s important to keep a few other measures in mind for the treatment and prevention of hemorrhoids. You should avoid tight clothing and make sure you wear loose cotton clothing, especially breathable cotton underwear, as this could potentially diminish symptoms. In addition, avoid potential irritants such as perfumed detergents and fabric softeners. Lastly, you should make sure you incorporate enough fiber into your diet and hydrate with at least 8 glasses of water per day. Consider a fiber supplement such as psyllium (Metamucil® is made of psyllium husks). You should gradually increase your fiber intake, because if done too quickly, there could be side effects such as excessive gas and abdominal pain/cramping. These dietary changes can go a long way at reducing constipation and making the stool softer and easier to pass, which could potentially prevent recurrences of hemorrhoids.

Most importantly however, is to make an appointment to see your physician if symptoms do not abate! La Peer is home to a number of expert colorectal surgeons who can help you gain relief from hemorrhoids.

Colorectal Diseases and Treatments: Sitting Down with a Colorectal Specialist

Colon and rectal, or colorectal, diseases encompass a wide range of conditions and disorders, which can have mild to life-threatening consequences. Like many other diseases, especially cancer, early detection through screenings has the potential to significantly improve quality of life, treatment outcomes, and even overall survival rates among patients. Yet, many patients are too embarrassed or remain uninformed about alarming symptoms and the benefits of early detection and treatment of colorectal diseases, which delays or even prevents them from seeking treatment. Common colorectal disorders include the following:

Colorectal cancer

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), it is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer as well as the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women in the US. The ACS also recommends adults at average risk for colon cancer commence regular screening at the age of 45.


They represent swollen veins near or around the anus and rectum, and by age 50, almost half of all adults will have experienced symptoms (pain, itching, bleeding, and/or sensitive lumps) of this very common ailment.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

This is comprised of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis effects the colon (large bowel), while Crohn’s disease can technically occur anywhere between the mouth and the anus. Medications may control IBD, but there are patients that require surgical management of their disease.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Classic symptoms with this ailment include abdominal pain, bloating, and cramping accompanied by either diarrhea or constipation. Stress may make the disease worse.

Diverticular disease

Results in pockets (diverticula) in the wall of the colon, which can get infected intermittently and cause diverticulitis. This disease is typically a consequence of aging.

Anal fissures

Represents a small tear in the lining of the anus and can be quite painful, especially when having a bowel movement. The majority of fissures heal on their own with no need for surgery.

Bowel incontinence

Mild cases may be managed non-operatively, but moderate to severe cases may require injection of a bulking agent in the anus, placement of a nerve stimulator, or surgical intervention.

As there is much overlap with symptoms of colorectal diseases, as well as the probability of misdiagnosis/mistreatment, you should always be evaluated by a colorectal surgeon if you are experiencing these types of symptoms. This type of surgeon is an expert in the surgical and non-surgical treatment of colorectal ailments. One such expert is Karen Zaghiyan, MD, a board-certified colorectal surgeon who practices minimally-invasive colorectal surgery in Los Angeles at La Peer Health Systems. We sat down with Dr. Zaghiyan for a Q&A session to learn more about her process and how she helps La Peer patients.

Q: What first sparked your interest in the colorectal field?

A: Colorectal cancer runs in my family. So, while in college, I became interested in learning about the gastrointestinal tract and how it works, and while in medical school, I spent some time in the lab researching colon cancer. It wasn’t until surgical residency, however, that I discovered how rewarding colorectal surgery was. During residency, I was exposed to the vastly different subspecialties of surgery and found immense satisfaction in doing a major colorectal operation to cure cancer or inflammatory bowel disease one day, and the next, I could do a hemorrhoidectomy or anal fistula surgery and restore the one part of the body nobody wants to talk or think about. I found great satisfaction in the powerful doctor-patient connection when a patient trusts you with their BUTT—literally!

Q: What are some of the most common reasons patients come to you in need of colorectal surgery?

A: Hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and anal fistulae are some of the most common colorectal conditions for which patients seek my expertise. Almost 4.5% of the population seeks medical advice for hemorrhoids alone, so by sheer numbers, I see many patients with hemorrhoids every week. Thankfully, I can often help these patients with office treatments alone and only a few will actually need surgery. I also see many patients needing surgery for colorectal cancer, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, rectal prolapse, and fecal incontinence.

Q: Is there a new or innovative colorectal procedure that you would like to highlight?

A: Transanal total mesorectal excision (TaTME) is one of the most cutting-edge operations in colorectal surgery right now. TaTME is performed for rectal cancer and ulcerative colitis, which allows the rectum to be removed without an abdominal wound and helps patients recover faster with less pain and better results. I am proud to say I have one of the largest experiences in this technique in the country and am one of the only surgeons on the West Coast currently performing this surgery.

The other “new” procedure is sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) for fecal incontinence (or bowel leakage problems). This procedure is actually not all that new, but for some reason, many patients and doctors don’t know it exists. SNS is a safe and simple outpatient procedure that can give patients suffering from bowel leakage their life back, and I am proud to be one of few doctors in the Los Angeles area treating fecal incontinence with SNS.

Q: Can you talk a bit about your time spent in Singapore?

A: During the end of my fellowship training in colorectal surgery, I went to Singapore to learn from masters in colorectal surgery from all around the world. It was a phenomenal experience that opened my eyes to the rapid growth and innovation of our field and what can be achieved if we think outside the box, learn from each other, and are open to change. I came back to the U.S. eager to apply what I had learned and push the limits to continue to advance our field with new techniques.

Q: Is there a particularly memorable patient success story that you would like to share?

A: Seeing young patients get sick hurts my soul. I guess because “it’s not supposed to happen.” One of my favorite stories of hope I love to tell is that of a 35 year-old young mom with rectal cancer. I diagnosed her four years ago after she had been told over and over that her rectal bleeding was from hemorrhoids. I placed one finger inside her anus and knew what it was, nobody had checked before that. She was my age at the time and had young kids, like I did. To make it worse, the cancer had spread to her liver (Stage IV). After chemotherapy, radiation, a combined rectal resection (done by me) and liver surgery (done by a liver surgeon), then more chemotherapy, she was cancer-free. Four years have passed . . . I just did her colonoscopy and computed tomography (CT) scans . . . she remains cancer-free.


As you can see, colorectal disease is a diverse collection of conditions with a multitude of treatments. A colorectal specialist should be your guide on this treatment journey, and La Peer is grateful to have such a talented colorectal surgeon as Dr. Zaghiyan providing state-of-the-art care to our patients.