Categorized | Stress

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External Hemorrhoids, Panic Attacks and Honesty

A recent visitor to a blog I work on sent in an email with a subject headline that read “My Painful External Hemorrhoid Nightmare Story” that was really open and honest. I responded after reading it to ask if it would be okay to write an article based on what they shared. They said it would be fine as long as I did not use their last name.

“Debbie from Cedar Rapids, Iowa” is a single mother of a young child who has to work two low paying part-time jobs to pay the bills. She always put on her best happy face for her daughter, friends and family. Her approach to handling stress was to bottle it up inside and keep all her worries to herself. When her daughter was asleep Debbie would eat lots of junk food to lower her stress.

Surprisingly she was able to maintain an attractive figure without any exercise outside of her jobs. Her late night junk food binges led to her developing chronic constipation. She ignored the first sign that an external hemorrhoid was forming. After passing a bowel movement she would feel what she said felt like a bee sting and felt a small growth when she cleaned herself.

Like many people do she ignored it thinking it would go away on its own. Over the course of a month she had a large bleeding hemorrhoid that could not be ignored. It got so bad she had to wear spandex shorts under her work uniforms to avoid any embarrassing traces of blood. The itch and pain was constant. Always there to remind her that her condition was not going away anytime soon.

The only temporary relief she found was using over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams. The external hemorrhoid was not shrinking because she had let it go untreated too long. Her co-workers, friends and family noticed she was now walking different. That is a very embarrassing life situation to experience on top of hemorrhoid pain. Nobody likes to tell other people they suffer from hemorrhoids.

The logical approach for people is to make a hemorrhoid doctor appointment. Debbie had two things going against her. She was too ashamed to go see a doctor and had a phobia of doctors. She had no problem taking her daughter to see a doctor, but she had developed a real phobia after having a major panic attack during a doctor’s visit as a patient.

It had been year since the major panic attack happened, but that fear of having another one created a phobia of doctors. I understand her feelings because I have a friend that has excellent medical insurance coverage, but won’t ever see a doctor unless it is serious.

They also have a phobia of hospitals and doctors. They told me once they don’t want to get blood work done or get health checkups because they don’t want to know if they have a medical condition like cancer. They think if they don’t know they have a medical condition then it does not exist. Avoidance always leads to more health problems. Debbie was avoiding having her external hemorrhoid removed.

It came to the point where the external hemorrhoid grew larger and became infected. The pain became too much. Infected hemorrhoids cause serious health problems. Her parents had started to watch her daughter more and more because of their Debbie’s health issue. Not liking what they were seeing happen to Debbie they got her to visit a hemorrhoid doctor.

The mind is powerful. In the waiting room Debbie had a major panic attack and felt like an elephant was on her chest and joker faces were looking at her. The thing with panic attacks is the person having one always thinks all eyes are on them. This raises anxiety levels and a fight or flight reaction to the situation. Debbie wanted to leave immediately. Her parents and a nurse calmed her down.

The doctor explained she had a severely infected external hemorrhoid that needed hemorrhoid laser surgery to be removed as soon as possible. The word surgery gets any patients heart racing. Debbie had no choice. Her health was at serious risk from hemorrhoid infection. She fully recovered from hemorrhoid laser surgery and is back to living a hemorrhoid free life.

What really touched me about Debbie’s email was she was candid that her painful hemorrhoid nightmare finally stopped, but her anxiety and panic attacks are now more frequent. She shared that she was not going to ignore the condition like she did her external hemorrhoid.

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