Debunking Common Myths: Haemorrhoids, Colon Cancer Screening, and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Many people experience discomfort or embarrassment when it comes to colorectal and pelvic floor issues. This can lead to a reluctance to seek medical attention and a reliance on inaccurate information. Let’s debunk some common myths surrounding haemorrhoids, colon cancer screening, and pelvic floor problems with the help of a pelvic floor specialist and colorectal surgeon in Melbourne.

Myth #1: Haemorrhoids are a sign of weakness.

Fact: Haemorrhoids are swollen veins in the rectum and anus, like varicose veins in the legs. They are incredibly common, affecting nearly half of all adults by age 50. Straining during bowel movements, pregnancy, and chronic constipation can all contribute to haemorrhoids. While they can be uncomfortable, they are not a sign of weakness or a serious health condition. However, if they start bleeding or are a chronic condition, it’s best to see a colorectal surgeon in Melbourne for treatment.

Myth #2: Haemorrhoids only cause bleeding.

Fact: Bleeding is a potential symptom of haemorrhoids, but not the only one. You might also experience pain, itching, or a feeling of fullness in the rectum. Internal haemorrhoids may not cause any noticeable symptoms at all.

Myth #3: Haemorrhoids always require surgery.

Fact: In most cases, haemorrhoids can be managed through lifestyle changes like increasing fibre intake, using stool softeners, and practicing good hygiene. Sitz baths and over-the-counter creams can also provide relief. Surgery is typically only considered for severe or persistent haemorrhoids. If you have any questions, chat to a colorectal surgeon in Melbourne!

Myth #4: Colon cancer screening is only for older adults.

Fact: Specialists recommend starting regular colon cancer screening at age 45 for people at average risk. This is because the risk of colon cancer increases significantly after this age. Earlier screening may be recommended for individuals with a family history of the disease or certain risk factors like obesity or inflammatory bowel disease.

Myth #5: A colonoscopy is the only way to screen for colon cancer.

Fact: While a colonoscopy is the gold standard for colon cancer screening, there are other options available. Stool tests can detect hidden blood in the stool, which may be an indicator of cancer. Virtual colonoscopies use CT scans to create detailed images of the colon, although they may not detect all polyps. Discuss the best screening option for you with your colorectal surgeon.

Myth #6: Colon cancer screening is painful.

Fact: A colonoscopy does involve some bowel preparation, but the procedure itself is performed under sedation and is generally not painful. There may be some mild cramping or discomfort afterwards, but this usually resolves quickly.

Myth #7: Only women experience pelvic floor problems.

Fact: Pelvic floor problems affect the muscles and nerves that support the bladder, bowel, and uterus – and it can occur in both men and women. Although childbirth and pregnancy can increase the risk for women and more women experience pelvic floor problems than men, men can also experience pelvic floor issues due to injury, surgery, or straining.

Myth #8: Pelvic floor dysfunction is just a natural part of aging.

Fact: While the risk of pelvic floor problems may increase with age, it is not an inevitable consequence. Pelvic floor exercises like Kegels can help strengthen these muscles and improve symptoms of incontinence, prolapse, and pain. However, these exercises can only help lower your risk – they can’t cure more severe cases or cases where prolapse has occurred. The good news is that the sooner you see a pelvic floor specialist for pelvic floor weakness, the easier it is to treat. And only severe cases need surgery!

Myth #9: Talking about pelvic floor problems is embarrassing.

Fact: Pelvic floor dysfunction is a common condition, affecting millions of people. However, the stigma surrounding these issues can prevent people from seeking help. Talking to your pelvic floor specialist is essential for getting a diagnosis and finding effective treatment.

Myth #10: There is no treatment for pelvic floor dysfunction.

Fact: There are a variety of treatment options available for pelvic floor dysfunction, depending on the severity and type of problem. These may include lifestyle changes, pelvic floor muscle training, biofeedback, medication, or surgery.

Remember: Don’t let common myths prevent you from taking care of your health. If you are experiencing any symptoms of haemorrhoids, colon cancer, or pelvic floor dysfunction, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment can lead to better outcomes.

Additional Tips:

  • Keep a food diary to identify any dietary triggers that may worsen haemorrhoids.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day.
  • Maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise.
  • Don’t ignore the urge to have a bowel movement.
  • When using the toilet, avoid straining and prolonged sitting.
  • Practice good hygiene by wiping gently with soft, fragrance-free toilet paper.

By taking an active role in your health and dispelling these common myths, you can feel empowered to address colorectal and pelvic floor concerns and achieve a better quality of life. If you need colorectal cancer screening, are struggling with chronic haemorrhoids, or are experiencing pelvic floor problems, don’t wait – schedule an appointment with a pelvic floor specialist and colorectal surgeon in Melbourne today.