Dear Tell All: I think I might have hemorrhoids. Whenever I go to the bathroom, I get this excruciating pain, almost as if something is tearing inside. It's been happening for months now, but just when I think I can't stand it anymore, it suddenly gets better. Then a few weeks later it's back with a vengeance. I've tried all the over-the-counter treatments, and nothing seems to work. I've even tried some of the natural remedies you read about on the web, like soaking in the bathtub, but that didn't help either.
I know I should go see the doctor, but I'll admit it: I'm too embarrassed. I'm a professional, 50-year-old, six-foot-two man. I should be able to handle this.
Dear Tough Guy: I feel your pain, man. I mean, not literally - that would be kind of weird. But I understand because I've had hemorrhoids too. The pain is unbelievable. You could use phrases like searing, white-hot and Michael-Jackson's-head-is-on-fire to describe it, and it wouldn't be an exaggeration.
I remember wiping the beads of sweat from my forehead with a Tucks Medicated Pad and thinking that the level of pain seems completely out of proportion to the reality of the situation. People can have heart attacks and mistake it for heartburn. Something seems out of whack.
It makes you wonder why we have nerve endings that are that sensitive buried way up in our keister. Just what purpose does that level of pain serve? What natural predator is it supposed to warn you about? On that rare occasion when a porcupine crawls up your ass and then sneezes, you might appreciate the early warning system. But something tells me you would have noticed the little bugger anyway. I suppose you could say that the pain is meant to alert you that you've got hemorrhoids, which can be a serious situation. Yet look at you. You've been in excruciating pain for months now, and what did you do about it? You wrote me...as if that's going to do any good.
Dude, go see a doctor. Hemorrhoids rarely get better on their own, and you need professional help to treat this before it gets any worse.