Hemorrhoids are a painful and irritating condition that affects millions of Americans every year. Those who are afflicted with internal hemorrhoids or external hemorrhoids often spend days in pain and have difficulty doing things like eating or taking bowel movements. Finding pain relief or surgical options that reduce frequent recurrences is important for lifelong management of the condition.
Veteran benefits can help you get some disability compensation for your hemorrhoids to give you financial and medical relief. In this article we’ll take a look at the VA disability ratings for hemorrhoids and the service connection for hemorrhoids. We’ll also look at the VA rating and the possibility of TDIU for hemorrhoids for those who have been in the military service.
VA Disability Ratings for Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are a condition that occurs when veins around the anus and rectum become swollen and irritated. Internal hemorrhoids are formed inside anal fissures and external hemorrhoids are formed outside of the rectum. This is an incredibly common condition among Americans, but the symptoms of hemorrhoids can cause a number of complications.
Common Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
- Itching in the anal region
- Irritation in the anal region
- Tingling in the anal region
- Pain or discomfort
- Persistent bleeding
- Anal leakage
- Painful bowel movements
- Hard knots or tissue in the anal region
- Prolapse tissue
- Difficulty with sphincter control
Two of the common recognizable signs of hemorrhoids is a slight or persistent bleeding during bowel movements and general irritation in the area. However, this can be the result of other related medical conditions. Changes in diet or digestive systems can also lead to digestive discomfort and bleeding. Spicy foods and new kinds of cuisine can sometimes lead to unexpected irritation.
Digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS, and constipation can also lead to some irritation in the anal region. Sometimes bleeding can be even more serious than hemorrhoids, as conditions like anal cancer or colorectal cancer can have similar symptoms. If you have serious bleeding accompanied with lightheadedness, fainting, or dizziness, contact medical services immediately.
Service Connection for Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids in particular aren’t always noticed right away or diagnosed during their occurrence. The bleeding can go unnoticed, the pain might be overlooked, or you might have felt embarrassed about talking to a doctor about the condition. Every claim has three main elements needed in order to be successful. These elements include:
- Current diagnosis of the disability
- An in-service incident that caused or aggravated the claimed disability
- Medical nexus that connects the condition with an in-service occurrence
Secondary Service Connection or Hemorrhoids
Secondary service connection occurs when a service-connected condition has caused another injury or condition to form. For example, if your hemorrhoids have caused an anal infection or other serious condition, you can create a service connection between the two different diagnoses. You must be able to prove the connection between the two conditions and provide medical evidence that one condition can be reasonably linked to the second.
Service Connection by Aggravation
Another way to establish service connection is to prove that a condition was not directly connected to a previous condition, but was aggravated by it. Just as an example, IBS and hemorrhoids could potentially aggravate each other as one can imagine.
Compensation and Pension Exams for Hemorrhoids
During a C&P exam for hemorrhoids, you can expect for your doctor to exam the anal region and search for the hardened tissue that indicates a hemorrhoid. You might need to prepare for a colonoscopy or similar examination that requires a medical tool to be inserted into the colon.
This can be an uncomfortable experience that feels invasive, but it is a critical step in getting a diagnosis for your condition and gaining the necessary medical evidence to service connect your disability. Follow the instructions given by the doctor, and know that while the initial procedure might be uncomfortable, the proper rating is what you’re looking for.
How Does the VA Rate Hemorrhoids?
The VA rates hemorrhoids under 38 CFR § 4.114 Schedule of Ratings – Digestive System – Diagnostic Code 7336. The rating chart ranks hemorrhoids in the following categories:
- 0% – mild or moderate
- 10% – large or thrombotic, irreducible, with excessive redundant tissue, evidencing frequent recurrences
- 20% – with persistent bleeding and with secondary anemia, or with fissures
The VA will look for the typical symptoms of a hemorrhoid while also looking for similar issues that present with the same symptoms, meaning that a specific medical diagnosis is key to your claim. They will look for a diagnosis with specific conditions like persistent bleeding or frequent recurrences in order to manage and determine the exact rating you will receive.
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