Haemorrhoid Treatment

Information About Haemorrhoid Treatment

What are haemorrhoids?

Haemorrhoids are veins around the anus or lower rectum, also known as “Piles” which may get swollen or inflamed. They are very common with almost half of people aged over 50 years having haemorrhoids. Haemorrhoids may result from constipation or straining to pass stool. Other contributing factors include pregnancy, family history, chronic constipation or diarrhoea. Haemorrhoids are either inside the anus (internal) or under the skin around the anus (external).

What are the symptoms of haemorrhoids?

Most people with haemorrhoids do not experience any symptoms at all. Although some people pass bright red blood from their bottom, haemorrhoids may also cause itch and pain (which can be severe). In most cases, symptoms resolve in a few days.

How are haemorrhoids diagnosed?

Any rectal bleeding should be discussed with your doctor. Haemorrhoids may be visualised or felt if external. Sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy can be used to confirm their presence and rule out other causes of bleeding.

What is the treatment?

Medical treatment of haemorrhoids is aimed initially at relieving symptoms. Measures to reduce symptoms include;

– application of a haemorrhoid cream or suppository to the affected area for a limited time (examples include; Rectinol, Anusol, Proctosedyl, Scheriproct, Xyloproct)

Preventing the recurrence of haemorrhoids will require relieving the pressure and straining of constipation. Increasing fibre & fluids in the diet may be helpful. A bulkier and softer stool makes emptying the bowels easier and lessens the pressure on haemorrhoids caused by straining. Eliminating straining also helps prevent the haemorrhoids from protruding. Good sources of fibre are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. In addition, doctors may suggest a bulk stool softener or a fibre supplement such as psyllium (Metamucil), Normofibe or Benefiber.

In some cases, haemorrhoids must be treated endoscopically or surgically. These methods are used to shrink and destroy the haemorrhoid. A number of methods may be used to remove or reduce the size of internal haemorrhoids. These techniques include:

Rubber band ligation. A rubber band is placed around the base of the haemorrhoid inside the rectum. The band cuts off circulation, and the haemorrhoid withers away within a few days.

Sclerotherapy. A chemical solution is injected around the blood vessel to shrink the haemorrhoid.

Haemorrhoidectomy. Occasionally, extensive prolapsing or external haemorrhoids may require removal by surgery known as haemorrhoidectomy.

Haemorrhoid banding is a common treatment for internal haemorrhoids. A haemorrhoid is grasped with a suction device and a rubber band is then placed at its base. This cuts off the blood supply to the haemorrhoid, which then ‘dies’ and drops off after a few days. The tissue at the base of the haemorrhoid heals with some scar tissue.

Banding of internal haemorrhoids is usually painless as the base of the haemorrhoid originates above the anus opening – in the very last part of the gut where the gut lining is not sensitive to pain. Up to three haemorrhoids may be treated at one time using this method. In about 8 in 10 cases, the haemorrhoids are ‘cured’ by this technique but in a small number of people they may recur.

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