Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are clusters of swollen vessels in the anus at the lowest part of the rectum. A common condition in adults, about half of men and women will experience the itching, rectal pain and bleeding associated with these bulging blood vessels by the age of 50. While not necessarily dangerous, the reoccurring swelling, irritation, bleeding and pain make hemorrhoids an uncomfortable condition.
Causes of Hemorrhoids
There are a number of potential causes for the build-up of pressure in lower rectum that contributes to the development of hemorrhoids. Causes include:
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation
- Family history of hemorrhoids
- Low-fiber diet
- Sitting on the toilet for long periods of time
- Straining during bowel movements
Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
Symptoms of hemorrhoids can include:
- Painless bleeding during bowel movement (the most common symptom)
- Discomfort, itching or pain in the anal area
- A sensitive or painful lump near the anus
- Leakage of mucus
Treatments for Hemorrhoids
Topical creams, soaking in a warm or sitz bath and increasing fiber intake often help symptoms go away within a week.
All home remedies should only be used intermittently, not daily. Daily treatment for hemorrhoids can be bad for the surrounding tissue and may cover up a more serious issue.
When the more conservative approach doesn’t take care of symptoms, or when there is severe pain or bleeding, there are several procedures that can be done in the doctor's office to treat the problem.
Speak to your Doylestown Health Colorectal Specialists or Doylestown Health Gastroenterology physician about the procedure that is right for you.
This treatment is helpful for treating internal hemorrhoids. The physician uses rubber bands to tie the hemorrhoid at its base to cut off the blood flow, which causes the hemorrhoid to shrink and fall off after several days.
This treatment is used to treat small to medium internal hemorrhoids. The physician uses a devise that creates a beam of infrared light to heat the tissue, resulting in a scar, which cuts off the circulation to the hemorrhoid column.
Sclerotherapy involves the injection of a chemical solution into the area around hemorrhoids that shrinks them by damaging the blood vessels and reducing the blood supply to the hemorrhoids.
Often used for a painful thrombosed external hemorrhoid. This technique involves removing (or excising) a clot and is typically done within 72 hours of the onset of pain. If you suspect a thrombosed hemorrhoid, contact a colon and rectal specialist as soon as possible.
These treatments are done in the operating room on an outpatient basis when a surgical intervention is needed:
Hemorrhoidectomy is the surgical removal of the hemorrhoidal tissue. This traditional treatment is effective in relieving symptoms and preventing recurrence. Recovery may take 4-6 weeks.
Procedure for Prolapse and Hemorrhoids (PPH)
PPH is also known as a stapled hemorrhoidectomy. During this state-of-the art procedure, the physician uses a stapler-like device to pull up the hemorrhoids and cut off blood supply to the blood vessels that feed them. The recovery is much easier than that of the traditional hemorrhoidectomy.
Transanal Herorrhoidal Dearterialization (THD)
THD involves use of Doppler ultrasound to locate the specific arteries that cause bleeding. The surgeon ties off these feeder arteries with self-absorbing stitches to cut off the blood supply to the hemorrhoids. By treating the cause of the hemorrhoids, THD is an effective minimally invasive treatment that is low-risk, results in minimal pain and gets patients back to normal activities quickly.