You’ve likely heard the term ‘hemorrhoid’ before, and probably know someone who has had them! In fact, about 50% of adults over the age of 50 have hemorrhoids. Luckily, many times hemorrhoids can be cared for at home and will go away on their own after a few days. But in the case that they don’t, it may be time to see a doctor.
What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins that can form inside the rectum or under the skin around the anus. These are called internal and external hemorrhoids, respectively. They can be caused by increased pressure in the lower rectum that occurs for a number of reasons: pregnancy, heavy lifting, chronic diarrhea, straining during bowel movements, or other things. Symptoms of hemorrhoids can include bleeding during bowl movements, pain or discomfort, or a swollen anus. Sometimes, internal hemorrhoids can protrude from the anus and cause pain.
How to treat hemorrhoids?
There are many home remedies that you can try to relieve hemorrhoids. Soaking in a warm bath, using topical hemorrhoid creams, eating foods that are high in fiber, and taking pain relievers can all be effective. If you try these remedies at home and the hemorrhoids do not go away within a week, you should see a doctor. Visit your doctor even sooner if you have severe pain or bleeding.
Doctors can treat hemorrhoids a little differently and usually with minimally invasive procedures. Sometimes hemorrhoids will be injected with a solution that helps to shrink them, another treatment called coagulation uses infrared light to shrink and shrivel the internal hemorrhoids. At the Centers for Gastroenterology, we recently began using a very effective treatment called rubber band ligation, or ‘hemorrhoidal banding’.
What is hemorrhoidal banding?
At the Centers for Gastroenterology, we use the CRH O’Regan System® which is quick and effective for hemorrhoidal treatment. Whereas some patients used to have to undergo a surgical procedure called hemorrhoidectomy, they can now have hemorrhoid banding performed in just a few minutes. Most patients can even return to work the same day.
During the procedure, a small suction is placed over the hemorrhoid and puts a rubber band on the base. There are no nerve endings here, so the patients do not feel it. The hemorrhoid will begin to shrink and eventually fall off within a few days.
Learn more about how we do hemorrhoid treatment at the Centers for Gastroenterology here.