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Treatments for Haemorrhoids

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 28 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Haemorrhoids; Piles; Blood Vessles;

Although they are a very common occurrence, haemorrhoids can be a source of a lot of embarrassment for many people and because of this they can be suffered for many years without treatment.

What Is a Haemorrhoid?

A haemorrhoid is an enlargement and inflammation of one or more of the blood vessels located around the anus. They can affect up to 50% of people and can be experienced at any time of life.

They are classified into different categories depending on their origin and size and can vary in severity of symptoms.

In most cases they are not dangerous and will clear up on their own, but for some people they can be persistent and even need medical treatment.The general symptoms of haemorrhoids include itching, soreness, bleeding, passing of mucous and sometimes they can be very painful.

Visually they can look like purple or red bulges as the vessel become engorged with blood. They may appear outside the anus or develop inside and grow until they are protruding externally.

What Causes Them?

Haemorrhoids are most commonly caused by a build-up or sudden onset of increased pressure in the lower abdomen or rectum. This may be from being over-weight, by straining when passing a stool or from lifting heavy objects.

Pregnant women frequently suffer from haemorrhoids as the pressure from the baby, weight gain and changes in the blood supply in the pelvis can all contribute.

For those who experience haemorrhoids from straining on the toilet, a lack of fibre in the diet is the usual cause and symptoms will often subside once a better diet is consumed, including an increase in the amount of fluids taken.

Treating Haemorrhoids

There are a number of ways of treating haemorrhoids and each persons symptoms and severity of the condition will determine the necessary treatment.For many over-the-counter preparations will be sufficient to ease the symptoms whilst lifestyle or dietary changes are made to prevent them worsening or happening again.

An increase in water and fibre will help to prevent constipation and losing weight will prevent the pressure from building in the abdomen.

For many the use of cushions or regularly soaking in warm water will help to ease the discomfort and care should be taken after using the toilet to prevent any additional bleeding from disruption of the delicate blood vessels.

For those who have seen their GP and been referred for further treatment, there are a number of different treatments that may be recommended.

Surgical Removal

Surgical removal is usually only offered to those who have painful and persistent haemorrhoids.

This procedure will involve either the use of spinal, general or occasionally local anaesthetic followed by the surgeon using dissection, burning and tying of the haemorrhoid. Each haemorrhoid will be removed individually and bleeding cauterised. The anus will be padded and often a pack will be inserted into the back passage to help put pressure on the wound which may be absorbable or need removing later on.

Banding

This procedure is recommended to those whose haemorrhoids are located internally. It involves the application of tiny rubber bands which are placed around the route of the haemorrhoid and prevent the blood flow into the ‘pile’.It is a common procedure and haemorrhoids will eventually shrink until they are no longer. A small scar may be left but this is minimal.

Injection

During this procedure each haemorrhoid and the surrounding vessels are injected with a special solution that caused the haemorrhoid to shrink and eventually fall off. It is quite a common procedure and is usually very effective.

There are a number of options for treating haemorrhoids, some more necessary than others, but it is important to understand that to suffer from persistent painful haemorrhoids may be unnecessary and your GP will be able to advise you on which options are available to you.There is no need to feel any embarrassment about having haemorrhoids and you should remember that they are extremely common in everyone.

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