Getting Rid of Piles: Modern Procedures and Medications

Hemorrhoids or piles refer to the inflamed veins that can be found in the anal area and the rectum. They are often caused by too much strain and pressure due to difficult bowel movement, pregnancy, anal infection, or a sedentary lifestyle.
Though hemorrhoids may be very common especially among people in the old age, not everyone who has this condition will experience symptoms. These symptoms often include pain, itchiness, irritation, and anal bleeding. In such cases, you can consider taking medications or undergoing surgical procedures.
Once you are diagnosed of having hemorrhoids, your doctor will decide which treatment suits you the most based on the cause of your hemorrhoids and its level or grade. The doctor will also consider your health history, your present medications for underlying conditions, your overall fitness, your budget, and your personal preference. Below are the most common choices for treating hemorrhoids.

Medications

If the condition brings mild discomfort such as inflammation and irritation, you should consult your physician immediately. Most of the time, doctors will recommend over-the-counter medications such as ointments, creams, oils, and pads. These contain anti-inflammatory agents such as hydrocortisone. Some also have herbal ingredients that are known to cure anal inflammation. These include witch hazel, aloe vera extract, pile wort and others. If applied after warm baths, these medications are known to provide immediate relief

Rubber band ligation

This is recommended for people who experience intolerable pain or for those who have severe second and third-degree hemorrhoids. In this procedure, the doctor will use small rubber bands to block blood flow. The bands will be placed around the base of the internal hemorrhoids. This cuts off the blood circulation to the vein so the hemorrhoid will fall off. Though it is considered as a simple procedure, the process should be supervised by professional health service providers. Most of the time, patients may feel pain when the band is being placed. However, if symptoms of pain and discomfort increase during the band placement, the doctor will inject bupivicaine and epinephrine. A common side effect of this hemorrhoid treatment is light anal bleeding. Such usually happens during the post ligation period. The treatment takes effect seven days after the bands have been placed. When pain is felt during and after the treatment, the physician will recommend aspirin and non-inflammatory medications. Rubber band ligation is considered one of the safest methods for hemorrhoid treatment. It is also inexpensive and very effective.

Injection sclerotherapy

When the tissue for banding is scarce, sclerotherapy is often recommended. This process is perfect for people who experience first-degree internal hemorrhoids and/or mild second-degree conditions. In this treatment, the physician will inject a chemical solution (a sclerosing agent) in the infected area. The doctors often use a slotted anoscope with a 25-gauge spinal needle. Only certified medical professionals should perform this process. Many people prefer this treatment primarily because of its inexpensiveness. It also poses lesser risks for complications than other common treatments for hemorrhoids.

Infrared Coagulation

First and second degree hemorrhoids may cause anal bleeding. When this happens, doctors may recommend infrared coagulation. In this procedure, doctors will use infrared light to stimulate photocoagulation. Photocoagulation simply refers to the process of enabling tissue clotting in the red blood cells of the patient in order to seal off the blood vessels. Once the vessels are blocked, blood cannot circulate in the hemorrhoids. This lessens inflammation. During this process, the coagulation probe will be applied using the anoscope. The infrared probe will be directed on the hemorrhoidal complex sites- midportion, apex, and laterals. Though infrared coagulation is very quick and effective, it can be every expensive.

Electrocoagulation

Electrocoagulation functions pretty much like infrared coagulation. This procedure involves the use of probe applied through an anoscope that is non-conductive. The probe is placed along the various hemorrhoidal complex sites to stimulate tissue destruction. Electrocoagulation may use unipolar or bipolar electric current to treat first up to third degree hemorrhoids.

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy refers to the procedure of freezing the hemorrhoidal tissues in order to completely damage and block the blood flow to the hemorrhoids. This can be done by using liquid nitrogen probes through an anoscope. However, this procedure may be very risky since problems regarding surrounding tissue damage might occur. Inaccuracy with the size and depth of tissue destruction, along with possible sphincter damage has been a frequent problem during the past operations.

Surgical hemorrhoidectomy

If the size of the hemorrhoids is considerably large and intolerable, doctors often recommend a surgical operation. In this procedure, surgical excision of the hemorrhoidal tissues of third-degree or fourth-degree hemorrhoids will be made. Such is called hemorrhoidectomy. Like other surgeries, the doctors will use anesthetics during the process. For hemorrhoidectomy, local anesthetics, spinal anesthetic, general anesthetics, and sedatives will be used. Immediate recovery after the operation is expected. Some patients don't even need an overnight stay in the hospital. After the procedure, oral medications and warm baths may relieve the pain caused by the excision.

Stapling

Stapling is one of the recently introduced treatments for hemorrhoids. This process works by blocking blood flow to the hemorrhoids. Once the blood flow stops, the hemorrhoidal tissues will shrink. Such procedure is preferred primarily because it is less painful than surgeries and it allows early recovery. However, the technique poses a higher risk for recurrence and prolapse.

Laser therapy

This treatment also inhibits blood circulation in the hemorrhoidal tissues. Like the electrocoagulation process, laser therapy promotes coagulation of blood vessels through the use of neodymium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Nd:YAG) and carbon dioxide lasers. Though the procedure may be very effective, it is very expensive. Also, not many hospitals offer the procedure since the needed equipment is also costly.

Post treatment follow-up

After the treatment, follow-up procedures should be made in order to ensure immediate recovery and prevent hemorrhoidal recurrence. Below are some of these processes:
  • The patient should take warm sitz baths, at least three times a day. Warm wash is also recommended after bowel movement.
  • To ensure less strain in the veins in the anal and rectum, the patient is required to take large amounts of water. Fiber-rich foods, fruits, and vegetables should also be included in the diet. In addition to that, your doctors may recommend oral medications to soften your stool.
  • If pain and itchiness are felt after the procedure, the patient may opt to use non-prescription pain relievers.
  • If hemorrhoids recur or if the patient develops anal bleeding, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and headaches, he should immediately contact the doctor for follow-up check-ups and tests.