What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids or piles are masses or lumps formed due to swollen blood vessels in the rectum. Conservative treatment, such as warm baths, high-fiber diet, stool softeners, fluid intake, topical analgesics and steroid cream, can help treat mild forms of hemorrhoids. In severe stages, they may become infected or protrude from the anus (prolapsed hemorrhoid) and require removal. There are many surgical and non-surgical methods to remove hemorrhoids.
Nonsurgical Treatment of Hemorrhoids
Some of the non-surgical treatments of hemorrhoids include:
- Rubber band ligation: In this technique, an elastic band is tied around the base of hemorrhoids to cut off blood supply. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis under topical anesthesia. Your doctor inserts an anoscope, a viewing instrument, into your anus and passes a small tool called a ligator through it. The hemorrhoid is grasped with forceps and the ligator is passed over the hemorrhoid to place a rubber band. Without blood supply, the tissue dies and sloughs off in 1 or 2 weeks. As with any procedure, rubber band ligation may involve certain risks and complications which include severe pain, anal bleeding, infection in the anal canal and trouble urinating.
- Sclerotherapy: This involves injecting a chemical directly into the hemorrhoid tissue. The solution numbs the site and hardens the hemorrhoid tissue leading to scar formation. After four to six weeks, hemorrhoid shrinks and falls off. The disadvantage of this method is the recurrence of hemorrhoids after about a year.
- Infrared photocoagulation: Infrared photocoagulation, indicated for small-to-medium internal hemorrhoids, uses infrared rays to form scar tissue from the intense heat created and cuts off the blood supply to hemorrhoid causing death of the tissue which then falls off. Laser or electric current can be used instead of the infrared beams. Infrared photocoagulation is associated with intense pain immediately after the procedure, which can be managed with pain medication. There is a chance of recurrence of hemorrhoids.