If you have hemorrhoids that don't improve with self-care, you may benefit from medical treatment. Treatment can include minimally invasive procedures and surgery.
Hemorrhoids happen when veins in your anal area become swollen and inflamed. These veins can be inside or outside your body, or stick outside from the inside. They may be painful, or itch or burn. They may bleed when you have a bowel movement. Hemorrhoids are common. Causes include constipation, diarrhea, straining, aging, pregnancy and standing for long periods.
Why it is Done
Hemorrhoids can be painful, and itch and burn. They can bleed when you have a bowel movement.
You can prevent or treat minor hemorrhoids by:
- Avoiding straining or sitting on the toilet too long
- Going to the bathroom when you have the urge instead of waiting
- Taking a fiber supplement
- Using an over-the-counter hemorrhoid treatment product
See your doctor if your symptoms last longer than a week, or if you have blood in your stool or have a family history of colon cancer. Your doctor may recommend a procedure to relieve your discomfort and will check to make sure you don't have a more serious condition. There are minimally invasive and surgical procedures that treat hemorrhoids.
Our gastroenterology specialists are experienced in comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of colorectal problems, including hemorrhoids.
What to Expect
Minimally Invasive Procedures
Bleeding and persistent hemorrhoids can be treated with:
- Rubber band ligation – Your doctor puts one or two small rubber bands around the base of a hemorrhoid to cut off its blood flow. You may need more than one banding treatment to get rid of a hemorrhoid. The treated hemorrhoid shrinks and falls off. This procedure can be somewhat uncomfortable and cause temporary bleeding.
- Sclerotherapy (injection) – Your doctor injects a chemical solution into your hemorrhoid to shrink it. Any pain is minimal.
- Cryotherapy (freezing) – Your doctor applies a cooled gas or liquid to freeze your external hemorrhoid. It shrinks and falls off.
Your doctor provides you with instructions about self-care after these procedures. This can include a special diet for a few days, ice packs to reduce pain and swelling, soaks in warm water to relieve pain, stool softeners to reduce straining and medications to relieve pain.
Surgery is usually for large hemorrhoids, bleeding or prolapsed internal hemorrhoids, or those that haven't responded to other treatment. These are usually outpatient procedures but sometimes require an overnight hospital stay.
- Excisional hemorrhoidectomy (surgical removal) – Your doctor makes incisions around the hemorrhoid and removes it. You usually have general anesthetic, meaning you will be asleep. This surgery has a high rate of curing the treated hemorrhoid. You may have pain after the procedure and may need to take it easy for as long as two weeks.
- Stapled hemorrhoidopexy – Your doctor uses a device inserted through a tube into your anus to remove tissue around the hemorrhoid. No incision is made. This involves lifting the hemorrhoid and stapling tissue back into place. Blood flow to the hemorrhoid is cut off, and it shrinks within four to six weeks. You usually have general anesthetic, meaning you will be asleep. Stapled hemorrhoidopexy takes about 30 minutes. This procedure is usually less painful than hemorrhoidectomy and lets you get back to your usual activities faster.
What the Risks Are
- Minimally invasive procedures risks include recurrence of hemorrhoids, bleeding, tightness in the area treated, mild pain and infection.
- Stapled hemorrhoidopexy risks include recurrence of the hemorrhoid treated, rectal prolapse (part of the rectum protrudes from the anus), bleeding, infection, narrowing in your anal or rectal wall and anal fissures.
- Hemorrhoidectomy is a safe procedure that has a low complication rate. Risks include pain after the procedure and temporary problems emptying the bladder or urinary tract infections. Other risks include pain, bleeding, fecal impaction and infection.