When you hear the word hemorrhoids, you probably flinch, but now there are new minimally invasive surgical options for treating the condition. Contrary to popular belief, everyone has hemorrhoids. You probably do not notice them because they are not giving you pain. Hemorrhoids are merely clumps of blood vessels that lie in the anus. Normally these veins are not called hemorrhoids until they swell and cause pain. Hemorrhoids are primarily caused by pressure put on the v eins. Hemorrhoids can be treated without surgery but when surgery becomes necessary there are several minimally invasive methods.
Everyone does not deal with hemorrhoid pain. Pregnancy, constipation, and diarrhea puts you at risk for having painful hemorrhoids. All of these things put pressure on the veins in the anus and cause swelling. It is a condition that normally affects those who are age 50 and older. It is so common that nearly 50% of people over the age of 50 deal with the condition. Symptoms of hemorrhoids include itching, pain, discomfort, and bleeding. You may feel swelling in the anal cavity and have irritation when having a bowel movement.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Hemorrhoids can be internal and external which affect the severity of your symptoms. Internal hemorrhoids are found inside the anal cavity, but external hemorrhoids are found under the skin outside the anus. Internal hemorrhoids usually cause less discomfort. They may cause bleeding but typically you cannot feel them or the pain. External hemorrhoids cause a lot more pain especially if they form a blood clot. External hemorrhoids are itchy, they bleed, and they can also be seen. When you notice a lot of bleeding, especially during bowel movements, you should see a doctor. It is best to get a diagnosed so the best treatment can be made.
A doctor diagnoses hemorrhoids usually through a rectal exam. The doctor feels the anal cavity and can feel the hemorrhoids. They may also use other tools that help give a better look inside the anal cavity. These other tools have a camera attached that gives a better view. When it comes to treatment, most of the time you can get away with home remedies. There are over-the-counter medications that help resolve the itching and the pain. When nothing else is working, you may have to undergo surgery. There are many different methods for surgery, and most of them are minimally invasive.
There are four main types of minimally invasive surgery for hemorrhoids:
- Rubber band ligation
Each method used is very different, but they all attempt to cut off the blood supply to the veins causing the problems.
Rubber Band Ligation
Rubber band ligation is a very common form of treatment. This is one of the best treatments for internal hemorrhoids. The procedure requires the doctor to lift the hemorrhoid. The doctor then places a rubber band at the base of the hemorrhoid and attempts to choke it. The rubber band cuts off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid and causes the tissue to die. When it dies, it becomes like scar tissue. Sometimes the doctor will leave the tissue there and other times it falls out. You may have some bleeding after the procedure, but usually nothing serious.
PPH (Stapled hemorrhoidectomy) is a procedure that staples the rectal tissue. This pushes the hemorrhoids up and also cuts off blood supply. Repositioning the hemorrhoids higher in the anus also lessens hemorrhoid pain. The upper area of the anal cavity has fewer nerves which reduce pain. As hemorrhoids lose their blood supply, they begin to shrivel up and die. This is a great procedure becomes it lessens the risk of bleeding, lowers the pain, and leads to a much quicker recovery.
Laser therapy is another option. The doctor uses a laser to burn the tissue from the hemorrhoids. The last minimally invasive option is sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy does not require any cutting at all. You also do not need anesthesia unless you just want it. A doctor injects a chemical solution in the tissues around the hemorrhoid. The purpose of the solution is cut off the blood supply. When the blood vessels no longer supply blood to the hemorrhoid, they will begin to shrink and die.
No one wants to be bothered by hemorrhoids but with these minimally invasive surgical techniques you can solve the problem much quicker. These procedures are a great alternative to the typical hemorrhoidectomy surgery. One thing to take note of is that these minimally invasive procedures are primarily for internal hemorrhoids. They do not work well for external hemorrhoids because of the sensitive skin that is around external hemorrhoids. Choosing a minimally invasive procedure shortens your surgery and recovery time. Your pain level after surgery is also minimized. Complications during and after surgery are lowered, but there is a higher chance of the problem returning. If you are suffering from hemorrhoids, speak with your doctor about options. You do not have to live with constant hemorrhoid pain.
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