Hemorrhoids are painful swollen veins that can form inside the rectum or around the outside of the anus. They cause, swelling, bleeding, irritation, and discomfort, and they can make it difficult to defecate fully. Hemorrhoids are common, but there are a number of treatment options available to resolve the swelling and return the affected veins to their normal size. Here's an overview of common treatment options for hemorrhoids.
Creams containing hydrocortisone can be prescribed to reduce swelling and help the affected area heal. Ointments containing numbing agents, such as lidocaine or witch hazel, can also be used to reduce pain and discomfort both externally and internally. Additionally, suppositories can be prescribed for those with internal hemorrhoids with the aim of providing lubrication and reducing straining when passing a bowel movement.
Minimally Invasive Procedures
There are a few procedures that can be carried out on an outpatient basis when topical medications have not been enough to eliminate hemorrhoids. Rubber band ligation involves cutting off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid by tying a small band around it and leaving it to dry out. Alternatively, you could opt for sclerotherapy, which involves shrinking hemorrhoids by injecting a drug directly into them.
When more conservative treatment approaches haven't been successful, or when hemorrhoids are severe, your doctor may recommend you undergo a surgical procedure known as a hemorrhoidectomy. This procedure can be carried out under local or general anesthetic and involves your doctor using a scalpel to cut away external hemorrhoid tissue. It's common to require stitches after a hemorrhoidectomy, but you can usually go home the same day.
Internal hemorrhoids can be dealt with by undergoing hemorrhoid stapling, which prevents blood flow to the affected area and leads to the hemorrhoid tissue dying. This procedure is also carried out as a day case and you can go back to your normal activities within a few days, but hemorrhoid stapling has been linked to an increased susceptibility to developing a rectal prolapse, so discuss the procedure thoroughly with your doctor before making a decision.
These treatment options are quite diverse, so you should find a solution that works for you. Before committing to a specific treatment approach, discuss the risks and benefits in full with your doctor. They will be happy to answer any questions you have and explain potential side effects from drugs or the risk of injury from undergoing surgery.
For more information about hemorrhoidectomy procedures and other treatment options, contact your doctor.