What are my options with hemorrhoid removal?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins found in the lower rectum or anus. Approximately half of the population will start to experience this painful issue around the age of 50. Some common causes of include pregnancy, obesity, constipation, childbirth, diarrhea, heavy lifting, and sitting still for an extended period of time.
There are two types of hemorrhoids, classified depending on their location:
- Internal ones usually occur inside the lower rectum and cannot be felt or seen. They are painless, and the only symptoms that are noticed are a small amount of bright red blood on the toilet paper or a feeling of fullness following bowel movements.
- On the other hand, external ones usually occur as lumps or bulges around the anus and can be very painful, especially if a blood clot forms. Therefore, it’s wise to choose the right method of hemorrhoid removal depending on the type that you have.
Most doctors diagnose this medical condition depending on the results of a physical exam or according to the patient’s medical history. External ones can be observed by checking the area around the anus while internal ones require a doctor to perform a digital rectal exam which involves checking inside the rectal cavity.
Excessive straining of the bowels can cause a disruption in the anchoring of a person’s anal cushions. When a person eliminates, these cushions are engorged with blood. This can cause displacement of the anal cushions and result in prolapse. This prolapse is known as a hemorrhoid.
Home hemorrhoid removal treatments
Using home remedies and over the counter medications can often help hemorrhoids reduce their size and disappear within a week. If they are not gone after a week of treatment, or if you have a severe amount of bleeding or pain, contact your primary care physician for more invasive hemorrhoid removal options.
1. High fiber diet
Eating whole fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help elimination while dealing with hemorrhoids. These foods create a soft, bulky stool that will pass easily and without strain. It is vital to avoid strain because this could exacerbate the problem.
Getting up and moving, exercising twenty to thirty minutes a day, may help hemorrhoids by increasing bowel motility.
3. Sitz baths
Soaking the anal area for ten to fifteen minutes, two to three times a day can reduce swelling, inflammation, and help hemorrhoids heal.
4. Topical relief
Suppositories and over the counter hemorrhoid treatments with numbing chemicals can provide temporary relief from symptoms. Likewise, applying cold compresses or ice packs directly to the anus can reduce swelling of the area.
5. Listen to your body
At the first moment you feel the urge to use the restroom, go! Do not wait until your bowels are backed up and you need to strain and push to relieve yourself. Create a regular bowel movement routine in order to prevent this issue.
6. Clot treatment
Blood clots can form on external hemorrhoids, and they can be very painful. Applying topical antibiotics and keeping it clean will assist the clot in healing quickly.
Over the counter pain medications, creams, and ointments can be used for hemorrhoids that are not very severe. Pads can be used to prevent blood from transferring to clothing, and ingredients like witch hazel, lidocaine, and hydrocortisone help to ease itching and pain until the problem resolves itself.
Surgical hemorrhoid removal options
1. External hemorrhoid thrombectomy
This procedure effectively removes a clot that appears inside an external hemorrhoid. With a simple incision, a doctor can drain the fluid from inside this lesion. For the greatest effect, the intervention should take place within 72 hours of when the clot develops.
2. Hemorrhoid banding
Banding is a procedure done in the doctor's office that is used for internal hemorrhoid removal. It’s also referred to as rubber band ligation, and it involves fixing tight bands to the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off the blood supply. This treatment usually requires two or more procedures, and the recovery time is about two months. Although the intervention itself is not very painful, you may feel some mild discomfort or pressure. Please note that this is not recommended for those taking blood thinners due to the risk of bleeding.
This is an exam that is conducted by your doctor to check inside your large intestines for any possible causes of rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, changes in bowel movement, and symptoms indicative of hemorrhoids. During a colonoscopy, you are required to lie on your left side while a sedative is injected into your arm. During this procedure, the doctor will put a tube-like instrument into your rectum and may retrieve samples of your colon for testing. The entire process usually takes about half an hour and the recovery time can range from 30 minutes to an hour. This is an investigation used to diagnose the presence of the condition, not an avenue of hemorrhoid removal but is important to note.
Commonly referred to as stapling, this procedure requires either a general, local, or regional anesthesia and is used in prolapsed hemorrhoid removal and treatment. In this procedure, a surgical staple is used to move the hemorrhoid back to its original place inside your rectum and to cut off its blood supply so that the tissue will shrink and eventually be reabsorbed.
5. Coagulation therapy
This procedure is also referred to as infrared photocoagulation because it uses infrared light, extreme cold, or heat to make the hemorrhoid shrink and retract. It is performed in your doctor's office alongside an anoscopy, which is a visualization step where a scope is inserted a few inches into your rectum. This allows your doctor to see inside, and most people experience some mild discomfort and cramping during the process. This treatment is also recommended for internal hemorrhoids, causing them to shrivel up and harden.
This is a surgical hemorrhoid removal procedure where a surgeon cuts out excess tissue that is causing pain and bleeding. There are a variety of techniques that these specialists may use to remove these masses. A local anesthetic is often used in conjunction with a conscious sedation or a spinal anesthetic. In some cases, a general anesthetic is used to put the patient to sleep. This is the most effective way to ensure hemorrhoid removal and prevent the sores from recurring.
After undergoing hemorrhoid removal surgery, you may expect some anal and rectal pain, which can be eased with painkillers. To help your recovery time, it is recommended that you eat a high-fiber diet, drink lots of water to stay hydrated, and if necessary, use a stool softener to ease any strain during bowel movements. It is also advisable to avoid activities that involve heavy pulling or lifting.
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