Haemorrhoids or piles refer to the swellings that develop in the back passage of the lower rectum or lining of the anus, often resulting in mild to severe pain in the region. They develop due to the widening and engorgement of the veins lining the inside of the anus and rectum, usually resulting from conditions such as prolonged constipation, ageing, hereditary factors or pregnancy.
In the initial stages, they are located just inside the anus, but as the condition progresses they may protrude outside permanently and at times, even become quite large in size. A haemorrhoid may cure on its own or persist for longer durations, causing discomfort that may require medical attention and at times, even surgery.
Various Treatment Options For Haemorrhoids
Change In Diet
Haemorrhoids that result due to constipation can be treated with slight modification of the diet to includion of fruits and vegetables, other fibrous foods and roughage. You can also add fibre supplements such as methylcellulose, bran, ispaghula or sterculia to your diet and include at least 8-10 glasses of water and other fluids to help the system get rid of the toxins.
Apart from that, going for regular bowel movements and completely avoiding straining during bowel motions can help in the treatment of existing haemorrhoids and prevent the formation of new ones.
Use Of Creams, Ointments And Suppositories
For painful haemorrhoids you can use anaesthetic creams to ease the pain and discomfort. Though they may not be able to cure the haemorrhoids, they can provide temporary relief from the pain. A soothing cream or ointment containing steroids can also help relieve the pain and inflammation of the anus and reduces the swelling and itchiness in the area.
However, they should be used only for shorter durations of time, not longer than 5-7 days at a stretch as they can cause irritation and sensitization of the skin around the anus with prolonged use. Bland soothing ointments and suppositories are also quite effective in relieving discomfort in the anal region.
Use Of Ice Packs And Rest
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For external haemorrhoids you can achieve some degree of comfort with appropriate rest and through the application of ice packs on the affected area for around 15-30 minutes. However, you should be careful to avoid direct contact of the skin with ice.
The procedure is performed by a surgeon and involves grasping the haemorrhoids with forceps or through a suction device and pinching it away from the base with the use of rubber bands. Pinching the haemorrhoids restricts the flow of blood to them, leading to their death and eventually falling off from the body, leaving behind some scar tissue at the base.
The procedure is usually painless and quite effective. However, around 20% of the cases show recurrence of the haemorrhoids at a later stage. In some rare cases, the patients may also experience complications such as urinary problems, bleeding and infection at the site or appearance of ulcers.
The procedure involves injecting phenol in oil at the base of haemorrhoids. The phenol causes the vein walls to collapse and scarring of the tissues, restricting the flow of blood to the haemorrhoids. Though this process is similar to banding, it is less popular as it has a lower rate of success.
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This is the traditional surgical procedure performed under general anaesthesia to operate and remove haemorrhoids. It has a very high rate of success, but brings along the associated risk of side-effects and complications from surgery.
Use Of Heat
Some less common procedures like infrared coagulation, electrotherapy, photocoagulation and diathermy use heat to destroy the haemorrhoids. However, these procedures are not used commonly as they have a low rate of success.
This procedure involves removal of a large portion of the abnormally enlarged haemorrhoid using a circular stapling gun and repositioning the remaining tissue back up the anal canal.
Haemorrhoidal Artery Ligation
As the name suggests, the procedure involves tying up the small arteries that supply blood to the haemorrhoids. It is a painless procedure with fairly successful results and is becoming increasingly popular.
Though haemorrhoids are not usually dangerous, they can cause considerable pain and discomfort to the affected individuals. With a convenient treatment option, you can effectively treat the haemorrhoids and get rid of the associated discomforts.
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