Medical and surgery options for treating hemorrhoids are indicated when home treatment fails to relieve symptoms or in cases where hemorrhoids frequently reoccur. If you have been struggling with severe or reoccurring hemorrhoids, a consultation with a gastroenterologist will determine which course of action is best for your symptoms. Attending your appointment armed with knowledge about the various treatment options will aid in your discussions. Here is an overview of the types of medical treatments for hemorrhoids:
Minimally Invasive Procedures
The following treatments are generally performed at your doctor's office. Side effects tend to be minimal and short-lasting.
Rubber Band Ligation
Rubber band ligation is the most common medical treatment for hemorrhoids. In this procedure, a rubber band is placed around the hemorrhoid. This procedure cuts off blood flow to the hemorrhoid causing it to shrink. Within several days, the hemorrhoid will disappear and the rubber band will fall off. Rubber band ligation is successful in a high percentage of cases.
As an alternative to rubber band ligation, your doctor may recommend sclerotherapy. In this procedure, a chemical is injected into the hemorrhoid. This chemical causes the hemorrhoidal tissue to harden and scar, thus causing the hemorrhoid to disappear.
This procedure involves the use of a laser or infrared light to destroy the hemorrhoidal tissue.
When hemorrhoids are quite severe or recurring or the above methods of removal have been unsuccessful, your doctor may recommend surgical removal of the hemorrhoid.
A hemorrhoidectomy is the removal of the hemorrhoid through a surgical procedure. As compared to the minimally invasive options described above and similar to all surgical procedures, hemorrhoidectomy involves more pain, carries a higher risk of complications, and requires recuperation time and missed work days. On the positive side, hemorrhoidectomies appear to significantly reduce the chance of recurring symptoms.
Procedure for Prolapse and Hemorrhoids (Stapled Hemorrhoidopexy)
This procedure was developed as an alternative to the conventional hemorrhoidectomy procedure. It involves the use of a circular stapling device that removes the hemorrhoid tissue and staples the area closed. As compared to traditional hemorrhoidectomy, this procedure is generally less painful and recovery time is quicker. The downside of this procedure is that it carries a higher risk of repeat hemorrhoids.
Bledley, R. "Patient information: Hemorrhoids" UpToDate Accessed Januray 2010.
Jayaraman, S., Colquhoun, P., & Malthaner, R. "Stapled versus conventional surgery for hemorrhoids." Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006 Issue 4. Art. No.: CD005393.
Shanmugam, V., et.al. "Rubber band ligation versus excisional haemorrhoidectomy for haemorrhoids." Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2005 Issue 1. Art. No.: CD005034.
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DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment rendered by a licensed physician. It is essential that you discuss with your doctor any symptoms or medical problems that you may be experiencing.