What is a hemorrhoid?
A hemorrhoid is a collection of swollen tissue and blood vessels in the lower rectum or anus. With onset commonly occurring after the age of 30, hemorrhoids will affect more than half the population at some point in their lives. Common causes include constipation, pregnancy, childbirth, obesity, heavy lifting, sitting for long periods and diarrhea.
There are two types of hemorrhoids based on location: internal hemorrhoids and external hemorrhoids. The type of hemorrhoid will determine the options available for treatment and for pain relief. If you are unsure which type of hemorrhoid you have, the best course of action is to consult a physician.
Home remedies such as a hemorrhoid cream, suppositories and warm baths may offer temporary relief from the symptoms of hemorrhoids. But for many people, hemorrhoids don't go away. Instead, they can get progressively worse over time, growing in both size and number. Some chronic sufferers develop hemorrhoids in as many as three locations.
What nonsurgical treatment is available?
The Surgery Clinic at North Valley Hospital uses the patented and proprietary CRH O'Regan System for the treatment of hemorrhoids. This highly effective (99.1 percent), minimally invasive procedure is performed in our office in less than a minute. We make recommendations to reduce the chance of recurrence later (currently 5 percent in two years). If there are multiple hemorrhoids, we treat them one at a time in separate visits.
During the brief and painless procedure, the physician places a small rubber band around the tissue just above the internal hemorrhoid where there are few pain-sensitive nerve endings. Unlike traditional banding techniques that use a metal-toothed clamp to grasp the tissue, we use a gentle suction device, reducing the risk of pain and bleeding. Advanced cases where the diagnosis is both internal and external hemorrhoids may require additional therapy as rubber banding alone may not be suitable.
The banding procedure works by cutting off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid. This causes the hemorrhoid to shrink and fall off, typically within a day or so. You probably won't even notice when this happens or be able to spot the rubber band in the toilet. Once the hemorrhoid is gone, the wound usually heals within one to five days.
During the first 24 hours, some patients may experience a feeling of fullness or a dull ache in the rectum. This typically can be relieved with an over-the-counter pain medication. However, a remarkable 99.1 percent of patients treated with the method have no post-procedure pain.
Learn more about the CRH O'Regan System for the treatment of hemorrhoids.