A Gift to Yourself: Hemorrhoid Banding

Hembanding, Hemorrhoid BandingTaking care of yourself is one of the best gifts that you can give.  How often do we just decide to deal with discomfort instead of taking the step toward wellness?  Hemorrhoids can be annoying and uncomfortable, but many people just endure the discomfort because they don’t know that they have treatment options.  Yes, you do have more choices than whether to buy the Preparation H cream or wipes!

One option to treat hemorrhoids is called hemorrhoid banding or rubber band ligation.   It is a simple but effective procedure whereby a doctor uses a rubber band to cut off blood supply to a hemorrhoid, causing it to eventually fall off. This minimally invasive procedure is most often used for small or medium-sized hemorrhoids.  The advantages are that the procedure is easy to perform, it is relatively inexpensive, and it usually requires no anesthesia.

The process begins with a doctor using an anoscope to determine the exact location of the hemorrhoid.  The hemorrhoid is then grasped and banded.  The banding deprives the hemorrhoid of oxygen so the tissue slowly dies after about a week.  After the hemorrhoid falls off, scar tissue forms and acts as a deterrent for future hemorrhoids to form in the same place. 

There are a few disadvantages to hemorrhoid banding.  Without general anesthesia, only one or two hemorrhoids can be banded at an appointment and each appointment must be spaced 4-6 weeks apart.    Patients should expect to feel some pain for a few days after the procedure, and some patients have complained of bleeding, band slippage, infection, pelvic sepsis, anal fissure and thrombosed hemorrhoids. These incidents are rare, but it is important to research the benefits and potential risks of the procedure.  One essential step in the recovery process is to keep the stool very soft so as not to strain the treated area. 

Hemorrhoid banding has been an approved method of treatment by doctors since the 1960s and continues to be an effective method to decrease the number and severity of hemorrhoids.  If you are exploring treatment options, talk to your doctor about what type of treatment is best for you. After giving yourself the gift of relief and comfort, make some healthy lifestyle choices like drinking more water and increasing fiber intake to prevent the development of further hemorrhoids.  Maybe Benjamin Franklin was talking about hemorrhoids when stating, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

 

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