Hemorrhoids are an embarrassing subject to discuss, even with your doctor. Who wants to admit that they have a literal pain the butt? Unfortunately, many people suffer in silence because they feel alone in their symptoms. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! It is estimated that 40 percent of the population have experienced hemorrhoids and about half of adults over 50 years of age have been affected. Hemorrhoids are certainly common, even though they are rarely the topic of talk shows, newspaper features and magazines articles.
Hemorrhoids are, quite simply, varicose veins in the rectal area. They can develop from pregnancy, childbirth, excessive lifting, sitting or standing too long, straining and constipation, aging and obesity. Hemorrhoids can be just temporary in the event of pregnancy, or they can be chronic. Chronic hemorrhoids can be painful and annoying, but there is good news. There are several treatments available to help control hemorrhoids and they are quite effective and painless:
- Natural Treatments—If your hemorrhoid case is mild, try some at-home treatment first. Modifying diet, water consumption and exercise regime is a good place to start. Increasing fiber to 25 grams for women and 35 grams for men as well as drinking more than 64 ounces of water per day is essential for soft stools. Exercise several times per week doing activities you enjoy. Try sitz baths, ice packs, witch hazel compresses, and over the counter pain medication to treat hemorrhoids at home. If you do not get relief, talk to your doctor about outpatient options.
- Hemorrhoid Banding—This procedure is also known as ligation. To treat persistent hemorrhoids that bleed and cause pain or itching, a doctor will place a rubber band around the hemorrhoid to cut off blood supply. Eventually, the hemorrhoid will fall off.
- Infrared Coagulation (IRC) This outpatient, nonsurgical procedure is one of the leading office treatments for hemorrhoids. A small probe is placed above the hemorrhoid and the probe emits short bursts of infrared light. The light hardens the blood vessels that supply the hemorrhoid with blood and the hemorrhoid shrinks over a period of a few weeks. This procedure is painless and highly effective.
- Injections—Hemorrhoid sclerotherapy uses the same technology as spider vein treatments. Chemicals are injected into the hemorrhoid to harden the tissue and cause the veins to collapse. The resulting scar actually helps to strengthen the anal wall and prevent future hemorrhoid development.
Hemorrhoids are common and easy to treat, so speak up and talk to your doctor about treatment options that will work best for you. Click here to find a treatment center near you.