What Is the Treatment for Hemorroids?Medical treatment of hemorrhoids initially is aimed at relieving symptoms. Measures to reduce symptoms include:
- Warm tub or sitz baths
several times a day in plain, warm water for about 10 minutes.
- Ice packs to help reduce
- Application of a hemorroidal cream or suppository to the affected area for a limited time.
Prevention of the recurrence of hemorrhoids is aimed at changing conditions associated with the pressure and straining of constipation. Doctors will often recommend increasing fiber and fluids in the diet. Eating the right amount of fiber and drinking six to eight glasses of fluid (not alcohol) result in softer, bulkier stools. A softer stool makes emptying the bowels easier and lessens the pressure on hemorrhoids caused by straining. Eliminating straining also helps prevent the hemorrhoids from protruding.
Good sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. In addition, doctors may suggest a bulk stool softener or a fiber supplement such as psyllium (Metamucil) or methylcellulose (Citrucel).
In some cases, hemorrhoids must be treated surgically. These methods are used to shrink and destroy the hemorrhoidal tissue and are performed under anesthesia. The doctor will perform the surgery during an office or hospital visit.
A number of surgical methods may be used to remove or reduce the size of internal hemorrhoids. These techniques include:
- Rubber band
ligation--A rubber band is placed around the base of the
hemorrhoid inside the rectum. The band cuts off circulation, and
the hemorrhoid withers away within a few days.
- Sclerotherapy--A chemical solution is injected around the blood vessel to shrink the hemorrhoid.
Techniques used to treat both internal and external hemorrhoids include:
- Electrical or laser
heat (laser coagulation) or infrared light (infrared photo
coagulation)--Both techniques use special devices to burn
- Hemorrhoidectomy--Occasionally, extensive or severe internal or external hemorrhoids may require removal by surgery known as hemorrhoidectomy. This is the best method for permanent removal of hemorrhoids.
How Are Hemorrhoids Prevented?The best way to prevent hemorrhoids is to keep stools soft so they pass easily, thus decreasing pressure and straining, and to empty bowels as soon as possible after the urge occurs. Exercise, including walking, and increased fiber in the diet help reduce constipation and straining by producing stools that are softer and easier to pass.
Reprinted from the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse