Hemorrhoids affect millions of people around the world, and while most people experience mild symptoms like itching, burning or light bleeding, especially after bowel movements, others experience severe pain and discomfort that can make everyday activities like sitting at a desk or driving – even walking – very painful. While mild symptoms can generally be relieved with creams and ointments, hemorrhoids that cause severe symptoms typically must be removed.
But first, what are hemorrhoids? Hemorrhoids are collection of blood vessels, nerves and other tissue located along the anal wall. Sometimes, hemorrhoids can become irritated and enlarged. This enlargement typically occurs in response to increased pressure from weight gain, pregnancy, prolonged standing or even straining when having a bowel movement. In some cases, hemorrhoids prolapse, or extend beyond the rectum, increasing painful symptoms.
When removal is necessary, the most common and least invasive procedure is hemorrhoid banding, or rubber band ligation. In the banding procedure, a special instrument called an anoscope is used to visualize the hemorrhoids and determine where the bands should be placed. These bands are placed around the base of the hemorrhoids, encircling them securely and cutting off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid. If the bands feel uncomfortable, anesthetic can be injected into the hemorrhoid to numb it. Over the next several days, the hemorrhoid will shrivel and eventually fall off, forming a scar that will help keep veins in place to prevent hemorrhoids from recurring. Hemorrhoid banding is a simple outpatient procedure that can be done right in the doctor’s office.
If your hemorrhoids are causing you severe, persistent pain, there’s no need to suffer. Have them evaluated to see if banding is right for you. And even if your symptoms aren’t severe, scheduling an evaluation is the best way to your hemorrhoids are not part of a more serious condition like a rectal tumor. Call the Incontinence Institute to schedule your evaluation.