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Let’s Talk about Hemorrhoids

Article Date: June 11, 2012
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Written by Dr. Arvind Movva, Gastroenterology Consultants

You may not be able to spell it, but you probably know how it feels: a hemorrhoid. Hemorrhoids are a fairly common problem among adults in the United States. It is estimated that ten million people, or about 4% of the adult population, have hemorrhoids. Because talking about hemorrhoids can be embarrassing, only about a third of these people seek treatment in an average year.

You may feel embarrassed to talk about hemorrhoids, but you should see your doctor if you're experiencing any of the characteristic symptoms such as bleeding, swelling, itching or pain. The most common symptom, bleeding, can also be a symptom of something more serious, such as colon cancer. Once a doctor examines you and rules out a more serious condition and finds hemorrhoids, you can then be provided with treatment options for your bothersome symptoms.

A wide range of treatment options are available which may relieve you of your hemorrhoid symptoms. Typically, doctors recommend conservative therapies as the first line of treatment for either internal or external hemorrhoids. Making small lifestyle changes – like drinking plenty of fluids, eating foods that are rich in fiber, and limiting your time on the commode – have proved successful in providing relief from hemorrhoids.

If more conservative therapies yield little results, an alternative to invasive, hemorrhoid surgery (hemorrhoidectomy or hemorrhoidopexy) exists and can be explored with the help of your gastroenterologist. Rubber band ligation is a procedure that works by cutting off the blood supply to the excess hemorrhoidal tissue. This causes the hemorrhoid to shrink and fall off, typically within a day or so.

Now, you may be shaking your head “No,” remembering horrid tales told by friends about their painful rubber band ligation procedure. It is true– the main drawback for rubber band ligation has been pain. But, thanks to a new device and improved technique, hemorrhoid sufferers can get relief from their internal AND external hemorrhoids without the pain associated with conventional banding.

The CRH O’Regan System is a highly effective, minimally invasive procedure that is performed by a gastroenterologist in less than a minute. During the brief and painless procedure, the doctor places a small rubber band around the tissue just above the internal hemorrhoid where there are few pain-sensitive nerve endings. Unlike hemorrhoid surgery, this easy and proven procedure does not require bowel prep (cleansing), placement of an IV, or a driver to accompany the patient, and normal activities such as driving and returning to work can be resumed immediately. Some patients may experience a feeling of fullness or a dull ache in the rectum in the 24 hours following their procedure. But, this can typically be relieved with an over-the-counter pain medication. A remarkable 99.1% of patients treated using this banding system have no post-procedure pain!

The CRH O'Regan System may not be appropriate for all hemorrhoid sufferers. If you choose to end the silence and schedule a visit, you and your doctor will determine an appropriate treatment for your diagnosis during your examination. Stop sitting on your symptoms – check with your doctor.

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