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If you’ve got them, you pretty much know you have them.  Hemorrhoids.   The swollen veins that can form either inside or around the body, Their are 2 types (1) called internal hemorrhoids, or under the tissue and (2) external hemorrhoids which, as the name implies– are visible or palpable outside the body.  Sometimes an internal hemorrhoid will protrude through the opening of the anus thus becoming what is called prolapsed.

Common symptoms of either form may include itching, burning, constant irritation and even moderate to severe pain.  They can also cause noticeable, yet painless bleeding during bowel movements.  They are caused by straining or pressure on the veins, and become more common as people age.  Hemorrhoids are also very common during pregnancy, when the developing fetus puts significant weight and pressure on the effected area.

Some milder cases will resolve on their own without the need for medical treatment or surgical intervention.  Home remedies such as over-the-counter creams, cold packs, refraining from straining on the toilet, and using acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help alleviate symptoms associated with most mild cases of hemorrhoids.

If hemorrhoids persist, after a week or so of conservative home treatment, if they worsen, or if you experience a substantial amount of rectal bleeding, it is important to see your doctor or seek out a colorectal specialist to have your condition evaluated.   

Treatments options include:

Rubber band ligation.  A rubber band is tied around the base of the hemorrhoid, cutting off blood flow and causing it shrink .

Sclerotherapy.  This technique is also used for varicose veins in the legs.  A solution is injected into the problem vein that causes it to collapse and seal off.

Surgery (called hemorrhoidectomy), involves your doctor making an incision in the rectum to remove the enlarged veins.  In some instances, hemorrhoids can be stapled rather than surgically excised.  For surgical intervention, general anesthesia or “twilight” sedation is required.

Laser Surgery

Laser treatment for hemorrhoids is becoming a more and more widely accepted viable alternative to other more “traditional” forms of hemorrhoidectomy.  Many feel that surgeons can achieve better, more permanent results via laser surgery. Studies have also shown that laser procedures may cause less postoperative pain and promote faster recovery times.  A Co2 laser is used to either cut or vaporize which causes less trauma to the treatment area.  Most patients report having zero reoccurrence after laser treatment.