Hemorrhoids are an annoying taboo subject, which makes many people very uncomfortable. Even in the case of acute diseases, the inhibitions to see a doctor are great and often valuable time is wasted to effectively treat diseases in the rectal area. We will try to explain what hemorrhoids are and how to treat them.
So, first things first: everyone has hemorrhoids. They are part of the anal area and usually do their work there inconspicuously. Hemorrhoids are vascular cushions arranged in a ring at the transition from the rectum to the anal canal. Together with the internal and external sphincter of the anus, they serve to seal the intestine from the outside and prevent, for example, stool from leaving the intestine in an uncontrolled manner.
However, these organs can also become diseased, for example due to swelling or inflammation. Diseases in the anal tract can be caused by a variety of factors, such as chronic constipation (poor diet), straining (too much pressing) during bowel movements, pregnancy, obesity, or even just sitting for long periods of time, such as at a 9 to 5 office job. With increasing age, the probability also increases that diseases in the anal area occur.
Then the hemorrhoids swell, and there is also permanent itching and inflammation. Swelling can be internal, in which case the hemorrhoids are still inside the rectum despite swelling – or external, in which case the hemorrhoids are already outside the anus. Then there are clear problems with bowel movements, and in addition, swollen, external hemorrhoids can be extremely painful. By now at the latest, all alarm bells should be ringing.
Many sufferers wonder what they can do about it. The good news is that there are a number of treatment options and surgical intervention is not always necessary.
One of the first things you can do to relieve symptoms is to make lifestyle changes. This includes eating more fiber, drinking plenty of water and avoiding prolonged sitting. Of course, over-the-counter creams or suppositories can first relieve swelling and discomfort.
However, it is often too late for this. For more severe symptoms, your doctor may recommend prescription medications such as corticosteroids or vasoconstrictors. In some cases, significant improvements can be achieved with minimally invasive procedures such as rubber band ligation. This involves placing a small rubber band around the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off its blood supply, causing it to shrink and eventually fall off.
If none of this helps, surgical intervention is the only option left – but even that can be done quickly, effectively and without significant late effects today. Depending on the clinical picture, the hemorrhoids are removed with scissors, scalpel or laser. The remaining tissue is attached to the anal mucosa. The surgical wound is sutured or left open, depending on its size. Overall, the risk of complications after hemorrhoid surgery is very low. Of course, there is a risk of more or less severe postoperative bleeding with all surgical techniques, so patients should remain in the hospital for a few days for observation – but depending on the severity of the procedure, even this can be waived in individual cases. The healing period after hemorrhoid surgery can also vary. During this time, lifting heavy loads is prohibited, and special attention should be paid to comprehensive anal hygiene: Daily sitz baths and cleaning with a warm water jet after each bowel movement should be obligatory.
In the end, the assessment of the clinical picture and the surgical method used is always individual – in our practice, patients can rely on being treated by proven specialists. Thus, we always find the best way to relieve your symptoms and restore your health.
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