Sometimes hemorrhoidal conditions simply do not respond to topical creams or oral drugs. While the failure of initial efforts is concerning, other medically approved treatments may lead the way in treating your hemorrhoids.
Choosing the right non-surgical procedure can prevent invasive procedures that cost a lot and keep you tied to a hospital bed for months.
Uncover what non-surgical procedures are available for hemorrhoids and all you need to know about these treatments.
Understanding Non-Surgical Procedures for Hemorrhoids
To start, let’s clarify what I mean by non-surgical procedures because the line appears blurry when you consider all hemorrhoidal treatments under a single roof.
Here, I’m referring to medical procedures for hemorrhoids that qualify as minimally invasive. So, surgeries like hemorrhoidectomy are off the table. That’s because it’s a major surgery that involves serious incisions and active removal of the affected tissue.
Non-surgical procedures include less invasive treatments where doctors use tools and medication to treat the affected area directly. These procedures involve direct treatment of hemorrhoidal tissues to fight symptoms, decrease pain/discomfort, or remove them altogether. They’re more effective than simple home remedies or over-the-counter creams.
Rubber band ligation and Sclerotherapy remain the two most commonly advised procedures in this category. I’ll explain both below, along with an outline of other similar procedures.
Rubber Band Ligation: Procedure and Recovery Explained
Rubber band ligation remains one of the simplest yet incredibly effective procedures for removing hemorrhoids. It’s a treatment mostly applied to internal hemorrhoids. This ligation process does not involve a lot of pain and is quickly done compared to a full-fledged surgery like hemorrhoidectomy.
Here’s how they do it.
- The doctor explains the procedure and prepares you by assigning you a specific position (usually on your sides).
- The doctor will then apply an anesthetic solution to reduce physical sensation in the area.
- They’ll insert an anoscope (thin tubular instrument) to illuminate and examine your hemorrhoids.
- Using a litigator tool, the doctor will grab hold of the hemorrhoidal tissue, ensuring that other healthy tissue remains undisturbed.
- They’ll wrap hemorrhoid’s base with a rubber band, tightly restricting further blood flow to the hemorrhoidal tissues.
- The same procedure repeats for other hemorrhoidal tissue detected during the examination.
- Within a week or two, restricted blood flow weakens the hemorrhoidal tissue, and it may detach, fall off, recede, or go away on its own.
Recovering from rubber band ligation is not time-consuming or difficult. After the tissues come out in about two weeks, you’ll soon feel normal again without the discomfort or pain of swollen hemorrhoids.
Expect some irritation or pain when waiting for the hemorrhoids to get better. Doctors normally prescribe an oral pain reliever or numbing cream for the purpose.
Sclerotherapy: Procedure and Recovery Explained
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure that damages your hemorrhoidal tissues, causing them to shrink, shrivel, and go away. The procedure involves injecting chemicals into the affected tissue, and results take slightly longer than rubber band ligation.
Here’s what to expect.
- Doctors will instruct you to lie on your sides or in an appropriate position for the procedure to take place. They’ll also explain the procedure and whether you should expect any discomfort.
- They’ll choose a local anesthetic and apply it to the affected area so that physical sensation is numbed for the procedure.
- Using an Anoscope, they’ll probe into the rectum and visually examine the severity of your hemorrhoids.
- The doctor will inject the chemical solution into the affected tissue directly. You may feel a pinching sensation or mild pain during this process. The chemical used is normally Phenol, Sodium Morrhuate, or Polidocanol.
- They’ll inject the solution multiple times if there are several hemorrhoidal tissues that need the treatment.
The injected chemicals will scar or shrink the tissues. As your body repairs the damage, the scarred hemorrhoidal tissues get replaced with healthy tissue.
Full recovery from Sclerotherapy may take two or three weeks at least. That’s because the healing of damaged tissue takes time, depending on your current health and the severity of the hemorrhoids.
Other Non-Surgical Procedures for Hemorrhoids: A Quick Overview
Rubber band ligation and Sclerotherapy remain the most used solutions for treating hemorrhoids without heavy surgery. There are, however, alternatives that doctors may suggest depending on how your hemorrhoids develop.
Doctors use a round staple to grasp hemorrhoids that have prolapsed and place them back in a better position.
Another popular alternative in hemorrhoidal procedures is infrared coagulation. Here, a medical professional will use infrared rays to heat and scar the hemorrhoidal tissue, leading to clotting and faster recovery.
Doctors use electrical tools that direct a streak of electricity to the affected tissues. Hemorrhoids get damaged and reduced in size, leading to a relief in symptoms and the possibility of curing the condition.
DGHAL is a procedure that stands for Doppler-Guided Hemorrhoidal Artery Ligation. Here, doctors use tools leveraging the Doppler effect to locate specific arteries supporting the hemorrhoids by supplying blood. The doctor will tie off this artery leading to the hemorrhoidal tissues choking and shrinking away.
Deciding Which Procedure is Right For You: A Step-by-step Guide
Consult your doctor before choosing a specific procedure for your hemorrhoids. Medical professionals may consider factors like your age, medical history, current lifestyle, and hemorrhoidal severity before suggesting the most appropriate treatment.
If diagnosed correctly and proven mild, doctors may even suggest topical treatments and lifestyle changes instead of medical procedures.
If you have to undergo a procedure, consider elements of cost, duration, recovery trends, etc.
Sclerotherapy and rubber band ligation remain affordable and take the least time for recovery. These aspects make them excellent options for patients with a smaller budget and need for quick recovery.
However, they do involve some discomfort and mild pain, even with the use of local anesthetics. For painless procedures, treatments like infrared coagulation may be more up your alley.
Stapled hemorrhoidopexy is more expensive compared to other immediate alternatives. But it also offers effective results thanks to more advanced equipment and tools used in the process.
Non-surgical procedures for hemorrhoids remain the best alternative between topical treatments and major surgeries. They manage symptoms better than creams and ointments but are not as expensive and inconvenient as heavy surgery.