Haemorrhoids

Haemorrhoids can be uncomfortable but treatment is typically successful following diagnosis.
Three-quarters of adults will experience problems with haemorrhoids – whilst they are not dangerous they can be uncomfortable, itchy and sometimes painful. Whether your symptoms are recent or you have been suffering from haemorrhoids for a long time GI doctors are here to relieve the discomfort you are experiencing. Like many gastrointestinal conditions, we can successfully treat haemorrhoids following diagnosis.

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Haemorrhoids are uncomfortable – come to see one of our specialist GI doctors to get out of pain

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Types of Haemorrhoids

Haemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen blood vessels in and around the anus or the lowest part of the rectum
Haemorrhoids usually form inside the anal canal and may eventually develop external components if left untreated

  • Internal haemorrhoids: Form inside the upper anal canal/distal rectum. These types of haemorrhoids don’t tend to cause much discomfort or pain, as there are not many pain sensing nerves found here. They are not also visible. However, passing stools can cause bleeding, which can certainly be alarming.
  • Protruding haemorrhoids: Also known as prolapsed haemorrhoids are where the internal haemorrhoid pushes through the anal opening, typically due to straining.
  • External haemorrhoids Are probably due to the development of externalised components due to straining and constipation. They may cause itching or bleeding.
  • Thrombosed haemorrhoids: Occur when an external haemorrhoid bleeds into itself and forms a clot.
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Haemorrhoids Causes Can Include

Straining during bowel movements, and a tendency towards constipation
Increased pressure on veins during pregnancy
Age – elderly people are increasingly susceptible to haemorrhoids
Varicose veins is suspected to increase the risk
Obesity, due to added abdominal pressure
Sitting or standing for long durations
Excessive sneezing and coughing

Symptoms of Haemorrhoids

The symptoms of haemorrhoids usually relate to their location. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then seek the advice of a specialist surgeon that can help diagnose if you have haemorrhoids and if so, which type.

Are you experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis?

  • Small amounts of blood on the toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl, typically bright red in colour.
  • Itching or discomfort in your anal area.
  • Swelling around your anal opening.
  • A sensitive or painful lump near your anus.
  • Pain when going to the toilet, but this is rare and can be a sign of an alternative diagnosis.
Haemorrhoids Diagnosis
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Diagnosis will depend on your symptoms. Because some haemorrhoids are external, a doctor can sometimes diagnose by simply looking, in other cases a more detailed form of diagnosis is required. Please feel free to talk to us if you are feeling concerned about your examination. Our GI doctors are experts in diagnosing and treating haemorrhoids and we will ensure you are treated with kindness and dignity.

Rectal exam. A doctor will insert a lubricated, gloved finger to assess your rectum, looking for growths or abnormalities.

Proctoscopy or rigid sigmoiodoscopy. A proctoscope or a sigmoidoscope may be used to examine inside your anal canal, including the last section of the colon. These scopes are thin rigid plastic tubes with a light and camera that enable the surgeon to look at the lining of the rectum and back passage.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy. A flexible sigmoidoscope looks at the distal colon and rectum to establish there is no other untoward cause for bright red rectal bleeding. This should rule out conditions such as polyps which need to be removed.

Colonoscopy. If there are any abnormalities that need further investigation, your doctor may also refer you for a colonoscopy, which uses an endoscope to view the entire length of your colon. This would only be relevant if your symptoms, and anything discovered in the other examinations, suggest that you may have a related digestive tract disorder.

Haemorrhoids Treatment

Often haemorrhoids will heal naturally within a few weeks and some simple lifestyle changes can help to ease the symptoms in the meantime, as well as preventing future issues.

  • Eat a diet high in fibre, which helps to soften stools.
  • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to aid digestion
  • Taking a 10-15 minute warm bath can soften the anal area.
  • Ensure the anal area is clean by showering more regularly whilst focusing on the cleanliness of the anus.
  • Avoid perfumed wipes.
  • Apply cold compresses, or ice packs to reduce swelling around the anus
Treatment Procedures for Persistent Haemorrhoids

For persistent haemorrhoids that are particularly painful or bleed regularly, there are several minimally invasive treatment procedures. These include:

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Rubber band ligation – which uses tiny rubber bands to cut off the circulation of the haemorrhoid. It can be uncomfortable and cause bleeding but it is an effective treatment for many people. Occasionally, other symptoms (pain) arise following the procedure, but it is rare.

Coagulation techniques
– use laser, heat or infrared light to harden and shrivel the internal haemorrhoid.

Surgery – Surgery is also an option for particularly large haemorrhoids or recurring haemorrhoids. The surgery is called a haemorrhoidectomy and requires anaesthetic, which may be local, spinal or general.

Surgical Options GI Doctors Offer

A full or partial open haemorrhoidectomy. THD haemorrhoidopexy utilising a Doppler ultrasound to tie off the haemorrhoidal artery branches.
The Rafaelo procedure for internal haemorrhoids which involves radio-frequency ablation of the haemorrhoids

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The Rafaelo Procedure

The Rafaelo Procedure is a revolutionary new treatment available for people suffering from haemorrhoids. It became available in 2015 and since over 2000 treatments have been performed. GI Doctors are able to offer this procedure due to our extensive experience in colorectal surgery.

The procedure:

A small amount of sedative may be administered, to help you relax
A local anaesthetic is used to the haemorrhoid area
A safe and painless radiofrequency is then applied to the stem of the haemorrhoid, causing it to contract
Symptoms should disappear instantly
Most procedures just take a few minutes
Benefits of Rafaelo Procedure:
Minimal discomfort
Safe treatment
Return to daily life immediately
No aftercare
Minimal chance of symptoms returning

Doctors Who Can Treat Haemorrhoids
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