Treatment for haemorrhoids includes lifestyle modification, medications or surgical procedures. In many people haemorrhoids improve considerably with lifestyle modifications. But some may need medications or surgical procedures.
Diet and lifestyle changes are often effective in controlling swelling and symptoms of haemorrhoids. Increasing fibre content in the diet can make stools softer and easier to pass. This helps to reduce pressure on haemorrhoids caused by straining for stool. According to experts, women should have 25 grams of fibre per day and men should consume 38 grams.
Other changes that can improve symptoms of haemorrhoid include:
Haemorrhoids with symptoms or discomfort can be treated with over-the-counter creams, ointments, suppositories or pads. They contain ingredients, such as witch hazel or hydrocortisone, which are useful to relieve pain and itching, at least temporarily. Use of any over-the-counter cream or any other product for more than a week should be avoided. They can cause side effects, such as skin rash, inflammation and skin thinning.
Doctors may advise taking a bulk stool softener or a fibre supplement such as psyllium or methylcellulose to make the stool soft and easier to pass. This can reduce pressure on haemorrhoids caused by straining for stool.
Minimally invasive procedures
Pain of thrombosed external haemorrhoid (haemorrhoid with blood clot in it) may be relieved by removing the clot with a simple incision. If you have persistent bleeding or painful haemorrhoids, other minimally invasive procedure which may be done include:
Rubber band ligation: In this procedure, one or two tiny rubber bands are placed around the base of an internal haemorrhoid. This cuts off its circulation and the haemorrhoid then withers and falls off within a week. It can cause discomfort and bleeding, (may be two to four days after the procedure but is rarely severe).
Injection (sclerotherapy): A chemical solution is injected into the haemorrhoid tissue. This causes it to shrink. The injection causes little or no pain, but it is not as effective as rubber band ligation.
Coagulation (infrared, laser or bipolar): Laser or infrared light or heat can be used to coagulate the haemorrhoid. The small, bleeding, internal haemorrhoids become hard after treatment and are shrivelled up. There are a few side effects of this treatment, but it's associated with a higher rate of recurrence, compared to rubber band treatment.
If other treatments do not relieve the symptoms, or you have large haemorrhoids, surgery may be needed. Surgery can usually be performed on an outpatient basis. Some people may have to stay overnight in the hospital. Surgical procedures for treatment of haemorrhoid include:
Your doctor will recommend treatment that is best for you based on factors such as size of haemorrhoids, symptoms and your overall health.
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