There are several ways to rid yourself of the problem of hemorrhoids. Most are simple, such as simply changing your eating habits, while others require the use of ointments or prescription medications. Then there is the last choice – hemorrhoid surgery. This is used when either all previous attempts to heal the hemorrhoids have failed or when the problem is so severe surgery is the only choice.
There are several options of surgery for hemorrhoids your doctor can recommend. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so being informed will help you make an informed decision when you consult with your doctor. External hemorrhoids have a few more surgical choices than internal hemorrhoids, but at the end of the day you can expect to have to deal with the aftereffects and potential problems of any medical surgery.
When Do Hemorrhoids Need Surgery?
Let us begin with the most obvious question: When does my hemorrhoid problem require surgery?
Generally, with most people the symptoms of hemorrhoids can disappear after a few days without any type of medical treatment. Sometimes the doctor will diagnose the problem and prescribe an over the counter hemorrhoid ointment and a change to a high fiber diet with increased fluid intake. If the problem does not subside or completely stop, then a second visit to the doctor is in order, especially if there is continued bleeding.
Though common knowledge may suggest a hemorrhoid problem cannot get worse – it can. Remember the term “prolapsed.” That is when an internal hemorrhoid extends to the outside of the anus and becomes visible. Pain increases and blood often appears on the toilet paper after wiping. Should the prolapsed hemorrhoid continue to go untreated, the pain increases even more, making normal living very difficult. There are possible complications, including gangrene, which then become a possibility.
The simple rule of treatment to follow is: the sooner you see a doctor, the better the chances to avoid complications and hospitalization. Your doctor may be able to solve the problem at their local office, with procedures such as sclerotherapy or coagulation therapy that do not require the more invasive procedures at a hospital such as hemorrhoids surgery.
Internal Hemorrhoids Surgery
Using rubber bands to stop internal hemorrhoids from bleeding, also known as banding or rubber band ligation, is now a common and effective method. Tiny bands are placed around the hemorrhoid, causing the blood flow to stop, and the hemorrhoid will simply fall off. Not every hemorrhoid can be treated at the same time, so depending on the severity of the problem, several treatments at 2 month intervals may be required.
External Hemorrhoid Surgery
Cases where hemorrhoidal bleeding is uncontrolled or where a large number of hemorrhoids are present require the most invasive procedures. The two routinely used procedures to repair external hemorrhoids are a hemorrhoidectomy and a hemorrhoidopexy.
Simply put, a hemorrhoid removal surgery involves cutting out the hemorrhoids. You will undergo anesthesia and once the procedure is completed, moved to a recovery area. Hospitals stays are usually short – 1 or 2 days – depending on your specific medical conditions and your body’s ability to recover. You can then go home to complete your recovery.
A hemorrhoidopexy uses staples to put the external hemorrhoid back into place. The staple cuts off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid, and the result is much like banding. It is preferred, when possible, to a hemorrhoidectomy because it is less painful, is same day surgery, and presents fewer post-operative complications.
Is Hemorrhoid Surgery Painful?
In a word, yes. How long the pain will last will depend on the type of surgery you have and the severity of the problem prior to surgery. Pain medication will generally be prescribed by the surgeon, along with a diet plan to get your body back to a normal state.
Hemorrhoid Surgery During Pregnancy
A few notes about the more invasive types of surgery if it becomes necessary to have surgery while you are pregnant. First, you are more likely to be younger because you are pregnant, which makes recovery time less of an issue. One downside of being pregnant is that the doctor will likely reign in the pain medication, so you may experience more discomfort during recovery. Another is you are more likely to have less energy because of the demands carrying a baby puts on you to begin with. And many doctors will not use a general or spinal anesthetic for the procedure.
Though hemorrhoids are common in pregnant women, the rule to follow even more closely is the same regardless of gender: See a doctor at the first sign of a potential hemorrhoidal problem.