Are you one of the 96% suffering needlessly?
Millions of Americans are plagued with painful hemorrhoids. Most people try to treat them using over-the-counter wipes and creams and by adding fiber to their diet. When this doesn’t offer relief, only about 4% seek hemorrhoids treatment until they are impossible to ignore.
Los Angeles colorectal surgeon Dr. Zuri Murrell understands the reluctance many people have to seek help. One treatment he regularly performs is called rubber band ligation. This is an almost painless treatment that can provide relief within a week following treatment.
A hemorrhoid flare up is painful; the thought of having treatment in the area can be very daunting. As hemorrhoids usually get worse as time goes on, Dr. Murrell encourages anyone suffering from hemorrhoid flare up to seek treatment at the earliest sign of trouble.
What is rubber band ligation hemorrhoid treatment?
As the name suggests, a rubber band is placed at the base of the hemorrhoid which restricts the blood supply. The hemorrhoid dies within a week and drops off to be passed out of the body. All that is left is a smooth scar which helps to prevent the formation of a new hemorrhoid.
A little known fact about hemorrhoids is that every human being has them. The hemorrhoidal veins are located in the lower part of the rectum and in the anus. Their function is to keep us continent by sealing the anus against bowel leakage and most of the time we are unaware of them.
The condition we commonly call hemorrhoids describes a swelling in these veins which can become painful or can bleed when having a bowel movement. Hemorrhoids can be internal, where they are painless, or external where they can be very painful. This is due to the fact that the rectum contains very few pain sensing nerves while the anus is densely populated with nerves.
Hemorrhoids occur more often in men than in women although pregnant women often develop hemorrhoids. There are many causes for hemorrhoids including:
- Chronic constipation
- Prolonged sitting on the toilet
While hemorrhoids are not life threatening, they can wreak havoc when they become inflamed. Treatment is usually focused on dietary changes which include adding fiber to the diet and drinking more water. When these conservative treatments are not effective, Dr. Murrell evaluates his patients to determine if rubber band ligation hemorrhoid treatment is their best option.
How exactly is rubber band ligation done?
The procedure is done in Dr. Murrell’s office. A bowel cleansing enema will be done just before the treatment. A local anesthetic cream will be applied to the anal canal to ensure patient comfort.
A small viewing scope will be inserted into the rectum so that the hemorrhoid can be located and gently grasped by a special tool while another instrument is used to place the band. If the band is uncomfortably tight, Dr. Murrell can make an adjustment. Once the bands are in place, the procedure is over and patients can return home to rest.
Is recovering from this hemorrhoids treatment painful?
Many patients experience no pain after the treatment since the hemorrhoids are located in the lower rectum where there are very few pain receptors. If there is discomfort it is likely the bands are too tight in which case they can be loosened.
For those who experience post treatment pain, an NSAID pain reliever is recommended. It is important to follow Dr. Murrell’s instruction on post treatment care concerning pain relief. Over-the-counter medication such as Aspirin® is to be avoided as they can cause bleeding.
There may be a feeling of fullness in the rectum for a few days. Patients can return to non strenuous activities within a few days or as tolerated.
Am I a candidate for rubber band ligation?
The best way to determine the best hemorrhoids treatment is to have Dr. Murrell perform an examination. Rubber band ligation is a very good treatment for hemorrhoids that are large enough to accommodate a rubber band around the base. Hemorrhoids that are not large enough can usually benefit from sclerotherapy.
A good candidate for this treatment has hemorrhoids that are located within the rectum or can be retracted into the rectum by the patient. If this is not possible, Dr. Murrell will recommend treatment to address these larger, prolapsed hemorrhoids.