Piles (hemorrhoids) are clusters of blood vessels and tissue that become swollen, protruding into the anus and causing pain, itching and sometimes bleeding, especially during bowel movements. They develop as a result of increased pressure, often as a result of weight gain, chronic constipation, straining during bowel movements or jobs that require prolonged periods of standing. Pregnant women often develop hemorrhoids as the growing uterus exerts greater amounts of pressure on the lower colon and rectum. Hemorrhoids can occur at any age, but they’re most common among people over 50 years of age.
No, while hemorrhoids can cause rectal bleeding, there are other conditions that can also cause bleeding, including small cuts or fissures in the anus, hard stools, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colon cancer. If you’ve experienced rectal bleeding, especially for more than a day or two or not in combination with the passage of hard stools, you should schedule an appointment for an evaluation and to determine if you should be screened for colon cancer.
Hemorrhoids may be treated with topical medications to reduce swelling, but in many cases, hemorrhoids require more aggressive treatment to provide relief. One of the most effective hemorrhoid treatments is banding. In this simple, in-office procedure, a very small elastic band is placed around the tissue slightly above the hemorrhoid, where there are only a few nerve endings. The band stops the flow of blood and “starves” the hemorrhoid. After a day or two, the hemorrhoid tissue falls off and a scar forms that helps prevent a new hemorrhoid from forming. The procedure takes about a minute to perform, and most patients have no post-procedure discomfort. When mild aching does occur, it can be relieved with over-the-counter pain medication.
At Triborough GI, our professionals use the cutting-edge CRH-O’Regan Disposable Hemorrhoid Banding System. Most professionals and patients consider this system to be the “gold standard” IRC treatment protocol, and for good reason. It’s a 99 percent effective, minimally-invasive, in-office procedure that we perform in under a minute, and most patients return to work that same day. Moreover, we make suggestions that significantly reduce the risk of subsequent recurrence (currently 5 percent in two years). If a patient has multiple hemorrhoids, we address them individually in as many different visits as necessary.
During the initial post-procedure period, generally in the first twenty-four hours, a few patients will experience mild rectal discomfort, mostly a bloated feeling or perhaps a slight ache. Advil and other non-prescription pain relievers nearly always reduce this inflammation. Fewer than 1 percent of our patients report these symptoms.
Due to some key design improvements, our procedure reduces complications by a factor of ten, as compared with traditional banding. For example, we use very small instruments that increase both comfort for our patients and visibility for our doctors. Moreover, and quite unlike some other techniques, we only use 100 percent disposable devices.