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What do you need to know about haemorrhoids

Haemorrhoids are a disease that, according to statistics, affects even one in two older people. Although a timely diagnosis can make treatment much easier, people often hide the problem, avoid talking about it, and are reluctant to seek medical attention.

The name of the disease – haemorrhoids – comes from Latin and means blood vessels filled with blood. Haemorrhoids are dense cushions of vascular tissue formed in the anal canal. They exist in each person’s body and help close the rectum. However, for a variety of reasons that increase pressure in the abdomen, these cushions can enlarge, causing bleeding, pain in the anus or other unpleasant symptoms. The disease that causes these symptoms due to enlarged piles is called haemorrhoids.

The causes of haemorrhoids have not been fully elucidated. Lifestyle is thought to have a major impact on their development. For example, an unbalanced diet with low intake of fibre often leads to constipation, difficult bowel movements and prolonged straining, leading to haemorrhoid symptoms. Overweight, low physical activity, prolonged sedentary or standing work, pregnancy, lifting heavy objects, heredity and weakness of connective tissue can also affect the onset of the disease. It has been observed that haemorrhoids can be inherited.

The main symptom of haemorrhoids is bleeding after a bowel movement, especially if the blood is red and occurs at the end of the bowel movement. Discomfort, itching and a stretching sensation may also be felt in the anus area. Pain and a sudden occurrence of a hard lump in the rectum is a symptom of acute haemorrhoid or inflammation of the haemorrhoid. Another less common symptom is the protrusion of an enlarged pile from the anal canal.

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your proctologist immediately. Experienced professionals usually only need an interview with the patient, a description of the symptoms and a brief examination to determine the duration and nature of the disease and prescribe appropriate treatment. In some cases, endoscopic examination of the anal canal or other necessary tests may be performed.

Haemorrhoid therapy depends on the stage of the disease.

At the onset of the initial symptoms of haemorrhoids, recommendations for dietary and lifestyle adjustments, suppositories or other medications are usually sufficient. Since haemorrhoids are most commonly a lifestyle disease, proper nutrition (sufficient fluids, high-fibre foods, moderate alcohol and spicy foods consumption, etc.) is very important. Equally important is adequate physical activity (walking, swimming, cycling, etc.) and strengthening of the abdominal muscles. To prevent haemorrhoids, activities that increase the pressure in the abdomen (prolonged work while squatting, lifting heavy objects, spicy foods, straining) should be avoided.

When medication does not produce the desired effect and condition does not improve, advanced low-invasive outpatient methods for the treatment of haemorrhoids may be initiated, such as latex ligation of piles, infrared coagulation, haemorrhoid sclerotherapy and HAL-RAR treatment of haemorrhoids. These procedures are painless or other discomfort-free, and the patient can return to normal activities immediately after the procedure.

One of the most effective low-invasive treatments is latex ligation of piles. This procedure takes only a few minutes, during which the internal piles are ligated using rubber bands. The ligated piles will resolve on their own because after the blood supply behind the rubber band is interrupted, the tissue will die.

Due to its excellent efficiency and fast procedure, infrared coagulation is currently recognised by specialists as the most advanced, effective and minimally invasive method of haemorrhoid removal. This method is based on vaporisation of water in tissues and involves the coagulation of pathologically altered rectal tissues using infrared radiation. Light waves are delivered directly to the target structure, causing it to shrink and completely recede.

Another procedure successfully used to treat the first stages of the disease is haemorrhoid sclerotherapy. This is a procedure during which a sclerosing agent (sclerosant) is injected into a pile, causing local inflammation that causes blood vessels sclerosis and shrinkage of the pile.

HAL-RAR treatment of haemorrhoids is an innovative way to effectively treat haemorrhoids (efficiency of the procedure is as high as 96 per cent!) and prevent future recurrence. When treating haemorrhoids using the HAL-RAR method, an ultrasound sensor is used to locate the problematic formation and perform artery ligation, thus stopping the blood supply to a haemorrhoid. After 10-14 days of loss of blood supply, the piles will dry out and will be sucked into the rectum, then gradually excreted from the body along with the faeces. This modern, minimally invasive surgery does not cause any complications, and the patient can return to work and engage in other normal activities after just a couple of days.

If haemorrhoids are not treated in time, the disease progresses, causing more frequent and excessive bleeding due to growing piles, increased discomfort and pain. When haemorrhoids are neglected, the only treatment available is surgery. Although gentle surgical techniques are currently applied, the recovery period until all wounds have healed and no symptoms of the disease remain last about 3-4 weeks. Because the anus and perineum areas are very sensitive, even a minor wound causes discomfort and the postoperative period can be quite complicated. However, if the disease is diagnosed in time, its treatment can be much simpler. This tedious problem can be resolved permanently in a single day using effective advanced methods.

Medical proctologists warn that waiting too long to see a doctor after noticing the can cause a lot of trouble. Avoiding to seek medical attention in time can also lead to unnoticed malignancy. Bleeding is not only a symptom of haemorrhoids, it is also one of the most common symptoms of colorectal cancer. Therefore, if the bleeding recurs or other complaints occur (weakness, bowel movement disorders or changes), you should immediately investigate the cause of bleeding.

Although neither of us is protected from occurrence of haemorrhoids, it is important to see a doctor immediately if you notice any symptoms. Modern medicine and innovative methods used to treat the disease will help to solve this unpleasant problem quickly and effectively, significantly improve the quality of life and restore the joy of life.

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