Hemorrhoids are as common as kittens in May. Millions of people are afflicted with them each year. In most instances hemorrhoids can be treated at home with good success. For the remaining 10 to 20 percent of sufferers with severe hemorrhoids, more strenuous interventions might be needed.
The severity of hemorrhoids is measured in large part by the degree of prolapse. A prolapse occurs when the internal hemorrhoid swells and bulges until it protrudes from the rectum. Sometimes a prolapsed hemorrhoid gets trapped outside the rectum. When that it happens it is called a “strangulated hemorrhoid.”
The four grades of hemorrhoids are: (1) no prolapse at all, (2) prolapse after a bowel movement, but spontaneously retract, (3) prolapse after a bowel movement but must be manually retracted, and (4) hemorrhoids that are prolapsed and strangulated. In grades 3 and 4, hemorrhoids usually require specialized treatment. Most specialized treatments can be performed on an outpatient basis. The most common specialized treatments for severe hemorrhoids are: ligation, hemorrhoid stapling, and hemorrhoidectomy.
Often called the rubber band treatment, ligation works best with grade 3 hemorrhoids, those that prolapse with a bowel movement and must be manually retracted. In this procedure a rubber band is placed around the hemorrhoid that cuts off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid. The hemorrhoid and rubber band fall off within a day or two, and full cessation of pain and discomfort occurs within two weeks.
Hemorrhoid stapling treats the hemorrhoid internally. A physician uses a special tool to staple and excise the hemorrhoid, which in turn, causes the hemorrhoid to shrink. Overall, this is a more painful procedure to remove severe hemorrhoids than ligation, but less painful the hemorrhoidectomy.
Surgically removing the hemorrhoid is the most invasive and most thorough treatment of hemorrhoids. Aptly called a hemorrhoidectomy, it is a surgical procedure using the standard scalpel and suture or the newly adapted laser technique. Hemorrhoidectomies are often the treatment of last resort, usually reserved for the most severe hemorrhoids or in cases of frequent hemorrhoid re-occurrences.
A wide variety of treatments are currently available for the treatment of severe hemorrhoids. The three mentioned here are the most frequently recommended by doctors. However, there are certainly others equally effective available.