Infrared treatment of Hemorrhoids
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
More than 10 million people in the United States suffer from hemorrhoids. Three out of four people will develop hemorrhoids at some time in their lives. While many people associate hemorrhoids with painful surgery, only a small percentage of patients actually require surgery. A fast and simple office procedure has taken the fear out of hemorrhoid treatment.
WHAT ARE HEMORRHOIDS AND WHO GETS THEM?
Hemorrhoids are swelling in the rectum or anal area that may protrude through the anus on straining. They usually contain enlarged veins and are most common in people over the age of 50.
WHAT CAUSES HEMORRHOIDS?
The exact cause of hemorrhoids is unknown, but a number of factors are known to contribute to hemorrhoidal disease:
- Chronic constipation or diarrhea
- Faulty bowel function due to overuse of laxatives or enemas; straining during bowel movements
- Spending long periods of time (e.g. reading) on the toilet
WHAT IS INFRARED COAGULATION?
Since its introduction 25 years ago, infrared coagulation (IRC) has become the world’s leading office treatment for hemorrhoids. This non-surgical treatment is fast, well tolerated, and remarkably complication-free. A small probe is placed above the hemorrhoid and a few short bursts of infrared light are applied. The infrared light quickly coagulates the vessels that provide the hemorrhoid with blood, causing the hemorrhoids to shrink and recede. Shrinkage of the hemorrhoidal tissues may take a few weeks.
DOES IT HURT?
While patient sensitivity may vary, most patients report feeling a brief sensation of heat, but not acute pain. Local anesthesia is usually not required.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT KINDS OF HEMORRHOIDS?
Yes. “Internal” hemorrhoids develop inside the anus. The most common symptoms are bleeding during bowel movements or protrusion through the anus upon straining. “External” hemorrhoids develop around the anus and can be very painful, especially if a blood clot develops within them. They can be felt as a firm lump or lumps around the anus.
ARE THERE ANY AFTER-EFFECTS?
Typically, there are no post-treatment effects. Most patients return to a normal lifestyle the same day. There may be slight spot bleeding a few days later. Heavy straining or lifting should be avoided and aspirin should not be taken for a few days.
HOW MANY VISITS ARE REQUIRED?
Only your doctor can make that determination. The number of treatments will depend on the severity of symptoms, location of the hemorrhoids, and the patient’s individual response to the procedure.
WILL THE HEMORRHOIDS COME BACK?
Experience tells us that hemorrhoids treated with IRC generally do not reoccur for years. Eventually hemorrhoid does recur no matter what type of treatment is provided, be it surgery, rubber banding or IRC. A sensible diet, moderate exercise, and proper bowel habits will help. Continued constipation or diarrhea shortens the interval to reoccurence.