Haemorrhoids

Haemorrhoids (or piles) are enlargements of the blood vessels in and around the anal canal. Although they can cause troublesome symptoms they are not usually dangerous.

Haemorroids can present as:

  • Bleeding
  • Itching
  • lump
  • Discomfort but rarely pain

Haemorrhoids are very common and occur in 85% of the population but its is often necessary to exclude other causes of symptoms by performing a colonscopy.

Specific treatment of haemorrhoids includes:

  • Rubber Band Ligation (“Banding”)

Banding uses tiny rubber bands to strangulate the haemorrhoid so it drops off or shrinks away. The rubber band passes with stool in a week or so. This is usually done in the rooms or in conjunction with a colonoscopy. Often it needs to be repeated periodically.

Some haemorrhoids are too large to be treated with banding and require surgery.

The Surgical management of haemorrhoids has improved with newer and less painful techniques.

Recurrence is common so it is recommended that if you have had problems with haemorrhoids you:

  • Have a high fibre diet
  • Avoid straining at stool
  • Do not read while on the toilet

It must be remembered that other causes of symptoms such as bowel cancer should be excluded, especially in the presence of bleeding from the rectum and colonoscopy is often recommended.