Talking about hemorrhoids
Nobody wants to talk about hemorrhoids.
Some with the condition rush to the local drug store to buy that familiar over-the-counter medication that promises relief from the “pain and suffering.” Others turn to home remedies or try to adjust their diet. And most of the time, all of these treatments bring some measure of relief.
But for others, hemorrhoids can be a chronic condition that requires a visit to the doctor. In the worst cases, it can require an invasive surgery called a hemorrhoidectomy, followed by a lengthy recovery.
A new technique, called Transanal Hemorrhoidal Dearterialization, or THD, provides a less invasive—and less painful—approach to surgery.
Dr. Darryl Fernandes, a general & colorectal surgeon with Advocate Medical Group in Normal, Ill., is using THD with many of his patients. “This technique is much less traumatic and causes less pain and discomfort,” Dr. Fernandes says.
Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels that can occur inside the anal canal (internal hemorrhoids) or near the opening of the anus (external hemorrhoids). They develop when there is too much pressure on the pelvic area from strained bowel movements, pregnancy and aging.
About half of all adults have experienced a hemorrhoidal complaint at some point in their lives. But when hemorrhoids become inflamed, they can cause bleeding, swelling and intense pain. “People often put off seeing a doctor if they know they need a hemorrhoidectomy, because they know it can be a difficult recovery,” Dr. Fernandes says.
With traditional surgery, a physician removes the hemorrhoids, but under THD, a surgeon uses ultrasound technology to tie off the surrounding blood vessels, causing the hemorrhoids to shrivel. While not completely pain-free, patients feel less discomfort and recover in about four to six days, compared to four to six weeks with a hemorrhoidectomy.
THD is an outpatient procedure, but it’s not for every patient. In some cases, Dr. Fernandes says, a traditional hemorrhoidectomy may be a better option.
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