Hemorrhoid banding, or rubber band ligation, is a non-invasive, non-surgical procedure used to remove internal hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are cushions of tissue, located in the lower rectum, which contain blood vessels, muscle and elastic fibers. Hemorrhoids contribute to our resting continence, meaning they assist the body in controlling the expulsion of stools. When you are not experiencing itching, burning or discomfort from hemorrhoids, you probably do not think about them at all, but they are always there.
As with other tissue in your body, hemorrhoids can swell or become inflamed. This tends to occur when the connective tissues in a hemorrhoid weaken, allowing the hemorrhoid to slip down into the anal canal.
When hemorrhoids become swollen or inflamed, they may be referred to as “piles,” though they are often still called “hemorrhoids.” We will refer to inflamed hemorrhoids as hemorrhoids according to the common usage.
Inflamed hemorrhoids are a very common issue that affect about half of adults by the time they reach age 50. While many people get hemorrhoids in older adulthood, anyone can experience this condition.
Unfortunately, in most cases, hemorrhoids do not go away on their own. Often, after trying ointments and creams, many sufferers turn to their physician to find out how to get rid of their hemorrhoids.
For the most part, over-the-counter hemorrhoid treatments focus solely on masking the symptoms of hemorrhoids; the burning, itching and pain that is irritating for some and debilitating for others. There are many ways to alleviate the symptoms. But to truly find relief, the only solution is to directly treat the hemorrhoid.
What Causes Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids result from increased pressure in the veins of the rectum, often from too much straining. Many people underestimate how easily hemorrhoids can develop. The following circumstances could potentially contribute to developing hemorrhoids:
- Prolonged sitting – sitting for long periods can place pressure on the veins in the rectum and anus causing hemorrhoids to develop. This may be a problem for people who sit for extended periods or sit on the toilet for long periods due to constipation.
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation – constipation creates pressure while diarrhea can worsen swelling and irritation.
- Pregnancy and childbirth – pregnant women are at an increased risk of experiencing hemorrhoids due to the pressure exerted by the growing fetus. Pregnant women also commonly experience constipation. Straining while giving birth may also cause hemorrhoids.
- Not eating enough fiber or drinking enough water – a diet low in fiber and water intake can cause constipation.
- Obesity – people suffering from obesity are at increased risk due to the pressure on the pelvic region from extra abdominal weight.
- Aging – as we age, tissues supporting the veins can weaken or stretch causing hemorrhoids to develop.
- Heavy lifting – straining while lifting heavy objects can increase pressure enough that veins swell and hemorrhoids occur.
- Severe pain
- Severe bleeding
- Hemorrhoids with blood clots
- Prolapsing (protrusion through the anus)
Prolonged or severe hemorrhoids can result in anemia, blood clotting, dizziness, faintness and extreme pain. If you experience any symptoms of hemorrhoids, you should seek medical help as soon as possible.
How Do I Prevent Hemorrhoids?
Knowing the causes of hemorrhoids provides insight into how to prevent them. While we cannot always prevent hemorrhoids, especially if age is a factor, there are ways you can lessen the likelihood that you will experience them.
Here are some steps you can take to help with prevention:
- Stay Hydrated – Staying hydrated is important if you want to prevent constipation. The amount of water you should be drinking depends on factors such as your physical activity level. Experts recommend an average intake of 3.7 liters of water each day for men, and 2.7 liters a day for women. These totals include all the fluids we take in, which partly come from food. A simpler guide that works well for most people is to drink eight glasses of water every day.
- Eat a Balanced, High-Fiber Diet – Try to avoid high-fat, low-fiber foods. Instead look for fruits, vegetables and grains that are naturally high in soluble fiber. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole foods can help promote softening of the stool, which allows it to pass easier. Try to consume between 20 and 30 grams of fiber each day. You may also want to take a fiber supplement if you struggle to get enough fiber or frequently suffer from constipation.
- Respond to Your Body’s Natural Urges -When you feel the urge to go to the bathroom, do not to put it off. Waiting too long could cause the stool to harden, making it harder to pass. If you want to avoid straining, pay attention to your body’s natural urges. If you are struggling with having a bowel movement, do not strain too hard or spend too long on the toilet. If you cannot have a bowel movement within two minutes, come back later and try again.
- Be Physically Active – Sitting for long periods can put undue pressure on the rectum. Try to move around whenever you can. If you work an office job, take breaks to stand up or try using a sit-stand desk. If you do not exercise regularly, start to move more. Maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise helps you lessen your risk for hemorrhoids.
Non-invasive Treatment for Hemorrhoids at Ocean Family Gastroenterology
If you have experienced hemorrhoid symptoms such as bleeding, swelling, itching or discomfort, you have likely already started searching for relief. Fortunately, there is a definitive treatment method available for hemorrhoids that is quick, easy and pain-free.
At Ocean Family Gastroenterology, surgical experts offer an innovative hemorrhoid banding system that takes just a few minutes and provides long-lasting results, with few patients reporting any recurrence of their symptoms years later.
Hemorrhoid Banding at Ocean Family Gastroenterology
Hemorrhoid banding, or rubber band ligation, is a non-invasive, non-surgical procedure used to remove internal hemorrhoids. Essentially, a rubber band is used to tie off the base of the hemorrhoid, cutting off its blood supply and allowing it to fall off on its own. Unlike other treatments, this in-office procedure is quick, effective and pain-free. Since it takes minutes and there is no need for sedation or recovery time, the procedure can be completed over your lunch hour.
Hemorrhoid banding is designed to treat internal hemorrhoids, which are in the anal lining. While hemorrhoid banding is not intended for external hemorrhoids, or hemorrhoids that develop outside the rectum, many patients experience improvement of their external hemorrhoid symptoms after their internal hemorrhoids are treated with hemorrhoid banding.
In many cases, patients who suffer from external hemorrhoids also have internal hemorrhoids. Treating internal hemorrhoids can benefit and improve the severity of external hemorrhoids and help relieve numerous symptoms, such as inflammation and swelling. After addressing internal hemorrhoid symptoms, external hemorrhoid symptoms often dissipate and improve.
Hemorrhoids are very common – nearly 3 out of 4 adults experience hemorrhoids in their lifetime. Hemorrhoid banding is an excellent long-term solution for hemorrhoids; effective for up to 98% of patients.
If you are tired of the symptoms associated with hemorrhoids, contact Ocean Family Gastroenterology at 732-281-1590 or visit us HERE to learn more or schedule a consultation with one of our physicians.