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What Are the Different Types of Hemorrhoid Treatments?

By Solomon Branch
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are several different types of hemorrhoid treatments available, and the specific treatment prescribed depends on how severe the hemorrhoids are. Creams and ointments are prescribed for milder hemorrhoids. In some cases, lifestyle modifications can solve the problem. More severe hemorrhoids require surgical intervention. People who have hemorrhoids that are bleeding or are extremely painful should consult a medical professional.

For mild hemorrhoids, treatments include creams, pads, and ointments that are available over-the-counter. Hemorrhoid creams usually have at least one percent hydrocortisone in them, which numbs and shrinks the hemorrhoids. Other ingredients, such as witch hazel, are also common. Witch hazel is an astringent that shrinks the hemorrhoids slightly and reduces blood flow. Creams are available with higher percentages of cortisone, but they typically have to be prescribed by a doctor.

Creams and ointments can be effective hemorrhoid treatments for symptoms, but complementing them with lifestyle changes will help the hemorrhoids go away. Recommendations include getting enough fiber so the bowels are clean and not sitting for long periods of time. Both solutions reduce the pressure on the hemorrhoids so they can heal. Sitting in a tub of shallow hot water, known as a sitz bath, can also help shrink the hemorrhoids as well.

If the hemorrhoids are more severe or don’t resolve using home treatments, several non-invasive hemorrhoid treatments are available. Hemorrhoid banding, also known as ligation, is the most common option. Banding consists of wrapping a rubber band around the hemorrhoid, effectively choking off its blood supply until it withers away. Another solution is sclerotherapy, which consists of injecting a hardening solution into the base of the hemorrhoid. It is not as effective as banding and is only used on smaller hemorrhoids.

Infrared therapy, which uses a focused infrared beam to heat and kill the hemorrhoid, is another less invasive procedure. Like sclerotherapy, it is not as effective as ligation therapy. Hemorrhoids have more of a tendency to reoccur with both infrared therapy and sclerotherapy.

Severe hemorrhoids that are painful, bleeding, or are external and causing discomfort may need surgery. Hemorrhoidectomy is the complete surgical removal of the hemorrhoids. It is the most effective but also has the most risks associated with it, such as temporary loss of bladder control and urinary tract infections. Hemorrhoid stapling uses staples to block blood flow to the hemorrhoids, and although less risky it is typically not as effective. Consulting with a doctor is the best thing to do to determine which option is best.

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