By – Dr. Rajeev Premnath, General, Laparoscopic Surgeon and Endoscopist,
Hitech Hernia Centre, Ramakrishna Hospital Jayanagar, Bengaluru
Each year, 1 crore people in India deal with hemorrhoids. They’re common between 45 and 65, but surprise – 5% of young adults can get them! Weak rectal tissues, pregnancy hormones (impacting 35% of expectant moms), bathroom straining, marathon toilet sessions, low-fiber diets, heavy lifting, extra pounds, and even family history can bring these little troublemakers into your life. So, it’s not just about age! The pain from hemorrhoids can be so intense that it can drive someone to extreme distress, leading to thoughts of taking drastic measures. Now, picture advanced laser tech transforming the treatment of this age-old issue. It’s like a glimpse into the future of medicine, offering relief to those who’ve suffered for centuries.
Understanding Hemorrhoids’ Impact on Well-being
Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen blood vessels near your anorectal area. They start with painless bleeding during bathroom trips but can turn into painful, itchy, and uncomfortable experiences.
Hemorrhoids are classified into stages based on these symptoms:
First Degree: These are inside and cause painless bleeding, with no swelling outside. Doctors use a proctoscope to diagnose them.
Second Degree: At this stage, it begins to protrude from the anal canal but usually retracts on its own after a bowel movement.
Third Degree: In this category, it emerges during bowel movements and requires manual reduction afterward. If not repositioned, they can lead to discomfort.
Fourth Degree: These are external hemorrhoids that remain outside the anal canal at all times, causing pain and discomfort.
Fifth Degree (Thrombosed Hemorrhoids): At this point, they become extremely painful.
The intense pain after a bowel movement can take a toll on a person’s mental well-being, especially when complications like bleeding, pain or anemia occur.
Navigating Hemorrhoid Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosis and treatment for hemorrhoids are best handled by a general surgeon or a proctologist. They’ll evaluate your condition, figure out how bad it is, and create a plan. Additionally, the surgeon may perform a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy to investigate potential underlying causes for the development of hemorrhoids.
For Grade I and II hemorrhoids, it’s usually all about meds and lifestyle changes, like eating more fiber and drinking plenty of water. But don’t make a habit of long bathroom breaks.
If that doesn’t work, for Grades I and II, you might need some office procedures like banding or sclerotherapy.
Now, Grades III and IV? Surgery’s the go-to.
Grade V or super painful ones start with meds to calm things down. Surgery is an option. So, when it comes to hemorrhoids, there’s a plan for every stage!
Why Laser Hemorrhoidoplasty
Laser treatment for hemorrhoids offers several advantages over traditional surgery. It provides better pain relief and quicker recovery while reducing complications and preserving the natural anatomy of the anal canal and cushions.
Let’s see how laser hemorrhoidoplasty functions. In this process, you have two laser options: CO2 and Diode. These lasers focus their energy on the hemorrhoids, causing protein changes that lead to fibrosis.
Laser therapy works through photoablation, where the laser disrupts the H2O bond in water, reducing the size of the hemorrhoidal tissue. Photocoagulation occurs, leading to protein changes and sealing blood vessels. Photo vaporization also takes place as the hemorrhoids absorb laser energy, resulting in tissue fixation within 6-8 weeks.
It’s worth noting that laser hemorrhoidoplasty may cause some discomfort, requiring pain relief medication. However, this discomfort is significantly less than that associated with traditional surgical approaches.
People often start with DIY solutions or questionable treatments when they get hemorrhoids. But here’s the twist: delaying a visit to a real doctor can make things go from bad to worse. The key is getting help early, and keeping your lifestyle in check is like your secret weapon!