Sclerotherapy for Hemorrhoids – An Effective Option

SclerotherapyThere are currently a number of different piles treatment options that are available. Whilst home remedies and medical management remain the choices of piles treatment, surgical treatments are also now offered as potentially curative measures.

Sclerotherapy is a treatment modality that is widely utilized in managing patients suffering from piles.

In this article we shall take a closer look at sclerotherapy itself, concentrating particularly on how it is performed and what to expect as a patient.

What is Sclerotherapy for Piles Treatment?

Sclerotherapy is a form of piles treatment where a particular substance is injected into the piles in order to facilitate a reduction in size and removal of the piles. The treatment has been around for years and is commonly administered by trained professionals in an outpatient setting.

The agents that are used in sclerotherapy are called sclerosing agents.

Sclerotherapy is not only used in the management of piles but is also used in treating conditions such as varicose veins and oesophageal varices (dilated blood vessels in the lower part of the oesophagus).

What Are The Agents Used for Sclerotherapy?

Sclerosing agents that are commonly used include 5% phenol in almond oil and aluminium potassium sulphate and tannic acid (ALTA). Quinine urea is sometimes used as well.

How Sclerotherapy Performed?

Once a diagnosis of piles is made, the patient is asked to present themselves to the outpatient department where the procedure is carried out.

Prior to the procedure, patients may be offered a course of laxatives or enemas to empty the bowels. This allows for clear visualization of all the hemorrhoids thus helping the doctor perform sclerotherapy accurately.

Consent of the patient is obtained and the benefits and risks are explained. The patient is placed in a position so that the piles can be visualized clearly.

Once the piles in visualized and identified, the sclerosing agent is injected into the base of the piles using a very fine needle. By doing so, the sclerosing agent can act within the entire pile thus effectively help in removing it.

During the injection, patients may feel a slight amount of discomfort which is due to the needle itself. This passes fairly quickly after the procedure is complete.

The entire procedure can take anywhere between 10 to 15 min though sometimes it may take a bit longer if further injections need to be carried out.

How Does Sclerotherapy Work?

Once the sclerosing agents have been injected into the piles, they irritate the tissue and the blood vessels resulting in a great degree of inflammation within each pile. This inflammation promotes shrinkage of the piles which eventually dry up and fall off.

This shrinkage is also called atrophy. In hemorrhoids, inflammation and swelling are the most prevalent features and sclerotherapy targets both of these in a safe and effective manner.

What Happens After Treatment?

Following sclerotherapy, patients are observed for a short period of time and then discharged home. It is recommended that patients bring a family member or a friend with them to accompany them back home.

Patients may feel slight discomfort when at home but once the piles dry up, they are passed out naturally along with stools during bowel motions.

What Are the Advantages of Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy has a number of advantages in treating piles. One of the most important ones is the fact that treatment starts to work immediately and effects can be seen fairly quickly after the procedure is performed.

The drugs are extremely effective as anti-inflammatory agents and therefore help reduce any discomfort that the patient is experiencing from the hemorrhoids very quickly.

The other major advantage that sclerotherapy has is the fact that doing this procedure can avoid the need for surgery in the future. Surgical piles treatments can be rather distressing to the patient and even the thought of it can be rather worrying.

On the other hand, sclerotherapy is a fairly non-invasive procedure where a simple injection into each of the piles can help reduce their size and eventually get rid of them.

Are There Any Side Effects?

As is with any treatment for any condition, there are few side-effects associated with sclerotherapy for piles treatment. Some patients may develop scars and excessive pigmentation at the site of injection and after the piles have fallen off.

Some patients may experience pain after the procedure which can last a lot longer than a day. Painkillers are advised in such a situation and if the pain persists it is advised to see the doctor again.

Given the nature of the drugs that are used in sclerotherapy, only a few piles can be injected in one sitting. This could mean that patients who have a large number of piles may require repeated treatments. While many patients do not mind this, it can still be stressful bearing the thought of undergoing repeat treatments.

However, this decision is usually dependent on the doctor performing the procedure and their experience with treating multiple piles.

Following the injection, patients may experience bleeding which could indicate that the injection was administered near the hemorrhoid but not within it. This of course is a rare in the hands of an experienced doctor.

One of the rare side-effects of sclerotherapy is the formation of blood clots within the piles. If this occurs then other treatment options need to be considered. Allergic reactions may occur but once again these are rare as well.

How Long Do the Effects of Sclerotherapy Last For?

In most cases, the effects are seen within a week or so and the piles start to fall off. The effects can last anywhere between six months to a year.

If symptoms recur, sclerotherapy may be performed again or other treatment options may be pursued.

Conclusion

Sclerotherapy is an extremely useful treatment modality that is widely utilized in piles treatment.

Treatment is safe and effective though do have a few rare side-effects which are uncommon when the procedure is performed by an expert. Effects can last for up to a year though sometimes repeat procedures may need to be performed.almond

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