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Hemorrhoid Embolization – A Game Changer For Millions Of People

If you’re one of the 10.4 million adults suffering from hemorrhoids then you know how uncomfortable and painful they can be. While some go away on their own, the condition can become so severe that the only option is to remove the hemorrhoids surgically. Fortunately, hemorrhoid  embolization has increased in popularity as an effective alternative to surgery. This article discusses the causes of hemorrhoids and how embolization can help you get your life back on track.

What are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids might not be a comfortable topic, but they're a natural part of our bodies, present in everyone.

Hemorrhoids refer to supportive veins running along the upper and lower part of the anal canal – a short tunnel that connects the anus to the rectum. Their role is to prevent accidental leakage from the anal canal.

However, heightened pressure can cause inflammation and swelling of the veins leading to itching, discomfort and pain.

Around 50% of adults over the age of 50 are affected by hemorrhoids that become swollen and enlarged. This can be attributed to factors such as

Types of hemorrhoids

There are two main types of hemorrhoids: external and internal. External hemorrhoids occur around the anus and can cause symptoms like itching, pain, discomfort, and bleeding. Conversely, internal hemorrhoids develop within the rectum and may result in bleeding during or after bowel movements. In severe cases, internal hemorrhoids can prolapse, meaning they protrude through the anus, leading to pain, irritation, and bleeding.

Internal hemorrhoids are categorized into four grades based on how much they protrude:

Certain hemorrhoids can disappear of their own accord while others can be managed with topical medication and diets rich in fiber, which facilitate softer stools, reducing the necessity for straining during bowel movements.

However, prolapsed hemorrhoids and those leading to bleeding often necessitate medical intervention. Conventional treatments involve non-surgical techniques like banding or cauterization to restrict blood flow to the hemorrhoids, alongside surgical removal for advanced cases.

But, as we’ve mentioned above, hemorrhoid embolization is an absolute game changer and growing in popularity.

Introducing hemorrhoid embolization

Hemorrhoid embolization became a mainstream treatment following a 2016  report showing the procedure was safe and highly effective.

The procedure

To perform hemorrhoid embolization, an interventional radiologist gains access to an artery through a small opening in the skin, typically located in the wrist or near the groin area. Using a catheter—a slender, flexible tube—they navigate through the arterial branches while generating detailed images with a fluoroscope for precise visualization of the blood vessels feeding the hemorrhoids. Upon pinpointing the relevant arteries responsible for the increased blood flow,  microspheres and tiny metallic coils are placed to block the flow of blood, causing the hemorrhoids to shrink back into place.  

Recovery

The patient is mildly sedated and remains awake throughout the procedure which takes around 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how many arteries are involved. The treatment is typically performed on an outpatient basis and following a recovery period of a couple of hours, they can usually go home and return to their normal activities (although they will be asked to avoid heavy lifting and exercising for a couple of days). Most people can go back to work the following day provided no strenuous exercise is involved. Any bleeding from the hemorrhoids usually stops right away and the majority of patients notice an improvement within two weeks of the procedure.

The benefits of hemorrhoid embolization

Hemorrhoid embolization has many benefits over open surgery, including:

Furthermore, should embolization not improve the symptoms, the procedure can be repeated and other options such as banding and surgery are still possible.

Who is a candidate for hemorrhoid embolization?

Hemorrhoid embolization may be right for you if:

Studies have shown that over 90% of patients experienced improvement after hemorrhoid embolization, with many patients seeing long-lasting results.

Are there any dangers?

The procedure is safe when carried out by a skilled interventional radiologist. Make sure to talk about all possible risks and advantages with your interventional radiologist during your consultation.

Is it possible to prevent hemorrhoids?

Preventing hemorrhoids isn't always guaranteed, but you can lower your chances by:

Want to know if hemorrhoid artery embolisation is right for you?

If your hemorrhoid symptoms are getting worse, it may be time to have a discussion with one of our interventional radiologists to see if hemorrhoid embolization is the right treatment for you.

Why not schedule a consultation with the friendly team at MINT Stl to start the ball rolling? We have four clinics for you to choose from at St Lous, MO, Swansea IL, Evergreen Park, IL and Chicago IL. So get in touch today and start the ball rolling.

 

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