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HealthInfo Canterbury

Treating haemorrhoids (piles)

There are surgical and non-surgical methods of treating haemorrhoids.

Non-surgical treatments

Your haemorrhoids could go away without surgery by trying these options:

If these measures don't work, you may need to use a cream or ointment. You can use a simple soothing cream such as Anusol which contains zinc. This can be purchased over-the-counter at your pharmacy.

Your GP may prescribe you something that helps reduce inflammation and reduces pain in your anal area. This could be a cream that you can apply on the outside, or insert into your anus with an applicator. It could also be a suppository that you insert into your anus. You may need to use these for a week or so.

If you have ongoing problems, your doctor may refer you to a surgeon for further treatment.

Surgical treatments

There are three options for surgical treatment.

Sclerotherapy

A substance is injected into the base of the haemorrhoid. This causes a reaction in the tissue and cuts off the blood supply to the haemorrhoid. This is a common way to treat internal haemorrhoids.

Banding

A rubber band is placed around the base of the haemorrhoid causing the blood supply to be cut off. This causes it to shrivel and fall off. It's a common treatment for internal haemorrhoids that bleed or hang down outside the anus and is usually done in the clinic without local anaesthetic.

Haemorrhoidectomy

The haemorrhoids are cut away and the bleeding vein is sealed with a source of heat. This is carried out under general anaesthetic, which means you'll be unconscious during the procedure and won't feel any pain. It's an effective treatment but can be painful in the days following the operation. You will go home on the same day as your surgery and you won't need to stay in hospital overnight.

Some surgeons prefer one procedure over another. You'll need to talk to your surgeon to see which method they recommend for your situation.

Before and after care for haemorrhoidectomy

After your surgery you'll feel some discomfort, so you'll need to take regular pain relief. Having a regular warm salt bath will help soothe and cleanse the wound – especially after passing a bowel motion.

Other things to consider as you recover:

It can take six to eight weeks to heal completely after a haemorrhoidectomy. During this time any swelling and pain in the area will go away.

What are the risks of surgery?

Having surgery involves some risks, however these are usually outweighed by the benefits. Your surgeon will discuss the likely risks with you.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by General Surgeons Canterbury DHB. Page created January 2019.

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Review key: HIHAE-13803