► Depending upon the location and severity of the problem, physicians today use the following treatment ap-proaches in dealing with hemorrhoids (Hemorrhoids Considerations):
• Bipolar electrocoagulation. Also called BiCap coagulation, this procedure uses spurts of electrical current to shrink hemorrhoids. It is comparable to infrared photocoagula-tion in that it has the equivalent advantages and disad-vantages.
• Conservative measures. A dietary regimen with fiber supplements and self-help treatments is helpful in most cases, except in instances where a hemorrhoid has thrombosed.
• Infrared photocoagulation. This involves the employment of infrared heat to treat minor internal hemorrhoids. It is less painful than ligation but is not always as effective.
• Injection sclerotherapy. In this procedure, used to shrink internal hemorrhoids and stop bleeding, a solution containing either quinine and urea or phenol is injected directly into the hemorrhoids.
• Laser coagulation. This approach has gained popularity over the last several years as the easiest and least painful method of dealing with internal hemorrhoids. There is controversy about its efficacy, however. Repeated treatments are frequently required. Most researchers believe that more study should be done to improve effectiveness before laser treatment is routinely recommended.
• Ligation. This is now the most common treatment approach for internal hemorrhoids. A small rubber band is used to tie off the base of the blood vessel. Once blood circulation is eliminated from the offending vessel, it soon detaches and the rubber band is eliminated with body waste. This approach often requires repeat treatments and is painful.
• Surgery. Some hemorrhoids are not helped very much by any of the above approaches and respond to nothing short of aggressive surgery. If you have very painful hemorrhoids or are losing significant amounts of blood, you should receive a thorough examination from a physician, preferably a proctologist, as soon as possible. Improved surgical techniques have resulted in less painful operations and quicker recovery periods than in the past. In most cases surgery is successful. However, additional surgery may be required if the hemorrhoids recur.
► Anurex is a chemical-free product that helps give prompt, soothing, and lasting relief from the burning, itching, and bleeding caused by hemorrhoids. It is a small plastic device that contains a permanently sealed cold-retaining gel. It works best if kept in the freezer. When placed at the site of pain, it imparts a controlled degree of cooling to the inflamed tissue. Each Anurex device is reusable for up to six months. Hemorrhoids Considerations. This product can be found in many pharmacies and health food stores, or can be ordered directly from Anurex Labs.
► Eating certain foods, especially beets, can cause the stool to become reddish and can be mistaken for blood.
► The most common cause of anal itching is tissue trauma resulting from the use of harsh toilet paper. Candida albicans, allergies, and parasitic infections can also cause anal itching.