About 1 out of every 20 Americans suffers from hemorrhoids, with symptoms like pain, itching, and bleeding when they move their bowels. While some mild hemorrhoids go away on their own, many people only find relief with medical treatments from their doctor.
At his practice in Deerfield Beach, Florida, Michael H. Tarlowe, MD, offers an array of treatment options for hemorrhoids, including a surgical procedure called hemorrhoidectomy. If you’re one of the millions dealing with pain and discomfort of hemorrhoids, here’s what you should know about this procedure.
Why hemorrhoids develop
Hemorrhoids might feel like fleshy growths near your rectum or anal sphincter, but they’re actually columns of vascular connective tissue. Hemorrhoids can be either internal (inside the rectum) or external, and both types can cause similar symptoms:
- Bleeding after bowel movements
- Fecal leakage
Severe hemorrhoids can become “strangulated,” causing a loss of blood supply and tissue death. Some hemorrhoids can become infected.
Researchers aren’t sure what causes hemorrhoids, but they do know they’re more likely to appear and cause symptoms if you:
- Have chronic constipation
- Strain during bowel movements
- Spend a good bit of time on the toilet
- Are pregnant
- Are overweight
- Spend a lot of time standing or sitting
- Have a family history of hemorrhoids
Mild symptoms may be relieved by soaking in a tub, using wet toilet wipes, and applying hemorrhoid creams or ointments. But many people find these only provide temporary relief. In those instances, a hemorrhoidectomy is typically recommended.
When hemorrhoidectomy is the best option
Like most surgeries, hemorrhoid surgery typically is recommended when less invasive treatment options don’t provide relief.
In general, Dr. Tarlowe recommends hemorrhoidectomy for patients who have:
- Large symptomatic internal hemorrhoids
- Internal hemorrhoids that are strangulated
- Large external hemorrhoids that are very painful
- External hemorrhoid swelling associated with clotting
- Hemorrhoids that don’t respond to nonsurgical treatments
- Both external and internal hemorrhoids that are symptomatic
- Hemorrhoids that don’t respond to minimally invasive treatments (like ligation)
Hemorrhoids affect different people in different ways. Before recommending hemorrhoidectomy, Dr. Tarlowe performs an exam and evaluates your symptoms and lifestyle to make sure surgery is the right option for you.
Hemorrhoidectomy: What to expect
Your hemorrhoidectomy is performed as an outpatient surgery. You’ll receive a local anesthetic to numb the area, as well as sedation so you can relax and doze during the procedure.
Once you’ve been sedated, Dr. Tarlowe may use a scope to examine your hemorrhoids and the rectum and anal area. Then, he removes the hemorrhoids using the most appropriate surgical technique based on your needs.
Afterward, the incision is usually sutured with dissolvable sutures, but in some cases, it may be left open to allow for drainage. Most patients have a complete recovery in about 2-3 weeks.
Get relief for your hemorrhoids
The painful symptoms of hemorrhoids can interfere with many regular activities, including sitting and relaxing. Dr. Tarlowe will recommend a treatment option that’s right for you, based on your symptoms, your lifestyle, and other factors.
To learn more about hemorrhoidectomy, call us or book an appointment online with Dr. Tarlowe today.