Hemorrhoids are caused by veins in the area getting swollen, irritated, and itchy. They may also get very painful for some people. Hemorrhoids that become swollen are sometimes referred to as piles. This is when the walls of blood vessels in the anus and rectum stretch too thin and the veins begin to get irritated and bulge. Hemorrhoids can be located on the inside of the anus and externally around the rectum area.
Causes of Hemorrhoids
Certain people are more prone to hemorrhoids than others. They are typically formed when there is a buildup of pressure in the rectum area. This affects the blood flow and causes the veins to swell. Individuals who strain while using the bathroom and are pregnant or obese are more prone to getting hemorrhoids.
Surgical Treatment Options
For some people, home treatments won’t do the trick. If you have recurrent hemorrhoids that are too painful and interfere with your daily activities, your doctor may suggest a couple types of surgical procedures to consider. These surgical options will help to shrink and remove the hemorrhoids.
- Hemorrhoidectomy – During this surgical procedure, your doctor will make small cuts around your anal area to cut away the hemorrhoids. Depending on your preference and the severity of your problem, you may get the procedure completed under local anesthesia or general anesthesia. It is an outpatient surgical procedure and you will get to return home the same day. Recovery will take anywhere from two to six weeks.
- PPH – A procedure for prolapse and internal hemorrhoids is also referred to as a stapled hemorrhoidectomy. During this treatment approach, your doctor will use a device that is similar to a stapler. They will use the device to cut off the hemorrhoids’ blood supply and reposition them. This will cause them to slowly shrivel up and die. This procedure is for hemorrhoids which have not prolapsed. A prolapsed hemorrhoid is one that has slipped outside of the anus. This procedure causes less pain than a hemorrhoidectomy and the recovery time is quicker.
Expectations After Hemorrhoid Surgery
The most common side effect of a hemorrhoidectomy or PPH is localized pain. The pain may be worse when making a bowel movement. To ease the pain, pain relievers such as ibuprofen, aspirin and acetaminophen should help. Taking warm baths can ease the pain as well.
Risks Associated with Hemorrhoid Surgeries
As with all types of surgeries, a hemorrhoid surgical procedure will come with its own sets of risks. The procedure is considered a common and safe one with minimal side effects to be expected. Some of the more common risks following a hemorrhoidectomy are an infection, bleeding, and a reaction to the anesthesia. Some patients notice trouble urinating after the surgery. This is temporary and is caused by swelling or muscle spasms. If the anal sphincter becomes damaged during the procedure, it could lead to fecal incontinence. This is a condition that can lead to accidental gas or bowel leaks.
Bowel incontinence is an inability to control bowel movements. Also known as fecal incontinence, the condition is similar to urinary incontinence (UI) in that the severity of the problem can vary. Some individuals may have slight stool leakage when passing gas, while others may have a complete loss of the ability to control their bowel movements. For some people, this may be an embarrassing problem – however there are treatments that can be helpful.
What Causes It?
Bowel incontinence is sometimes caused by nerve-related issues or damage to a group of muscles around the end of rectum called the anal sphincter that control stool release. Intestinal and rectal muscles may also be weakened over time by chronic constipation; other times rectal walls are affected by surgery or radiation treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Risks factors and other causes associated with bowel incontinence include:
- The rectum dropping into the anus (rectal prolapse)
- Hemorrhoids that keep the anus from completely closing
- Nerve damage affected by conditions like diabetes and multiple sclerosis
- Rectal protrusion into vagina in women (rectocele)
- Being 65 and older
- Having late-stage Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
Some people only have occasional bowel incontinence when having diarrhea, while other individuals are simply unable to control the urge to defecate. Related signs and symptoms could include constipation and recurring issues with gas and bloating.
Bowel incontinence treatment recommendations will be based on the severity of the problem and the symptoms experienced. If the problem isn’t too severe, patients may be advised to make diet changes, drink more water to prevent constipation, perform Kegels and similar pelvic muscle exercises to strengthen anus/rectum-supporting muscles, and schedule bowel movements throughout the day. Treatment may also involve:
- Medication to control bowel movements
- Sphincter surgery to make anal muscles tighter
- Sacral nerve stimulation with an implantable device to stimulate pelvic nerves
- Use of a sphincter cuff device to help control the anal sphincter
- Surgical redirection of the colon through an artificial opening (colostomy)
- Injectable materials like silicone or collagen to thicken the anal sphincter
- Radiofrequency remodeling by using heat to purposely injure sphincter muscles so they’ll thicken when healing
Hemorrhoids are a very common condition in which the veins in the anus become swollen. Thankfully, this swelling is not dangerous, but it can cause many frightening, embarrassing and uncomfortable symptoms. Hemorrhoids can occur internally or externally. Rubber band ligation — also known as “hemorrhoid banding” — is one of several options available for the treatment of internal hemorrhoids.
During the hemorrhoid banding procedure, a tool called a ligator is inserted into the anal canal and used to grasp onto the hemorrhoid. This tool may use a small set of forceps to grasp the hemorrhoid, or it may use suction to gently extend it. A small rubber band is then released from the device to wrap around the base of the hemorrhoid. Within a week or two of the procedure, the hemorrhoid will fall away on its own. A scar is left behind, which helps prevent a new hemorrhoid from developing.
What to Expect
Hemorrhoid banding is a quick, nonsurgical procedure and no preparation is required on the part of the patient beforehand. Patients can expect to first have the diagnosis of a hemorrhoid confirmed. The procedure may then be performed on the same day or at a later appointment. Banding is an outpatient procedure, meaning that patients can expect to return home on the same day. Some bleeding and discomfort are normal after the hemorrhoid banding procedure. Multiple appointments may be required for patients with several hemorrhoids, as doctors typically limit the banding procedure to one or two hemorrhoids at a time. This limitation minimizes discomfort and bleeding. Any lingering pain is usually manageable with over-the-counter pain medications. Hemorrhoid banding is considered a very safe procedure with little to no serious complications. Infections or blood clots are possible, but these complications are rare.
Reasons for Hemorrhoid Banding
Hemorrhoids are often treatable at home with over-the-counter pain medications and topical creams. Lifestyle changes such as increasing dietary fiber and maintaining good hygiene may also be helpful. For some people, these home remedies provide sufficient relief and no further treatment is required. Good candidates for hemorrhoid banding are those with internal hemorrhoids who have not found sufficient relief from these remedies. Such patients may suffer from various combinations of intense itching, pain and bleeding. This treatment may also be appropriate for patients with hemorrhoids that contain blood clots, and for prolapsed hemorrhoids — those that protrude out through the anus, but begin internally.
Hemorrhoid banding is the simplest and most widely used treatment for internal hemorrhoids. It also has a much shorter recovery time than surgical options. Compared to other treatment options, patients who undergo hemorrhoid banding are less likely to see their hemorrhoids return in the future.
Your appendix is narrow pouch that protrudes from your large intestine, and is located on the right side of your lower abdomen. Appendicitis (inflammation and infection of the appendix) is caused by an obstruction or blockage that can occur as a result of parasites, fecal matter, or mucus buildup. Once the obstruction occurs, bacteria multiplies quickly inside of the appendix.
When appendicitis develops, treatment needs to be acquired quickly before the appendix ruptures, which can be life-threatening. Fortunately, the appendix provides no vital function in the body, and patients are able to live healthily without the organ—but being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of appendicitis is an important first step toward recovery and safety.
Pain is the most commonly experienced symptom. You may notice a gradual onset of pain in your abdomen, and the pain can be dull, aching, cramping, or sharp. As the appendix becomes more swollen, the pain will sharpen.
The pain can begin on the right side or around your navel, and then shift to your right side. However, the exact location of your pain can vary based on where your appendix is positioned and if you are pregnant. The pain will often be worse if you walk or cough.
You might notice a mild fever with appendicitis. If your appendix bursts, the infection can cause your temperature to rise higher, to above 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Nausea and Vomiting
Some patients experience nausea and vomiting, in addition to loss of appetite, constipation, bloating, or diarrhea. Any type of gastrointestinal upset could be a symptom and is often combined with abdominal pain.
Keep in mind that children who experience these symptoms may not be able to accurately describe how they are feeling. If your child complains of abdominal pain or is showing signs of illness, stay aware of their symptoms and contact their doctor immediately if appendicitis is a possibility.
Not every patient experiences symptoms, but it is important to visit a doctor as soon as possible if you suspect that your appendix is inflamed.
A new report published in the Applied and Environmental Microbiology journal examines the growth of salmonella bacteria in bagged, pre-packaged salads. These salads are commonly found in grocery stores and in fast food restaurant locations and are often purchased due to their convenience—the salad leaves are already cut and advertised as clean and ready to eat.
Most leaves used in salads are already exposed to salmonella during the growth process. Bird droppings, manure, and insects all carry the bacteria. The researchers in this study looked at how the existing salmonella bacteria behaved once the product was bagged.
The bacteria are spread by damaged leaves in the bags of salad. These leaves, even when slightly damaged, release juices that increase the bacteria’s ability to develop biofilms. These biofilms tightly adhere to the surfaces of the other leaves and are hard to remove, even through careful washing.
Primrose Freestone, co-author of the study and an associate professor of clinical microbiology at University of Leicester, indicated that investigating the behavior of salmonella in bagged salad can help to expose consumers’ risks. This study can also help along research in the future regarding the way that the biofilm attaches to salad leaves.
Although more research is needed, you can reduce your risk of salmonella by inspecting bags for damaged leaves, thoroughly washing produce, and checking expiration dates and recall notices.