HAEMORRHOIDS – PATIENT INFORMATION
What are haemorrhoids?
Everyone has swellings in the anal canal (back passage) called anal cushions. These bulges in the lining of the anal canal act like the washer on a tap and help to prevent leaks from the back passage and maintain continence. Over time these swellings can lose their normal structure and become stretched. This can cause them to bleed, or protrude outside the anus (prolapse). When this happens they are called haemorrhoids, or piles. They can lead to symptoms including bleeding, discomfort, itching and a feeling of incomplete bowel emptying. It is not know why some people suffer from haemorrhoids and others do not. There is an association with constipation and straining, but they can be associated with a normal bowel habit. They are more common in some families and during or after pregnancy. Up to one in three people will suffer from haemorrhoids during their lifetime. There are a number of different treatments. Banding is sometimes helpful for more minor degrees of haemorrhoids.
What is ‘banding’ of haemorrhoids?
Banding involves using a special instrument to put a tight elastic band around the base of the haemorrhoid. This cuts off some of the blood supply to the haemorrhoid swelling and fixes the lining of the anal canal in place to prevent further prolapse. The actual procedure only takes a few minutes to complete. The bands should fall off in about 5-10 days. The area heals over during the following 3-4 weeks.
Prior to the Procedure
It is advisable to take some a couple of painkillers (Ibuprofen or similar) about 90 minutes before the procedure.
After the Procedure
You may experience some discomfort or a feeling of fullness in the anus for a day or so after the banding. This is quite normal. You should take regular painkillers (eg Paracetamol) if needed. Avoid medication containing Aspirin (Salicylic acid) as it can increase the risk of bleeding. Occasionally patients get more severe pain after banding, and if this occurs you should contact us at the hospital.
You can bathe or shower as you wish. You can return to normal activities as soon as you feel comfortable (usually the next day). Strenuous exercise should be kept to a minimum for a few days. It is important to drink plenty of fluids.
You may see some minor spots of blood on the stools or on the paper after opening your bowels. This will settle with time. Patients sometimes get further bleeding about 7-10 days after banding. This is due to the ‘scab’ coming off and the wound healing. It should settle by itself, but if it doesn’t, or you lose a large amount of blood or pass clots, you should contact us or your GP.