Talking about “Hemorrhoid” may seem embarrassing. Still, it is one of the most common medical conditions encountered, especially among those who usually maintain the difficulties of constipation or diarrhea.
Prof.Dr. Art Hiranyakas, M.D., PhD., Colorectal Surgeon, and director of Bangkok-Phuket Colorectal Disease Institute at Bangkok Hospital Phuket states hemorrhoids (also term piles) are the pathology of swollen veins in the anal canal which could be classified by their anatomic origins into two types including internal hemorrhoid and external hemorrhoid. Generally, hemorrhoids are responsible for perfect bowel control and anal sensation.
In the normal state, hemorrhoids are responsible for stool control and anal perception. However, hemorrhoids may develop into unwanted health issues when there is an increased pressure in the anal canal due to constipation, diarrhea, sitting in the toilet for a prolonged period, lifting heavy loads, or pregnancy.
Adding, “The general population may consider hemorrhoids a disease. In fact, however, hemorrhoids are vascular structures in the anal canal that aid in stool regulation and anal sensation perception. Also, the disappearance of hemorrhoids may provoke the disability of fecal incontinence or bowel incontinence.”
Colorectal surgeon states that the symptoms of hemorrhoids may include: rectal discomfort, the occurrence of a lump near anal regions, irritation, itchiness, and rectal bleeding as well as blood in the stool. The hemorrhoids treatment usually depends on the degree of presenting symptoms. Principally, the effective treatment options for easing hemorrhoids divided into two types, which are conservative treatment, can be broadly performed with various techniques such as soaking the anal area with purified water, hemorrhoid cream, or suppository, rubber band ligation, injection sclerotherapy, laser hemorrhoidectomy and surgical treatment.
Currently, an advancement in hemorrhoid therapy technology has developed. Radiofrequency coagulation technique is a reliable and broadly approved in the treatment for fecal incontinence by delivering the energy to activate the anal sphincters. Meanwhile, radiologists borrow this technology to encounter hepatocellular carcinoma and other liver nodules. However, the colorectal surgeon performs RF procedure under local anesthetic and gently inserting a probe connected to RF (radio frequency) energy generator to the hemorrhoids and shrink them.
Radiofrequency coagulation technique brings considerable gains over laser treatment, no irritation during the procedure without rehabilitation necessary after the procedure, or known as day surgery program.
“Besides, colorectal cancer or rectal cancer certainly share similar manifestations with hemorrhoids such as blood in the stool. For some severe cases, might exhibit the symptom of reduction in stool mass, constipation, rectal tenesmus (feeling of incomplete defecation), change in bowel habit (alternating period of constipation and diarrhea), abdominal pain, fatigue, and weight loss” said Dr. Art, yet, gives additional information associated with risk factors for colorectal cancer, including genetic, advanced age (over 45 or 50), being overweight, and a diet high in fat, red, and processed meat as well as alcohol consumption.
Early diagnosis has important implications for an effective treatment plan. For example, if one notices bleeding or blood in the stool, seek medical consultation and get the correct diagnosis is recommended. In general, the colorectal surgeon will perform careful anal and rectal examination; in the case of an abnormal growth is presented, the biopsy will be performed to confirm the colorectal cancer. Likewise, the disease progression is assessed by radiograph. Then, the treatment plan is designed by a multidisciplinary specialist team (involving the colorectal surgeons, radiologists, radiotherapists, oncologists, and pathologists). In which the combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy is widely recommended prior to surgery for locally advanced rectal cancer. This could decrease the size of the tumor and further increase the possibility of sphincter-saving surgery.
The most critical part is to seek medical attention and receive an appropriate examination to differentiate the disorder due to hemorrhoids or low rectal cancer for a more reasonable treatment.