What Are Haemorrhoids?

Haemorrhoids are dilated veins and redundant mucosa within the anal canal and distal area of the rectum. Internal haemorrhoids are derived from the internal haemorrhoidal plexus above the dentate line. External haemorrhoids are derived from the external haemorrhoidal plexus below the dentate line.

The symptoms include bleeding, prolapsing tissue, fullness after defecation, itching and pain.

Haemorrhoids and their symptoms are one of the most common afflictions in the world. They can occur at any age and can affect both men and women equally.

It is understood that the vast majority of people suffer from haemorrhoids at some time in their lives.

Haemorrhoids are graded by stage of prolapse, from first degree (when internal haemorrhoids bulge into the anal canal during bowel movements), to fourth degree when a haemorrhoid protrudes from the anus all the time. Banding is not suitable for this last and most serious stage.

Conventional treatment methods include:

  • Rubber band ligation (RBL) (to cut off circulation)
    80% success rate, simple quick procedure
    Rubber band ligation (RBL) is the least expensive and most widely used technique. This is suitable for first to third degree haemorrhoids. The bands are easy to apply, but the drawback is that two people are needed, one to hold the anoscope and the other to apply the bands. - JL pFennifer, BMJ, 1997
  • Injection sclerotherapy (injection of chemical irritant)
    50% success rate, difficult procedure
  • Cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogen)
    80% success rate, difficult time consuming procedure
  • Infrared coagulation (application of heat via a probe)
    80% success rate, difficult time consuming procedure
  • Haemorrhoidectomy (laser, stapling or scalpel surgery)
    Difficult and time consuming mainly used for stage 4 treatment