A new procedure can cause hemorrhoids to shrink in just 15 minutes and is now available on the NHS.
John Hudson, 72, a retired accountant from Redditch, Worcestershire, had the operation in March and CAROL DAVIS tells his story.
From the late 1970s I had a headache almost every day. They seemed to come together with a nagging pain in my gut, and because bowel cancer occurs in the family, I was worried.
I saw a consultant and had a colonoscopy, a telescopic examination of the intestine. Fortunately it showed no signs of colon cancer, but he said that I had to do something about my piles or hemorrhoids. He explained that these are blood vessels in the soil that have been enlarged, causing bleeding, itching and discomfort.
John Hudson, 72, pictured, had his piles heated to 120 ° C and shrunk in March. The former accountant said that this is the best money he has ever spent and that he has been used up for days
I had them for over ten years, from the age of twenty, and had asked my doctor for ointment, but he said it didn't work, so I just tolerated it. But the advisor said the codeine I used for the headache caused my bowel pain and constipation, and squeezing a movement made the hemorrhoids worse.
To help with the constipation I started to eat more fiber. My wife Jane encouraged me to eat bran for breakfast and more fruits and vegetables. But occasionally I was still bleeding because blood can also be a sign of colon cancer.
In May 1978 I had what was then a groundbreaking freeze treatment for the posts under general anesthesia. It was terribly painful afterwards and I had a few weeks off to recover.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS & # 39; S?
■ As with any hemorrhoid procedure, there is a small risk of secondary bleeding after four to seven days.
■ There is a theoretical risk that the posts can return to one in 27 patients.
■ "Rafaelo means we can treat hemorrhoids as a day treatment and all risks – as it may not work – are quite small," says Atif Alvi, a colorectal surgeon consultant at Watford General Hospital and Spire Bushey Hospital. "It is cost effective and avoids the risks of a general anesthetic."
But within a few years the hemorrhoids returned despite healthy eating – so ten years later I had the same operation again. It was just as painful, and again, the problem returned – worse than ever.
Because of the link with colon cancer in the family, I had colonoscopies every three years, and every time doctors urged me to get something done to the piles.
I thought it would be lucky the third time, ten years ago I had a hemorrhoid disease to remove the hemorrhoids surgically.
I knew that running could cause bleeding, so I took it easy as I recovered; but almost fourteen days later they went for a quiet walk, they were bleeding so much that I had to spend the night in the hospital.
Nothing worked. Four years ago my doctor told me to put a band around the hemorrhoids so that they drop out due to a lack of blood supply.
But it didn't matter much. Then in January my doctor referred me to Gamal Barsoum, a surgeon at Spire Parkway Hospital, Solihull, West Midlands. He now used a radio frequency probe to apply heat and reduce hemorrhoids.
My doctor said it wouldn't cause pain like the previous operations, and I didn't even need a general anesthetic, which comforted me. I had to pay for it myself, but it was the best money I ever spent.
Hudson, in the photo, had previously had a frost treatment for the piles, but he said this was very painful
I had the 15-minute procedure in March. I lay down on my side with my knees pulled up against my chest and talked to the nurse. Although I knew something was wrong, it didn't hurt. Jane took me home that afternoon.
Now there is no sign of bleeding or discomfort. A few days later I ran away again without pain, and no sign of bleeding after so many years of awkwardness. It is just amazing.
Gamal Barsoum is a consultant surgeon at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Spire Parkway Hospital.
Most of us get hemorrhoids at some point: 50 percent of people over 50 have them. They are veins in the anus that can fill with blood and begin to stretch, so that the supporting tissues become very weak, like a varicose vein, causing bleeding, itching, discomfort and swelling.
Pressure in the pelvis increases the risk, so they can cause constipation or pregnancy. Eating more fiber and drinking more water can help in most cases when people's hemorrhoids are due to constipation and are still in the body, and thus anti-inflammatory ointment can be applied several times a day in the early stages.
Dr. Gamal Barsoum did Mr. Hudson's procedure and said that similar technology has also been used for liver tumors and varicose veins. Mr Hudson is depicted
But larger hemorrhoids that affect one in ten must be treated. The gold standard has been surgery, but they need six to ten weeks to heal and recovery is painful, often with bleeding and infections.
So we can try other measures, such as ligation of rubber bands, where we put a rubber band around the hemorrhoids so that the blood supply is cut off and they eventually fall off – but again, this is painful.
Or we can staple them back in place, which again causes pain; or try to reduce them using electric current or infrared light.
More recently, patients have been offered hemorrhoids ligation, using stitches to reduce blood flow to the stacks and cause them to shrink. This and the non and electric current methods include general anesthesia.
Rafaelo, who was invented in Belgium three years ago, uses radio frequency to reduce hemorrhoids and prevent them from returning. It causes tissues to warm up to 120c and coagulate, so that it solidifies and the blood vessels collapse.
We hope this means that the posts will not return and although we do not have a long-term proof yet, the results so far are encouraging.
We can treat patients in 15 minutes with local anesthesia, so that they walk away the same day. Similar technology has been used for liver tumors and varicose veins. It was approved for stacks by NICE in August 2017 and is being used by more and more NHS trusts.
First I inject local anesthesia and place an anoscope, a hollow tube with a diameter of 3 cm, with a light and a side window that I position over the hemorrhoid.
I then inject 1 ml of local anesthetic and saline solution just below the hemorrhoid to lift it off the anal muscles and prevent any heat damage.
I puncture the radiofrequency needle a short distance in the hemorrhoid and press a foot pedal to heat it up to 120c for a minute. I see the hemorrhoid shrink and contract around the probe and turn white as scar tissue begins to form. I then treat other hemorrhoids.
She must lose this procedure for a long time unless patients return to bad habits.
The procedure costs around £ 2,000 privately, and £ 700- £ 900 on the NHS.
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