What are haemorrhoids?
Haemorrhoids, also known as piles, are soft fleshy lumps just inside your back passage (anus). They have a rich blood supply and bleed easily, usually causing fresh bright-red bleeding when you have had a bowel movement. They do not usually cause pain but can cause itching around your anus. When large, they can pass through your anus (prolapsed pile), feeling like a lump when you clean yourself.
They are associated with constipation, particularly if you need to strain to open your bowels, and can be made worse by pregnancy.
What are the benefits of surgery?
Surgery will remove the haemorrhoids. You should no longer have any of the symptoms that haemorrhoids can cause.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
Drinking plenty of fluid and increasing the amount of fibre in your diet usually improves the way your bowels work.
If these simple measures are unsuccessful, the haemorrhoids can usually be treated in a clinic. Local treatments aimed at shrinking the haemorrhoids include ‘banding’ or ‘injecting’ the haemorrhoids.
What does the operation involve?
The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic but various anaesthetic techniques are possible.
The operation usually takes about 20 minutes. Your surgeon will examine your back passage and lower bowel. They will usually remove the haemorrhoids by cutting them away or using a staple gun.
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home the same day, especially if your haemorrhoids were treated using a staple gun.
Drink plenty of fluid and increase the amount of fibre in your diet to avoid constipation.
The wounds often take several weeks to heal completely and you may need to wear pads until then. There are no open wounds with the stapled technique.
You should be able to return to work within 3 to 4 weeks, depending on your type of work.
Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
You should make a full recovery and the symptoms should clear completely. However, haemorrhoids can come back.
What complications can happen?
Some complications can be serious and can even cause death.
General complications of any operation
- Infection of the surgical site (wound)
- Blood clot in your leg
- Blood clot in your lung
Specific complications of this operation
- Incomplete haemorrhoidectomy
- Difficulty passing urine
- Making a hole through the wall of your bowel
- Anal stenosis
- Developing skin tags
- Developing an anal fissure
- Incontinence can happen to a minor degree