LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - People who live with hemorrhoids know the pain they can cause. But there's relief in sight, thanks to a surgical technique performed right here in Southwest Louisiana.
They're known as the "varicose veins of the anus and rectum" and chances are at some point in your life you will develop hemorrhoids. Dr. Ken Moss, a general surgeon at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital explains, "Hemorrhoids are a thin wall of dilated veins in the wall of the anus and rectum and the veins are there normally, but can get engorged with blood and cause problems with certain conditions."
Dr. Moss says this common ailment can be seen frequently in pregnant women because of the increased pressure on the pelvic area, but other contributing factors can also play a role. "It can also occur with chronic diarrhea or chronic constipation," says Dr. Moss, "it can also occur with prolonged periods of sitting or standing."
What happens is the tissues supporting the vessels stretch - that causes the vessels to dilate. The walls of the vessels then become thin and bleed. If the stretching and pressure continue, the weakened vessels protrude either internally or externally. "The veins on the outer area of the anus rectum can swell up and engorge with blood," says Dr. Moss, "and cause protrusion of tissue to the outside, causing external hemorrhoids."
Most of the time, hemorrhoids will go away on their own or can be treated with over the counter medications, warm sitz baths, a high fiber diet and upping the liquid intake. But Dr. Moss says that sometimes a surgical procedure, like a stapled hemorrhoidopexy is the only answer. "Instead of removing the hemorrhoid tissue," he says, "the hemorrhoids are actually stapled and tacked up into the rectal area so that the swelling of the hemorrhoid is decreased, therefore the hemorrhoid will shrink eventually."
A hemorrhoidectomy is the most invasive of techniques, but it will surgically remove the hemorrhoids, giving ultimate relief from the protrusions.
*For more information about hemorrhoids and possible treatment options, join Dr. Moss for a free seminar next Thursday, January 28th at noon in the Shearman Conference Center at Memorial Hospital. To reserve a seat, call 494-2936.