According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), about half of Americans aged 50 years and above experience signs of hemorrhoids or piles. The disorder is characterized by discomfort, itching, and bleeding in the anus or lower rectum. It is caused by inflamed veins that swell. It is grouped into two kinds. It is an internal hemorrhoid if the inflamed veins are inside the rectum. It is external if it is under the skin that surrounds the anus. One who has this disorder can take over the counter medication, undergo a surgical procedure or try a non-surgical approach such as injection sclerotherapy for hemorrhoids.
Sclerotherapy is only one of the non-surgical treatments for hemorrhoids. In fact, it is one of the oldest techniques used for treating this condition. Other non-surgical treatments include rubber band ligation, cryotherapy and heat coagulation.
With this approach, the medical practitioner would inject phenol or quinine urea in liquid form. They are the ones referred to as the sclerosants. Their main goal is to get rid of the long-period but mild inflammation. The patients are usually requested to defecate before injecting the sclerosants. Defecating right after the treatment is strongly discouraged because it may reduce treatment's effectiveness. The area to be treated is usually lubricated and pain killer may be given.
The sclerosants must be injected to the hemorrhoids' base. It is not totally pain-free but the pain is experienced much shorter than the one experienced after a surgical procedure. This hemorrhoid management technique usually requires only a day for the pain to go away. It is an outpatient procedure but most doctors recommend that you have someone come with you and drive you home.
One of the benefits of this injection sclerotherapy for hemorrhoids is that the results are quick even if it is cheaper than other treatments. The inflammation would subside fast. One can see results at least a week after the fluids are injected. The hemorrhoids will come out of the body through the natural bowel movement, which must be pain and blood-free.
Another good thing about this therapy is that it is non-invasive. This is why it is one of the most recommended to the elderly suffering from the said disorder. Unlike surgical procedures, injecting liquids to the veins does not require much strength and excellent health.
Of course, any treatment has its downside. In the case of sclerotherapy, one may develop scars in the affected area when the inflammation is treated. Moreover, the medical practitioners limit the treatment to only three hemorrhoids per sessions. It cannot be used for very large inflamed veins or third degree piles, too. Aside from that the injected phenol is less effective on large piles, there is also a risk for blood clots. Another downside is that the benefits of this treatment are not permanent. The condition may come back after a year or so.
Additionally, the injection sclerotherapy for hemorrhoids may be great for the elderly suffering from piles but it is not for everyone. It cannot be administered to those who have other inflammatory bowel conditions such as the ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.