Sclerotherapy for Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids occur when the veins and arteries in and around the anal area become swollen and inflamed. Symptoms of hemorrhoids may include bleeding, itching, burning, discomfort and pain. Although most cases of hemorrhoids will resolve on their own or with conservative treatments, some may require additional medical attention. Sclerotherapy can be used to treat internal hemorrhoids that do not respond to at-home treatments.
What is Sclerotherapy?
During sclerotherapy, a chemical solution is injected into the tissue around the hemorrhoid. The solution, called a sclerosant, causes the vein to dry up and collapse, resulting in the formation of scar tissue. The scar tissue that develops around the vein, as well as the lack of blood flow, shrinks the hemorrhoid. The collapsed vein is eventually reabsorbed by the body and blood flow is rerouted to healthy veins.
After the sclerotherapy procedure, you may experience minor rectal bleeding. This should stop in a short period of time.
Who Should Have Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is only recommended for internal hemorrhoids, which occur inside the anal canal. Hemorrhoids that cause excessive pain or bleeding may be treated with sclerotherapy, but this treatment is not recommended for prolapsed or strangulated hemorrhoids. Sclerotherapy may be the best option for hemorrhoids that are too small for rubber band ligation or for patients who are not considered healthy enough for surgery.
Phenol is the most commonly used sclerosant and is considered extremely safe. However, there are some risks associated with sclerotherapy that you should discuss with your doctor. These risks may include:
- Bruising at the injection site
- Blood clots
- Allergic reaction
To learn more about sclerotherapy for hemorrhoids, consult your colorectal specialist.