They're often the butt of jokes or cheesy TV ads, but hemorrhoids are no laughing matter for people who endure their unpleasant symptoms.
Hemorrhoids, or piles, is a condition that occurs when the veins around the anus become swollen and inflamed, usually due to frequent constipation or straining while moving bowels. Other risk factors include pregnancy, age and frequent diarrhea.
"As many as half of Americans experience hemorrhoidal problems to some degree," said Dr. Gary L. Wease, Trinity Health general surgeon. "About 60 percent of those cases involve symptoms that range from mild to severe. The most common symptoms are bleeding, persistent pain and a problem with cleanliness."
Wease is the first surgeon in the region to offer a new hemorrhoidal treatment called Transanal Hemorrhoidal Dearterialization. It is a minimally invasive, relatively painless procedure for people with hemorrhoids severe enough to warrant surgical intervention.
The procedure uses a specially patented anoscope with several innovative features, including a Doppler guidance system that uses ultrasound tones to locate each of the six rectal arteries that feed the hemorrhoid. The outpatient procedure is performed in the operating room under general anesthesia and takes only about 30 minutes. Wease said the ingenuity of the system and the fact that it's easy to master has made it his "go-to" method for hemorrhoid treatment.
"There is minimal pain, shorter recovery time and the patient is able to return to work more quickly," Wease said. "Also, it's a permanent solution because it eliminates the blood flow to the hemorrhoid. Based on my experience, there are no major complications, and patients have been very happy with the results."
For additional information about THD, people may call Trinity Surgical Associates at 857-5764. Wease is located in Minot at Health Center-West, 101-3rd Ave. SW.