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Hemorrhoids.

Most patients with hemorrhoids experience only mild symptoms that can be treated with nonprescription topical preparations. Patients usually seek treatment when symptoms increase. Internal hemorrhoids typically present with prolapse or painless rectal bleeding. External hemorrhoids also bleed and can cause acute pain if thrombosed. Medical therapy should be initiated with stool softeners plus local therapy to relieve swelling and symptoms. If medical therapy is inadequate, surgical intervention is warranted. Rubber band ligation is the treatment of choice for grades 1 and 2 hemorrhoids. Rubber band ligation, excisional hemorrhoidectomy, or stapled hemorrhoidopexy can be performed in patients with grade 3 hemorrhoids. Rubber band ligation causes less postoperative pain and fewer complications than excisional hemorrhoidectomy and stapled hemorrhoidopexy, but has a higher recurrence rate. Excisional hemorrhoidectomy or stapled hemorrhoidopexy is recommended for treatment of grade 4 hemorrhoids. Stapled hemorrhoidopexy has a faster postoperative recovery, but a higher recurrence rate. Postoperative pain from excisional hemorrhoidectomy can be treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, narcotics, fiber supplements, and topical antispasmodics. Thrombosed external hemorrhoids can be treated conservatively or excised.

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