How will this affect haemorrhoid sufferers?
A shift from Theatre to Clinic
The guidance clearly stipulates that the evidence shows that clinic based treatments for grade I,II, and III haemorrhoid can be more effective than theatre based surgery and should be considered as a leading option for treatment.
The NHS currently carries out three types of surgical interventions for haemorrhoids; a haemorrhoidectomy, haemorrhoidal artery ligation and stapling (NHS UK). However, the NHS is now advocating for the non-surgical procedure alternatives that are available in clinic. Surgical procedures will only be carried out if certain clinical criteria are met.
According to The Association of Coloproctology, surgery will only be undertaken in cases of persistent grade 1 or grade 2 haemorrhoids that have not improved from non-surgical interventions such as dietary changes or banding. Similarly, surgery may be performed on grade 3 or 4 haemorrhoids or those with a ‘symptomatic external component’.
Impact on Patients
Despite the changes resulting in savings and efficiencies, there will undoubtedly be an effect on the 8 million UK sufferers living with haemorrhoids. The symptoms of living with haemorrhoids can be detrimental to these individuals. The condition is often joked about. Living with it can be incredibly stressful. Sufferers can find it difficult to talk about the symptoms.
A typical example of this comes from Robert B from Yorkshire.
Speaking about his experience of haemorrhoids before his eXroid electrotherapy treatment he said he went through the “embarrassment of bleeding through [his] clothing” and “constant pain and itchiness”. These changes make it vital for patients living with haemorrhoids to understand how else they can manage the condition if they don’t currently meet the criteria for surgery.