“Are Haemorrhoids part of varicose veins? When I set up my first website in 1999, Veins.co.uk, a patient emailed me and said he had haemorrhoids and he wondered whether that was part of his varicose veins. For many years we’ve said no to such patients and indeed I said no to him. However, the latest research from The Whiteley Clinic which we’ve just published in Phlebology, a journal about veins and varicose veins, has shown the link between pelvic varicose veins and haemorrhoids. It turns out that when we actually look hard enough with special duplex ultrasound scan it appears that there is a very strong link between haemorrhoids and pelvic varicose veins and my suspicion is that they are just varicose veins associated with pelvic varicose veins and therefore it is part of the varicose vein family.
So why is this important? Well it’s important because at the moment most haemorrhoids in the world are treated by colorectal surgeons or general surgeons. Many of the treatments involve some sort of surgery taking away the haemorrhoid itself. More recently colorectal surgeons have started treating veins by taking away the artery either by using a laser or a little operation and taking away the blood supply going into the haemorrhoid itself. If haemorrhoids are shown to be part of the varicose vein family then what it will mean is that this is probably the wrong way to treat them. It would be much more sensible to treat the backflow or the refluxing blood as we do with all varicose veins in the legs.
So this is very exciting because it means that as the research comes out over the next five years or so, it’s likely to show that what we’ve been doing with haemorrhoids so far and the treatments we’ve been using is probably not the right way forward. Using laser and other different ways to try and treat the arteries is probably not the right way forward. What we should be using is we should be using principles that we’ve found in other areas of varicose vein surgery and by blocking the blood falling back into the varicose vein or the haemorrhoid we might well get better success.”