Hope for patients with painful condition

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Alternative treatments which could enable patients to recover more quickly from the painful condition piles are being tested in a new study led by Sheffield doctors.

The £880,000 research project, the first of its kind, will examine two procedures which will be given to a group of 350 patients over 12 months.

Around a quarter of the UK’s population will develop symptoms from piles, or haemorrhoids, during their lifetime, with most recovering naturally after a few days. However, the most severe forms need treatment, particularly if they swell or bleed.

Consultant surgeon Steven Brown, from the Northern General Hospital, is joining medics across England to look at the two alternative treatments.

The first method involves placing a tiny rubber band on the pile, cutting off circulation, while the second technique works by locating arteries in the haemorrhoid area using an ultrasound probe, then reducing blood flow using a stitch.

Mr Brown said: “We are looking at which of these treatments is more beneficial. This will enable surgeons and clinicians to make informed, evidence-based decisions.”

The city’s role is a joint effort between Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Sheffield University.