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Gastroenterology and Health

Anurex, anusitis

The 90 Percent Solution For Anusitis and Hemorrhoids

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

Many people think they're suffering from hemorrhoids. But the cause of their discomfort is often "anusitis" a common, but frequently overlooked condition. In this case a hemorrhoid operation won't relieve the symptoms. This week two common problems that have plagued mankind for centuries. There's a easy cure for both and one may be as close as the refrigerator door.

Anusitis is an inflamed area just inside the anus. Most patients complain of a small amount of discharge around the anal area. This constant wetness macerates the skin causing multiple tiny cracks, which in turn trigger itching.

Patients also complain of a burning sensation inside and outside the anus. There's no swelling, but blood is often found on toilet paper and occasionally bleeding occurs. Inserting a finger into the anus causes pain.

The use of cold temperature (cryosurgery) to relieve swelling and pain is not new. It's been used for sports injuries for years. But now it can also be used for treating anusitis.

"Anurex" is a reusable probe containing a cold jel. It's inserted into the rectum like a rectal suppository after being cooled in the refrigerator's freezer for a minimum of one hour. The probe is left in the rectum for six minutes, removed, washed and placed back in the freezer.

Dr Warren Rudd, Director of the Rudd Clinic for Diseases of the Colon and Rectum, in Toronto, says Anurex can be used every hour because it's safe. But in most cases it should be used twice a day for two weeks. Then once daily for another two weeks. Patients can then use it as needed.

It's not enjoyable having a cold probe inserted into the rectum. But it has a great track record of helping patients suffering from anusitis. Cooling quickly decreases the local blood flow, inflammation and swelling. This relieves the pain, discharge and bleeding.

In a series of 220 patients Dr. Rudd claims that 90 percent were relieved of itching and burning within one to two days. And it also helps those who complain of "leakage that stains my underwear." Small wonder that some patients call Anurex their "magic wand".


"Could I have prevented this problem?" a patient recently asked me. She had had surgery to treat hemorrhoids. But too much tissue had been removed by the scalpel. Now the rectal opening was too small causing difficult and painful bowel movements.

Dr. Eugene Salvati, Professor of Surgery at The Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey, recently addressed the annual meeting of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. His message? 90 percent of hemorrhoids can be treated without surgery by the rubberİband technique.

This is great news for patients who procrastinate about having hemorrhoid surgery for fear of pain. It takes about a minute to place a rubberİband at the base of the hemorrhoid. The procedure is easy and practically painless as there are no nerve endings to cut or burn inside the rectum.

Several years ago I reported on another technique used by Dr. Rudd. He also places a tiny band over the neck of the hemorrhoid and then freezes it using nitrous oxide.

The rubber band in both cases shuts off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid. Several days later the rubber band and the pile drop off. This leaves a raw area that takes two to three weeks to heal. Most patients require one or two more visits to destroy remaining hemorrhoidal tissue.

Dr Salvati has removed 45,000 hemorrhoids this way. Prior to treatment the majority of patients complained of bleeding or protrusion.

This technique is effective in 90 percent of cases. But if hemorrhoids are large, protrude and cannot be pushed back surgery is required.

The most common complication is a small blood clot occurring at the anal area. This happens in about three percent of cases and normally subsides with time and warm compresses. If the clot is large a small incision is made to remove it.

Dr Rudd claims that significant post-operative bleeding is rare. It occurs once in several thousand cases. But this may also occur after the surgical treatment of piles.

The best way to prevent piles is to eat a high fiber diet. This results in bulky, soft stools which avoids straining with bowel movements.

But always check with your doctor when rectal bleeding occurs. Never assume it's due to hemorrhoids or anusitis. This can be a fatal error if early malignancy is present.

Anurex is available in most pharmacies in Canada.

W. Gifford-Jones M.D Most recent columns

W. Gifford-Jones M.D is the pen name of Dr. Ken Walker graduate of Harvard. Dr. Walker's website is:
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