“The cardinal signs of internal hemorrhoids are painless bleeding with bowel movements with intermittent protrusion,” the committee said, also emphasizing that patients should be evaluated for fecal incontinence, which could inform surgical decision making.
In addition, the guidelines call for a complete endoscopic evaluation of the colon for patients who present with symptomatic hemorrhoids and rectal bleeding; this recommendation is based on moderately strong evidence, and presented with a grade of 1B.
Medical management of hemorrhoids may include office-based procedures or surgery, according to the guidelines.
“Most patients with grade I and II and select patients with grade III internal hemorrhoidal disease who fail medical treatment can be effectively treated with office-based procedures, such as banding, sclerotherapy, and infrared coagulation,” the committee wrote, and medical office treatment received a strong grade 1A recommendation based on high-quality evidence. Although office procedures are generally well tolerated, the condition can recur. Bleeding is the most common complication, and it is more likely after rubber-band ligation than other office-based options, the guidelines state.