Hemorrhoid Treatment History Part 1 | Minneapolis

As early as 2250 BC hemorrhoids have been recorded in literature to some extent. It would probably be safe to say that it is one of the oldest ailments known to people. The Egyptians were the first people who medically recorded the remedies for hemorrhoids. In 1700 BC Egyptian papyrus advised to use a poultice of dried acacia leaves with a linen bandage to heal protrusions and inflammations of venous tissue.

A well-known Greek physician named Hippocrates wrote about hemorrhoids in his book, On Hemorrhoids, describing it as bile or phlegm which is determined to be the veins in the rectum. He treated the anal protusions very crudely advocating pulling the tissue off with the finger tips, or pulling the veins upward, while someone puts a hot iron to the hemorrhoid and burns it off. The first recorded endoscopy (use of speculum to inspect the rectum) can also be credited to Hippocrates. In 400 BC, the Hippocratic also discussed a treatment similar to modern rubber band ligation: “And hemorrhoids in like manner you may treat by transfixing them with a needle and tying them with very thick and woolen thread, for application, and do not forment until they drop off, and always leave one behind; and when the patient recovers, let him be put on a course of Hellebore”.

Even the bible has records of hemorrhoids in the earliest times from the Old Testament Book of Samuel 5:9 Philistines, “punished with emerods” and Samuel 5:12, “People who moved the Ark to Ekron were punished with emerods”.

One of the earliest known hemorrhoid treatments was with the aloe vera plant. Dioscorides, a Roman physician started using that to treat inflamed hemorrhoids. Celsus (25 BC – AD 14) described ligation and excision procedures, and discussed the possible complications. Then approximately 130-200 AD a Roman physician named Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Galen) prescribed ointment, laxatives, and leeches for hemorrhoids treatment. Galen advocated severing the connection of the arteries to veins, claiming that it reduced both pain and the spread of gangrene. The Susruta Samhita, (4th – 5th century AD), similar to the words of Hippocrates, but emphasizes wound cleanliness. During the same time period in India, the use of clamp and cautery was used to get rid of hemorrhoids and control bleeding.

Between the 5th and 10th Century, Byzantine physicians used thread to ligate the base of the hemorrhoid and then followed by its amputation.

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