Background/aims: The aim of this study is to assess prospectively the effect of fiber additions on internal bleeding hemorrhoids.
Materials and methods: Fifty patients with bleeding internal hemorrhoids are studied and randomized in two groups. Patients in the study group were treated with a commercially available preparation of Plantago Ovata and those in the control group were treated with a placebo. Endoscopy was performed on every patient before and after treatment to establish: a) the degree of hemorrhoidal prolapse, b) the number of congested hemorrhoidal cushions and c) contact bleeding hemorrhoids.
Results: During the 15 days of treatment, the average number of bleeding episodes was 4.8 +/- 3.8 for the study group versus 6.4 +/- 3 for the control group (n.s.). During the following 15 days, it decreased to 3.1 +/- 2.7 in the study group versus 5.5 +/- 3.2 (p < 0.05) in the control group and in the last 10 days of treatment a further reduction to 1.1 +/- 1.4 was found in the study group versus 5.5 +/- 2.9 (p < 0.001). The number of congested hemorrhoidal cushions diminished from 2.6 +/- 1 to 1.6 +/- 2.2 after fiber treatment (p < 0.01) and no differences were found in the control group. In the fiber group, hemorrhoids bled on contact in 5 out of 22 patients before treatment and in none after treatment; no differences were found in the control group. No modification of the degree of prolapse was observed after treatment.
Conclusion: Addition of dietary fiber may improve internal bleeding hemorrhoids although with no immediate effect. Fiber addition should be ensured in patients who refuse invasive treatment, waiting for a more defined form of treatment, or with contraindications.