Major Moments in Hemorrhoids History | Minnesota

Hemorrhoids have plagued humans for thousands of years, with the earliest known mention of its symptoms dating back to roughly ~2250 BC in the kingdom of Babylon in the Code of King Hammurabi. Fast forward to 1700 BC in Egypt, and we stumble upon the first-ever recorded case of hemorrhoids, which also happened to highlight an important topical wound ointment.

The first use of the word “haemorrhoids” in the English language occurred in 1398. The term derived from the Old French word “emorroides,” taken from Latin derivative “hæmorrhoida-ae,” which in turn originated from the Greek word for “haimorrhois.”

Below is a timeline of key events in the history of hemorrhoid development:
 

Hemorrhoid History: A Timeline

~2250 BC: Babylon Code of King Hammurabi described the symptoms of hemorrhoids

1700 BC: Egyptian papyrus pronounced a topical astringent lotion

1552 BC: Egyptian medical record detailed remedies for hemorrhoids

1046 BC: Old Testament, 1 Samuel 5:9 Philistines punished with “emerods”, and in 1 Samuel 5:12 People who moved the Ark to Ekron were punished with “emerods”

460–375 BC: Hippocratic Treatises described hemorrhoid treatment by cautery and excision, and first recorded use of speculum to inspect the rectum (endoscopy)

25 BC–AD 50: Celsus describes Pile ligation

41–68: Roman physician Dioscorides defined Aloe Vera use for easing hemorrhoids

130–200: Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius’s physician Galen pronounced hemorrhoids treatment ointment containing laxatives and leeches. He also explained thread use to tie off piles causing them to shrivel up

4th–5th Century: Indian Susruta Samhita text defined clamp and cautery use

5th–10th Century: Arab physician El-Zahrawy defined cautery irons use, whilst Byzantine physicians ligated with thread on the hemorrhoid base, before amputating

1307–1370: John of Ardene’s exposition transcribed hemorrhoids and fistula treatment, and enemas use

1806: Modern era of endoscopy was piloted by Bozzini with his aluminum tube to expose the genitourinary tract

1835: St.Marks Hospital London was founded by Frederick Salmon providing modern hemorrhoids and fistula treatment

1849: Introduction of anal dilation for hemorrhoids treatment

1935: St.Marks Hospital further developed excision and ligation methods at the hands of ETC Milligan and C Naughton Morgan – nowadays defined as the gold inhemorrhoidectomy standard

1952: Modification to the Milligan-Morgan procedure introduced by Ferguson

1955: A.G. Parks’ developed his closed method surgical treatment the hemorrhoidectomy

1963: J Barron developed an out-patient rubber band procedure to tie hemorrhoids

1970: Development of cryotheraphy, diathermy, infrared coagulation and laser cauteries

1975: PH Lord developed his anal dilation hemorrhoid treatment method, whilst WHF Thompson postulated that hemorrhoids developed from anal cushions that are part of the normal anatomical structures

1997: Italian A Longo introduced his stapled hemorrhoidectomy procedure for prolapsed hemorrhoids
 
Due to lack of studies and documentation on hemorrhoids, as well as lack of patients seeking medical assistance, the exact prevalence of hemorrhoids is unknown. However, it’s estimated that roughly half of Americans develop hemorrhoids by age 50, with roughly five percent of the US population affected.

The outlook for hemorrhoid treatment and rehabilitation is generally positive. While some individuals suffer from flare-ups and recurring hemorrhoids, only a small portion of patients require surgery.

 

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