(Jan. 12, 2009) HOBOKEN, NJ According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, about half of the U.S. population will have hemorrhoids by the age of 50. While the most common prescription to treat hemorrhoids is over-the-counter remedies, most patients do not report symptoms of acute hemorrhoidal attacks to their doctor until they are in severe distress, including bleeding. A study published in a recent issue of Phytotherapy Research reveals Pycnogenol (pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, has important anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic properties that may be beneficial in patients with hemorrhoids, both for acute and chronic treatment, and in preventing new attacks.
"Topical medications, lifestyle changes and careful hygiene are all that is needed for most patients to control symptoms of hemorrhoids," said Professor Peter Rohdewald, a co-author of the study. "In this study, both topical and oral Pycnogenol treatment reduced the intensity and duration of hemorrhoidal pain and bleeding. Pycnogenol even reduced the number of procedures and hospital admissions caused by severe cases."
The randomized, controlled study conducted by G D'Annunzio University in Italy investigated 84 patients suffering from an acute episode of external hemorrhoids, lasting 24 to 48 hours prior to inclusion in the study. The most frequently observed signs and symptoms, including hemorrhoidal bleedings, severe perineal pain and intravascular thrombus, were evaluated during the study period of two weeks. Patients were randomly allocated to one of three treatment groups, as follows: Treatment of Group 1 consisted of initial 300 mg of Pycnogenol tablets daily for four days, followed by 150 mg per day for the following three days; Group 2 received the same treatment as Group 1, plus 0.5% Pycnogenol topical cream; and Group 3 was a placebo treatment group. Symptoms of hemorr
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