People are reluctant to talk about piles, or haemorrhoids, and with rumours abound regarding surgery, so many are living with needless discomfort.

Now available in Wales, the Rafaelo procedure is a new treatment for haemorrhoids which involves very little, or no, pain and a quick recovery. The effective treatment provides safe, reliable radio frequency technology using local anaesthetic.

Since January, the Rafaelo procedure has been performed at Nuffield Health Cardiff and Vale Hospitals – the first hospitals in Wales to offer the treatment.

Consultant colorectal surgeon at Nuffield Health, Alan Woodward, explains, “Haemorrhoids is a non-serious condition that more than 80 per cent of us will suffer from in our lifetimes, but one nobody wants to talk about.

"It is estimated that more than 60,000 traditional treatments take place annually in the UK alone to ease the discomfort that piles causes. These can range from over-the-counter creams to full surgery carried out under general anaesthetic.

"The causes can be varied from pregnancy and obesity to low fibre diet and constipation or simply genetics. Eventually, people come to see me with pain and itchiness, rectal bleeding or swelling. A healthy diet that includes plenty of fibre, fruit and leafy vegetables, together with plenty of water intake, all help to avoid constipation.”

Nuffield Health Theatre team with their Rafaelo procedure certificate

Adapted from a similar technology in the last couple of years which has successfully been used to treat varicose veins in the legs, Rafaelo is a treatment which shrinks the haemorrhoid by reducing the blood flow to it, causing it to disappear. Beforehand, the area around the pile is anaesthetised to avoid any discomfort.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has approved the Rafaelo procedure when it is carried out with special arrangements for governance, consent and audit or research.

Usually only one 15-minute treatment session is required, with symptoms improving almost immediately. It is a walk in/walk out procedure and the recovery time is very short. Patients are seen back in clinic at around six weeks after the procedure.

It may cause you great embarrassment to mention the word 'piles' to a loved one - or even a doctor. Reassuringly, the very latest technology to help is at hand here at Nuffield Health's two hospitals – in the Vale or at Cardiff Bay.

The self-pay price for this treatment is £2,500 and most insurance schemes are accepted. Patients can self-refer to the private clinic without necessarily seeing their GP - call 01443 449 251.

For more information on the Rafaelo procedure, visit Nuffield Health's website.