Phlebology: Palliatives but No Cures

Just about the commonest complaint seen by the surgeon is one of the least talked-about but most advertised of human conditions: hemorrhoids, or piles. Last week the Federal Trade Commission decided that some clear talk was needed not only about hemorrhoids, but about the advertising claims made by manufacturers of suppositories and ointments for their treatment. These preparations, said the FTC, "at best only afford temporary relief of minor itching . . . and some types of pain." So it ordered the companies "to stop falsely advertising them as cures."

Hemorrhoids are nothing but varicose veins in the anal region....

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