The most common form of hemorhoids is the pile. These are enlarged blood vessels sometimes called varicose veins. They occur within and around the anal passage. These small, round lumps can be felt on the anus or noticed when they hang outside of the anal canal.
What causes piles?
Although anyone can develop haemorrhoids, or piles, they become more common with age. When the blood vessels that naturally occur in the anal canal grow larger and become engorged with fluid, haemorrhoids can form. This can be caused due to regular constipation or straining while trying to move. Due to the changes in hormone levels and the pressure on the pelvis from the baby, piles can also be common during pregnancy. This condition is more common in overweight people and those with a history of piles.
How do you know if you have piles of stuff?
If you feel pain or have lumps around the anus, you should consult your doctor. You may also notice slimy mucus in your underwear or on your toilet paper after passing motion. It is possible that your bowels aren’t empty after passing motion.
Internal or external piles can occur. Both may occur simultaneously. Your symptoms will vary depending on your stage.
- First degree: Piles do not protrude from the anus. You may still see light bleeding.
- Second degree: Piles can prolapse or emerge from anus with pressure. This can occur when there is strain during bowel movements. The anus will then spontaneously shrink back into itself.
- Third degree: Piles may appear during bowel movements and not retract naturally. They may hang from your rectum. To prevent further pain or infection, treatment may be necessary.
- Fourth degree: Piles cannot be pulled back in and remain outside of the anus. These piles are usually large and will require treatment.
How can you avoid piles?
Avoiding piles is the best way to avoid them. This can be done by eating a healthy diet with moderate fibre, drinking lots of water, and working out regularly. Avoid stalling bowel movements for too long and avoiding sitting down on the toilet to read or use the mobile phone for extended periods of time. This puts additional pressure on the anus.
How can piles treated?
With healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating a low-fat diet, exercising regularly and drinking lots of water, your piles might disappear on their own.
Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing pain from the piles. Your doctor may recommend medicated creams and ointments for your pain relief. These may be prescribed over-the-counter or prescription-based anti-inflammatory medication. Your doctor may prescribe corticosteroid creams if the inflammation is severe.
Minor (non-surgical) procedures
Your doctor may recommend the following day procedures if the medication fails to work. You will remain awake but your area will be numbed to prevent discomfort.
- Sclerotherapy: A chemical is injected into a haemorrhoid in order to reduce its size. This will take place over several weeks.
- Rubber band ligation: This is a way to stop blood flow to the haemorrhoid. The elastic band is tied around the hemorhoid, and it falls off within a few days.
- Electrotherapy: A gentle electric current is applied on your piles to shrink them
- Infrared coagulation: An infrared light is used to shrink piles and cut off blood supply
Surgery is not necessary if your piles are improving over time. If medication and other non-invasive methods fail to work or your piles are bleeding persistently, your specialist might recommend the following surgical procedures.
Haemorrhoidectomy is a complete surgical procedure to remove the piles
Stapled hemorhoidopexy is the removal of piles using a special stapler device. If this method is suitable, it’s less painful than conventional haemorrhoidectomy.
What are the possible complications of surgery?
Your pile problems can be solved by surgery. There are always risks involved in any surgery. They include bleeding and infection. Other examples include:
Anal stricture – A thick scar from a surgical procedure can cause narrowing of the anal passage. This may need additional surgery.
Retention of urine – This is a rare situation in which there might be difficulty passing urine due to post-operative discomfort. In some cases, this may mean that a temporary catheter is needed.
Talk to your doctor about the potential side effects and risks of surgical treatment for piles.
When is the best time to visit A&E?
- If your symptoms are severe and change quickly, you should immediately call an ambulance.
- Bleeding that can’t be stopped
- Extreme pain
- You can see blood clots in large numbers when the water in your toilet bowl turns red.
- You should be able manage any haemorrhoids that occur. If they cause pain or bleeding, consult a doctor.