Piles: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Health and Nutrition
23.10.2019

Haemorrhoids are lumps inside and around a person’s anus (1). These haemorrhoids are called piles.  The veins around the anus or lower part of rectum are swollen and inflamed (2). Haemorrhoids are a very widespread anorectal condition (3). It affects millions of people worldwide.

Types of haemorrhoids

There are two types of haemorrhoids (2)

  • External haemorrhoids
  • Internal haemorrhoids

 

Causes of piles

There are several risk factors which may be the reason for developing of piles (2)

  • Chronic constipation or diarrhoea
  • Straining while passing stools
  • Diet lacking in fiber or containing low amounts of fiber
  • Being pregnant
  • Being older than 50 years
  • Lifting heavy articles regularly

Mostly the condition gets resolved on its own in a few days. But there are certain measures which can be taken to treat and prevent piles (1).

Symptoms (2)

The symptoms of piles depend on the type of piles a person is afflicted with.

External haemorrhoids symptoms 

  • Itching of the anus
  • Presence of one or more hard, tender lumps near the anus
  • Anal pain while sitting

Generally, symptoms of external haemorrhoids disappear within few a days. The symptoms get worse on too much straining, rubbing and cleaning of anus.

Internal haemorrhoids symptoms 

  • Bright red blood on stools or on the toilet paper while cleaning because of bleeding from the rectum
  • Prolapse, which is a haemorrhoid that has fallen out of the anus

 

Bleeding from the rectum does not mean only piles, it could be some other problem of the digestive system too.

Treatment 

Generally, piles can be treated at home itself. These are some measures which can be taken to prevent or treat piles (1, 2, 3).

What to follow

  • Healthy diet containing sufficient dietary fiber
  • Drinking water as recommended by the doctor
  • Regular exercise routine
  • Improving anal hygiene
  • Do not disregard the urge to pass stools
  • To relieve itching or pain one can sit in a warm water bath or use creams suggested by the doctor
  • While cleaning the anal region use damp wipes
  • Taking stool softeners suggested by health provider

What to avoid

  • Avoiding sitting for long periods of time in the toilet (Avoid reading in the toilet)
  • Avoid straining during passing stools
  • Restrict intake of alcohol and caffeine containing beverages such as tea, coffee and cola to avoid constipation
  • Avoid using medicines which cause constipation or diarrhoea

If these simple remedies do not work in a week then please see a doctor because a different approach may be needed (1).

But for severely prolapsed haemorrhoids or when there is bleeding because of internal haemorrhoids there is a need for proper medical treatment. If there is anal pain or abdominal pain or diarrhoea or fever do not neglect to see a doctor immediately. The treatment may involve surgery in some cases.

 

References

 

  1. National Health Service (2019). Piles (Haemorrhoids).

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/piles-haemorrhoids/

 

  1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and kidney diseases (2016). Definition & Facts of Hemorrhoids.

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/hemorrhoids/definition-facts#what

 

  1. Lohsiriwat, V. (2012) Hemorrhoids: from basic pathophysiology to clinical management, World journal of gastroenterology. Vol. 18 (17). 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3342598/

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