Haemorrhoids - also known as piles - are small swellings inside and around the anus. While they are usually asymptomatic, they can sometimes present themselves to be itchy, uncomfortable or painful. For these cases, treatments can be sought to help reduce the inflammation and ease the discomfort or pain they may inflict.
Haemorrhoids, colloquially known as Piles, is a condition in which the veins inside the rectum become swollen. Increased pressure in the blood vessels around the back passage is usually attributed to the condition.
Constipation and excessive straining when going to the toilet are often considered common causes of Piles. However, chronic diarrhoea can also increase your chances of piles.
Obesity, pregnancy heaving lifting, prolonged sitting and persistent coughing or vomiting can put pressure on the blood vessels around the anus, increasing your risk of piles.
If you are over 45 and/or have a family history of Haemorrhoids, you may be more susceptible to the condition.
It is common for haemorrhoids to be asymptomatic (cause no symptoms) and go undetected. However, symptoms can occur.
If your symptoms worsen, speak to your doctor.
Haemorrhoids may not be painful if they develop above the pectinate line. This is due to fewer nerves being present further inside the bowel.
If it is the first time you are experiencing Haemorrhoids, it is recommended to speak to your doctor. In many cases, your doctor will be able to make a diagnosis based on the visible symptoms. In other cases, your doctor may require an internal examination to make a diagnosis.
Diagnosis may require a proctoscope. A proctoscope is a small camera affixed to a thin tube which is inserted into the rectum in order for the doctor to examine the anal canal further.
Following a diagnosis, you may be able to self-treat your condition.
In cases where the piles have developed above the pectinate line, surgery may be required.
Depending on the severity of the case, a number of treatments may be offered.
For many, creams, ointments, and suppositories can be used to treat the condition.
More serious haemorrhoids may be treated with banding. This procedure involves cutting off the blood supply to the haemorrhoid using an elastic band. The band is tightened around the base of the haemorrhoid until the cells die and the haemorrhoid falls off.
A surgical procedure called a haemorrhoidectomy may be carried out under general anaesthetic.
Speak to your GP to determine the best treatment for you.
There are a few simple ways you can prevent haemorrhoids. Making sure you eat a healthy and balanced diet, exercise regularly and stay hydrated can all contribute in the prevention of piles.
Ensuring you are getting enough fibrous food in your diet can reduce your chances of becoming constipated. Plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, wholegrain bread and cereal, wholewheat, oats and beans are rich in fibre and help to maintain a healthy colon.
Lowering your intake of caffeine and alcohol and ensuring you are consuming enough water will keep your bowels working as they should.
Delaying the need to defecate can result in constipation which, in turn, can cause piles. Going to the toilet when you need to keep your digestive system moving.
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