Piles, originally known as Haemorrhoids, are a medical condition characterized by the swelling of veins in the lower rectum and the anus. The veins are twisted and swollen, restricting the conventional blood flow in the anus and rectum. Even though it is very difficult to actually ascertain the cause of Piles, the occurrence of this condition can be due to multiple reasons.
The most common causes of Piles range from straining the veins at the time of being pregnant to additional pressure being applied on the veins during a bowel movement. This condition can occur internally or on the surface of the skin, depending on the cause and effect of the reason behind the occurrence of this condition.
Piles is a very common condition and is said to affect 3 out of 4 adults multiple times during their life. Symptoms of the disease are often spotted amongst patients before they even reach the age of 50. The symptoms of Piles may be minimal or very evident, depending on the severity of the situation. In a basic situation, a patient usually feels a little discomfort. While in a more serious situation such as thrombosed Hemorrhoid, there may be the formation of blood clots which can cause excruciating pain. There are various treatments for this disease. Piles is not a very dangerous medical condition can usually be treated by making changes in the lifestyle or by easy home remedies which cause relief to the patient.
The Piles disease can be divided into 4 different classifications based on the location, symptoms, and side- effects caused by their occurrence.
This condition is the least restrictive type of Piles. The symptoms of this Piles condition arise inside the rectum and are found on the border that divides the upper part of the anal canal from the lower of the rectum. Internal Piles doesn’t cause too much discomfort to the patient as they are enclosed in an external lining called mucosa, which protects it from causing pain to the patient. This is because the mucosa is insensitive to temperature, touch, stretching or pain.
On the basis of the level of the protrusion, internal Hemorrhoids or internal Piles can be classified in 4 levels-
This type of Hemorrhoids is also known as a perianal hematoma. The side effects of this Piles condition are usually bluish in color and feel painful and lumpy and are noticeable under the skin around the outer part of the anus. This type of Hemorrhoids is similar in nature to the above described prolapsed internal Hemorrhoids. External Hemorrhoids may lead to additional skin tags at the verge of the anus, which may feel very uncomfortable to the patient. This happens due to the fact that these Haemorrhoids are covered by normal skin which causes discomfort.
The occurrence of these skin tags is caused by the clot of blood formed due to stretching of the overlying skin.
Thrombosed external Hemorrhoids occur due to the formation of a clot in various small veins which causes pain and discomfort to the patient. This type of Haemorrhoids is characterized by the presence of a painful and hard lump in the anus. The main cause of this type of Piles is the excessive stretching of the skin which covers Hemorrhoid. This causes the splitting of the vein, making it inflamed and cutting off the blood supply in it.
This is a type of Hemorrhoids which have fallen out of the anal canal. The most common symptoms of prolapsed Hemorrhoids are bleeding in the stool, toilet or on the toilet paper. Most patients of this condition experience a feeling of not being able to completely pass stools. Prolapsed Hemorrhoids can be quite painful because of the presence of nerves in them which can easily sense pain. Pain can arise in prolapsed Haemorrhoids because of the pain-sensing nerves within them. Other possible causes of pain are -
The warning signs and common symptoms of Haemorrhoids are listed below:
The various types of Haemorrhoids or Piles have specific symptoms depending on the location of their occurrence:
These Hemorrhoids usually do not carry any specific symptoms which can be noticed by the patient. Excess straining of this type of Hemorrhoids can lead to damage on the surface or minor bleeding. In case internal Hemorrhoid passes through the anal canal, it becomes a prolapsed Hemorrhoid which may be painful.
In case of application of pressure or external strain, these Hemorrhoids can bleed or cause itching and discomfort.
This type of Haemorrhoids is characterized by the formation of a blood clot in the anal region. This blood clot causes swelling, severe pain, inflammation or a hard lump near the anus.
Since there are multiple types of Piles or Hemorrhoids, they are all diagnosed differently.
External Hemorrhoids or external Piles can be identified by a physician by simply undertaking a physical exam and visual notice.
Veins have a tendency to swell up or bulge on the application of increased pressure.
People over the age of 50 are more susceptible to Hemorrhoids becomes over time, the veins in the anus and rectum that support their functioning tend to get overstretched or weak.
The most appropriate way to avoid getting Hemorrhoids is to ensure that the stool to be passed by the anus is soft so that it passes easily.
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The mild swelling, inflammation, and pain caused Hemorrhoids can be relieved or reduced by use of simple home remedies and change in food habits.
The symptoms of Haemorrhoids generally subside within a week of following the above- stated remedies.
In case all other procedures are unable to treat the disease, the doctor may recommend a surgical treatment. A few of the most commonly performed surgical treatments are mentioned below-
Although Haemorrhoids can affect anyone, there are a few things that make a person more vulnerable to contract this disease.
Complications relating to Hemorrhoids are very rare but may arise. The less commonly occurring but probable complications for patients with Hemorrhoids are-
Reality- Haemorrhoids can affect people of any age. Although it is a stated fact that people between the age group of 45 to 60 are more susceptible to this disease, it can affect a person of any age.
Reality- Hemorrhoids is caused due to excessive pressure on the veins near the anus and rectum, causing them to swell and even bleed at few instances. Eating spicy food does not have anything to do with the occurrence of this disease.
Reality- Constipation is one of the main causes behind developing Haemorrhoids. It is quintessential to include fiber and water/ other fluids in the diet in order to have a soft bowel moment. This enables a person to avoid being susceptible to constipation and thus steer clear of being affected by Hemorrhoids.
Reality- Symptoms of this disease usually subside by making a few changes in the lifestyle as well as by using home remedies. Depending on the severity of the situation, a physician often prescribes a few an over-the-counter medicines and ointments to relieve pain and help the symptoms subside. It should be noted that surgery is the least common treatment for Haemorrhoids.
Reality- There is no evidence to associate colon cancer with Haemorrhoids. Even though they have similar symptoms such as rectal bleeding, they can easily be differentiated by a physician on examination.
Reality- People may develop Haemorrhoids for a temporary duration due to a situation such as pregnancy, childbirth, constipation etc. Most available treatments of this condition are quite effective and are able to cure the problem fully. In case a person takes care of their diet and drinks a lot of fluid, they do not face this problem again.
Reality- By the time most people turn 50, they would have faced the problem of Piles at least once. In both men and women, the occurrence is common irrespective of their age and it is nothing to be embarrassed about.
Reality- Although inculcating fibrous food in the diet may help in preventing the development of Haemorrhoids; it is not the only contributing factor to its occurrence. Long sitting, especially on the toilet, is also an influential factor in the occurrence of this condition. It is also advised to have at least eight glasses of water to ensure an easy bowel movement.
Reality- There are multiple remedies available to treat both internal as well as external Haemorrhoids or external Piles.
All modes of treatment ranging from surgery to lifestyle change are effective and painless. Hemorrhoids that cause mild swelling, inflammation, and pain can easily be relieved or reduced by use of simple home remedies such as eating a high fiber diet, drinking plenty of water, taking over the counter ointments and oral medication etc.
Reality- The temperature of the surface you sit on does not affect cause Piles. A habit of sitting in one place, especially on the toilet, makes a person more susceptible to having Piles.
Ans: Various factors contribute to increasing the chances of getting Piles or Haemorrhoids. A few of these factors are chronic constipation, consuming less fiber, applying excessive pressure during a bowel movement, being overweight, having long sitting periods.
Ans: Symptoms of Piles or Haemorrhoids generally subside within two weeks of treatment. It should be noted that the general healing duration depends on the type of Hemorrhoids.
Ans: Internal Piles or Hemorrhoids are not invasive and generally do not cause any pain or discomfort. In case of external Haemorrhoids can lead to itching, cracking of the skin, rectal bleeding and discomfort. This experience can be extensively painful.
Ans: While home remedies such as coconut oil and argan oil can be used to treat Piles or Haemorrhoids, it is not advisable to use these in case of extreme conditions. Using a prescription medicine which is given by the doctor is the best solution one can opt for.
Ans: It is possible to experience relief from the situation when one makes changes to their diet. The inclusion of fiber and more fluids in the diet enables a person to have easier bowel movements and smoother defecation.
Ans: Depending on the intensity of the Haemorrhoids, moderate to heavy blood can be seen as a symptom. A doctor must be consulted immediately to ascertain the exact cause of the bleeding.
Ans: Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle often reduces the risk of having Piles. In case you are already suffering from Piles, it is advisable to stay away from rigorous weight training which has the ability to further strain the veins of the rectum, making the situation worse. However, light exercises can be done.
Ans: Internal Haemorrhoids generally have symptoms which are easy to miss as they do not cause any pain or inconvenience to the patient. Having Haemorrhoids is painful only if the excessive strain is applied to the veins of the anus and the rectum.
Ans: Cryotherapy is a medical treatment that enables the doctor to freeze the Haemorrhoids. This causes the Hemorrhoids to shrink and heal faster.
Ans: Thrombosis conventionally means clotting of blood. A thrombosed Hemorrhoids is a swollen skin tag which is caused due to clotting of blood under the skin. The bigger the size of Hemorrhoid more is the pain inflicted on the patient. It is generally treated by the doctor by rupturing the surface under local anesthesia and cleaning it thoroughly.