Haemorrhoids (piles)

Haemorrhoids (piles)

Overview

Haemorrhoids(piles) is a condition similar to varicose veins, where the veins in the anus or rectal area are swollen and cause pain. If the swollen veins are found towards the edge of the anus it is called external haemorrhoids, if found in the inside of the rectum they are internal haemorrhoids, and in some cases, the swollen veins project out of the anus and are called as prolapsed haemorrhoids.

Signs and symptoms

Depending upon the types of haemorrhoids, the symptoms may vary from swelling in the anus, bleeding, irritation in the anal region to slight blood in stools. In case there are clots formed it could cause pain and inflammation.

Causes and risk factors

When the pressure on the rectal area increases due to strained bowel movements like constipation or diarrhoea, sitting for long hours in the toilet, pregnancy, being overweight, standing for long hours etc., it can cause haemorrhoids. There is a risk of developing haemorrhoids with age is high as the muscles in the rectal and anal regions become weaker.

Complications

Haemorrhoids cause complications like formation of blood clots, painful strangulated haemorrhoids or chronic blood loss.

Diagnosis

Haemorrhoids are usually diagnosed in different ways. External haemorrhoids are visible but for internal haemorrhoids, an examination of the anus is done wherein the doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectal area to identify any growths. Other methods include examining the lower rectum and colon using a sigmoidoscope, an anoscope or a proctoscope; a colonoscopy is also performed in some cases.

Surgery

In case of mildly uncomfortable haemorrhoids oral medication and creams would be advised. For blood clots in external haemorrhoids, minimally invasive methods are used to remove the haemorrhage like rubber band ligation where bands are placed on the haemorrhage, sclerotherapy where chemical injections are given to shrink the haemorrhage or the coagulative method that uses a laser or infrared radiations to shrink and harden the haemorrhage. Hemorrhoidectomy is the surgery performed to remove bleeding tissues.

Prevention

Haemorrhoids can be prevented by maintaining a regular bowel movement for which one needs to ensure a daily intake of plenty of fresh fruits, fibre rich foods, lots of water and including more physical activity in the daily routine. Physical strain while using the toilet should be avoided as it creates more stress on the veins in the anal region

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