- Author Helena Potter
- Published June 28, 2012
- Word count 573
Piles, also known as hemorrhoids, are inflamed and swollen blood vessels situated in a person’s anus. They most commonly appear in areas called anal cushions. Excessive straining while having a bowel movement is what causes the blood vessels to swell. Although piles can occur in individuals of all ages, they are most commonly experienced by people aged over 65 years of age. People who are above their average weight are more likely to suffer from piles and they are quite common during pregnancy.
There are several piles symptoms including, bleeding from the anal canal, slimy discharge, itchy skin around the anus and discomfort or pain after having a bowel movement. If you are suffering from any of these symptoms it is important you make an appointment to see your physician. While piles affect as many as three in four people, piles symptoms can also be an indication of other more serious conditions.
Medical professionals are not exactly clear about why individuals develop piles. However, as well as increased pressure in a person’s anal blood vessels, there are a number of other possible causes of piles. Individuals who do not eat enough fiber in their diet are likely to suffer from constipation. Because this increases the likelihood of straining during having a bowel movement, a low-fiber diet is considered a likely cause of piles. Lifting heavy objects is also linked to causing piles. Individuals who work in a job that requires heavy lifting are more prone to piles due to the pressure exerted on blood vessels during lifting. Pregnant women often suffer from piles symptoms due to the rapid weight gain associated with pregnancy. If your physician diagnoses piles, he will be able to assess your diet and lifestyle and inform you what the likely cause of your piles is.
Piles are extremely uncomfortable and severe cases can cause individual serious problems. This is why it is important for an individual to visit a physician for a proper diagnosis. As well as discussing your symptoms, your physician will carry out an internal examination, so he can assess the piles for himself. The examination usually involves the physician gently placing a gloved finger into the opening of the anus. However, it is just as likely the physician will use a proctoscope – a narrow telescopic camera – to ensure he has a clear picture of the piles and the surrounding area. If you are experiencing severe piles symptoms, your physician may refer you to your local hospital for a colonoscopy test. This will give a clearer picture of the piles, as well as rule out any other potential conditions.
Lifestyle and diet changes can help relieve the uncomfortable symptoms associated with piles. For example, a high fiber diet will ensure your stools are easy to pass and reduce cases of straining. Taking a warm bath on a regular basis will relieve itchiness. There is a range of different medications – most commonly a lotion or gels – to help get rid of piles. Depending on how bad the case of piles is, most medication takes around six weeks to work. If these medications do not work and your piles remain a problem, your physician may recommend a non-surgical treatment called banding. This involves placing a small elastic band tightly around the base of the piles. This cuts off the supply of blood to the piles, which encourages them to die and eventually drop off.