Haemorrhoids (also known as Piles) are swellings that develop inside and around the anus and lower rectum. There is a network of blood vessels that sometimes become wider and swell. This can cause bleeding and sometimes pain.

  • Symptoms of Haemorrhoids can vary
  • Creams and ointments available to help relieve swelling and discomfort

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DescriptionCausesTypes of treatmentQuestions and answers

Haemorrhoids are commonly referred to as piles. They are veins (blood vessels) within your anus and lower rectum which become swollen. It is a very common condition and is estimated that approximately half of all adults will have experienced the symptoms of haemorrhoids once they’ve reached the age of 50.

There are two different types of haemorrhoids: internal haemorrhoid which grows in the anus, and external haemorrhoid which grows under the skin on the outside of the anus. Occasionally, someone can develop a haemorrhoid and will experience absolutely no symptoms, while others can experience great discomfort.

Typical symptoms include:

  • Faecal incontinence
  • Swelling around the anus
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Irritation/pain around the anus
  • Strong itching sensation around the anus
  • Noticing blood on your toilet roll subsequent to a bowel movement

Although symptoms can often be unpleasant and painful, they won’t ever be life-threatening or seriously damaging to your health. However, if you are experiencing anal bleeding there is the possibility that is an indication of a much more serious condition, such as bowel cancer. They also fade on their own without the need to seek treatment. In the majority of cases, this won’t be true and the bleeding will be harmless. However, a diagnosis from your doctor would take the risk of this away.

Haemorrhoids are also graded by their size and severity.

Grade 1: These are common types. They are small swellings on the inside of the back passage. They cannot be seen or felt from outside the anus. If conditions worsen, they reach grade 2.

Grade 2: They are larger than grade 1 piles. They are partly pushed out of the anus when you visit the toilet. However, they go back inside quickly.

Grade 3: These are piles which you can feel as small, soft lumps hanging out of the anus. However, you can push them inside.

Grade 4: These are piles hanging out of the anus which you cannot push back inside the back passage. These can be irritating and painful causing itchiness.

The veins which surround your anus tend to stretch when under pressure and can sometimes swell up. Haemorrhoids can develop when there is a substantial amount of pressure within the lower rectum. Experts aren’t sure as to what is it that causes this condition to initially occur, but possible factors can include:

  • Obesity – Being overweight can increase your chances of developing Haemorrhoids.
  • Pregnancy – Haemorrhoids are common during pregnancy. Pressure effects of the baby lying above the anus could be the reason. Hormonal changes also contribute to the formation of piles. However, after childbirth, the symptoms usually disappear.
  • Diarrhoea or Constipation – This increases the pressure in and around the anus which can be a common reason for piles to develop.
  • A family history of haemorrhoids – Hereditary factor can also contribute to the formation of piles. Some people inherit the weakness of the wall of the veins in the anus.
  • Straining during bowel movements – This creates pressure in and around the anus.
  • Sitting down for a prolonged period of time, especially on the toilet – This creates pressure in and around the anus and could be a cause of piles.

It is very rare for this condition to appear in those of younger age; haemorrhoids are far more likely to develop as grow older as the tissues which support the veins within the anus and rectum will grow weaker and are more prone to stretch.

The treatment process for haemorrhoids is one that can often be undertaken at home using simple home remedies, or at a doctor’s office but using the same techniques. Common symptoms such as mild discomfort, swelling, and inflammation of haemorrhoids can often be treated with such home treatments. In a lot of cases, this will be the only form of treatment that is required, such methods include:

Quick Pain Relief: To help minimise any pain that may be felt, you should soak your anal region in warm water for at least 10-15 minutes every day. If you suffer from external haemorrhoids, you could try sitting on a warm hot water bottle which can prove effective depending on the severity of your condition.

Consuming More Fibre: You should try to eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grain products as doing so can help soften the texture of your excrement, which will help you avoid any straining issues, which could aggravate the condition further. You can also use over-the-counter fibre supplements to achieve the same goal.

Avoid Using Dry Toilet Paper: Subsequent to using the toilet, you should refrain from the use of dry toilet paper as it can irritate your anal area. Ensure that you are only using wet toilet paper or wipes but it’s best to avoid those that have either alcohol or perfume on them.

Oral Pain Relievers: Common pain relievers such as acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen, will be to temporarily ease any soreness you may be experiencing.

However, for more severe cases of piles, you may require the use of more advanced topical treatments that will be able to ease the discomfort you feel. We personally one stock two forms of such treatments which have a high effectivity rate and we stand behind. This treatment is Anusol-HC; which comes available in the form of either an ointment or a suppository. It is a corticosteroid type medicine which specifically treats inflamed haemorrhoids.

If you are looking for some expert help, book an ONLINE consultation with our GMC Registered Clinicians at alldayDr.com.

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What causes haemorrhoids?

Many factors are thought to contribute to the initial onset of haemorrhoids, the most common being pregnancy, being overweight, and diarrhoea. Other potential cause can be a lack of fire in your diet, straining when trying to pass a bowel movement, constipation, sitting down for a prolonged amount of time (typically on the toilet), your age, and specific medical conditions.

On average, how long do haemorrhoids last?

Typically, a person suffering from this condition can expect to be affected for a minimum of 2 weeks. This depends entirely on the severity of your condition and also the type of haemorrhoid it is that you have. The speed in which the condition heals also depends on the type you have; both internal and external haemorrhoid take approximately 7 days to heal. If you have thrombosed or prolapsed haemorrhoids, you could find yourself waiting for around 2-3 months before the condition passes.

What is thrombosis?

Put simply, thrombosis is the medical term used to describe a blood clot. When a blood clot forms in a haemorrhoid, a blue/purple lump can appear which will be prone to bleeding and causing irritation. The clot will eventually dissolve and heal up but may leave behind tissue that can cause further complications (though typically very minimal if so).

Do men and women suffer from haemorrhoids at equal rates?

Yes. Haemorrhoids can occur in both men and women and do so at the same rate. Between the ages of 45-65 is when a person will be most susceptible to developing this condition. Although haemorrhoids are rather common, it’s predicted that only 4% of those affected will have significant problems due to their haemorrhoids.

If you are looking for some expert help, book an ONLINE consultation with our GMC Registered Clinicians at alldayDr.com.

Patient discretion and confidentiality top the priority list at alldayDr.com!