Piles, also known as haemorrhoids, are very common but are often ignored until they worsen. Piles are swellings that develop inside and around the anal canal.
How are piles developed?
Piles are swollen blood vessels. These blood vessels are small veins within the lining of the anal canal. These veins can become wider and engorged with more blood than usual due to the location that they are in. The swollen veins and the overlying tissue may then form into one or more swellings which then develop into more swellings (piles).
What are the symptoms of piles?
Sometimes, individuals may not experience any symptoms, however, if the Piles are to worse, the symptoms can include:
- An itchy anus
- Bright red blood on tissue after you poo
- The feeling of needing to poo after going to the toilet
- Mucus on tissue after wiping / mucus in underwear
- Lumps / bumps around your anus
- Pain around your anus
What do piles feel like?
As there are two different types of piles; internal and external, each individual may experience different types. Internal piles are usually painless as there are no pain-sensitive nerve fibres where they are. However, external piles can be extremely itchy or painful. If piles are larger in size, this may cause mucus which can lead to irritation of the skin.
How long can piles last?
There is no set time for how long piles can last. Flare-ups can get better on their own after a few days, whilst larger piles can take longer to heal and may require medical attention.
What causes piles?
There are certain lifestyle choices which can increase the symptoms of piles such as:
- A low fibre diet
- Being overweight
How to treat piles
There are lifestyle changes you can do to alleviate symptoms of piles, or to avoid getting them again. These include:
- Eating plenty of fibre: This helps to keep stools soft and avoids the chance of straining on the toilet. Fibrous foods such as fruits, vegetables and cereals are great for this.
- Drinking a lot of water: This helps soften stools. Try to avoid too many caffeinated drinks or sugary drinks as this can cause digestion problems.
- Taking fibre supplements: Take fibre supplements to help if a high-fibre diet is not working.
- Avoid taking painkillers which contain codeine: This is because codeine can cause constipation.
- Using the toilet when it’s needed: Make sure to not hold in going to the toilet, but also do not force / strain when going to the toilet.
- Exercise regularly: Exercising regularly can reduce the chance of constipation.
If lifestyle changes do not alleviate the symptoms of piles, or if they are not going away themselves, it may be time to seek professional help. Medical professionals like Mr Andrew Clarke are experts in piles treatment. With many years of experience, he’ll be able to answer queries or concerns that you might have about piles.