By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 22 September 2022 & Updated on - 04 November 2022
Symptoms: Irritation and itching in the anal region, severe pain and discomfort, anal inflammation, bleeding and pain during bowel movements, protruding haemorrhoid formation, hard lump near the anus, rectum pain after passing stool
Causes: Elevated pressure in the lower rectum, persistent constipation, straining during stool passage, chronic diarrhea, obesity, an unhealthy diet with low fibre intake
Risk Factors: Age, pregnancy, obesity, unhealthy diet, lifting heavy weights
Severity: Mild to severe (Depending on the type and position of piles)
Which doctor to consult: Gastroenterologist or General Surgeon or Proctologist or Colorectal surgeon
Piles or haemorrhoids are enlarged blood vessels inside or around the anal region, specifically the rectum. Generally, piles are of two types : internal and external. The internal condition starts inside the upper part of the anal canal. External piles, on the other hand, occur near the rear surface.
Any inflammation in the rectum vessels leads to piles. These blood vessels cover the internal rectal region. They are responsible for absorbing the shocks to the excretory organs during defecation . In addition, they enable your anus to close after the bowel movement.
The rectal blood vessels transform into piles due to the exertion of pressure on them. This development can be due to several factors, including heavy weight lifting, pregnancy, weakened anal muscles, persistent diarrhoea or constipation.
Because of the force, the internal lining of the anus gets damaged. It leads to the inflammation and bleeding in these blood vessels causing discomfort during the passage of stools.
With the development of piles, these vessels appear like small, circular, discoloured lumps. They also protrude from the anal opening in some cases. Based on the protrusion, the condition is also divided into four categories, including first, second, third and fourth degree.
Usually, the condition gets better within 2-4 weeks. However, if it persists beyond this duration, you must consult a gastroenterologist or proctologist for immediate treatment. Additionally, leaving your haemorrhoids untreated can result in rectal infection, blood loss, and severe comfort.
On Symptoms Occurrence: As soon as you observe the uncomfortable symptoms of piles, you must seek expert consultation. Observation of a lump in the anus, rectal pain or bleeding in stool must alarm you to arrange for a call with a gastroenterologist. Usually, the general medication offered by the doctor alleviates symptoms. However, your medical practitioner can refer you for surgery if pain and blood loss are extremely severe upon diagnosis.
After Home Remedies: In case, home remedies fail to offer relief from the painful and discomforting symptoms of the condition, it's time for a consultation. Although rare, haemorrhoids can result in severe medical emergencies, including anaemia and gangrene. So, opt for timely treatment to reduce the risk of extreme complications.
Regular Screening: Since piles are common in older people, scheduling routine anal-rectal checkups or screenings is important. This enables doctors to detect haemorrhoids and related conditions during the initial stage itself. You should consider routine annual screening if:
Physical Examination: It is the primary diagnostic procedure for piles. Before physical examination, the doctor will enquire about your medical history to understand the likely causes of such an occurrence. He or she might ask you questions about your dietary habits, toilet practices, laxative usage, any previous surgeries and present medical health.
After this, the doctor will analyse the appearance and structure of the haemorrhoids if it's visible. Your doctor will also include a standard examination of the rectal area for swelling, rashes or skin tags to comprehend the impact and type of piles.
Digital Examination: A visual examination provides an understanding of piles' presence, but your doctor may require further information. To confirm the haemorrhoid dysfunction, they will conduct a digital rectal inspection. The procedure involves inserting a lubricated and glove-protected finger inside the patient’s rectum.
Through this test, the doctor observes the softer portion of the rectum, which can't be felt with a physical exam.
In addition, if the doctor observes risk factors for gastrointestinal diseases, they may certainly recommend advanced tests.
Non-Surgical Options: These methods usually involve cutting off blood supply to the haemorrhoid or scarring the area. Doing this either shrinks the tissue or makes it fall off. The common treatment procedures in this are:
Surgery: If the aforementioned meaures fail to offer relief , the doctors opt for a surgical procedure to remove haemorrhoid tissue.
For entire haemorrhoid removal at the advanced stage, your medical practitioner might recommend the following:
Your doctor can also consider surgery if you're experiencing external thrombectomy in piles. Through this process, your gastroenterologist removes the painful clot of blood for relief.
The protruded growth can also develop small lumps and clotting on the surface, requiring urgent medical help.
Environmental and psychological stress is connected to your gut health. In the face of stressful situations, the body’s autonomic nervous system channels the available energy to combat the triggering situation. As a result, overall digestion is impacted, leading to bloating, constipation, heartburn and stomach pain.
On top of this, the flight or fight response can speed up and slow down digestion, forming the primary factor for piles. In addition, stress also leads to indulgence in unhealthy dietary and lifestyle habits, further aggravating the condition.
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Can you cure piles without treatment?
Mild piles can go away on their own. However, as the condition turns severe, you must seek immediate medical consultation. If left untreated for a long, piles can cause serious complications, including fatal infections like gangrene.
Are piles a serious condition?
In the early stages, piles don't cause much worry. However, after the prolapsing of the haemorrhoid, the situation aggravates, which can worsen over time. So, in order to avoid extreme discomfort and complication, you must receive treatment from an expert practitioner.
How do I know if I’m dealing with piles?
If you’re not sure about piles, here are some of the symptoms to look out for: Burning sensation and pain during bowel movements Feeling of discomfort, itching, irritation and pain in the anal-rectal region Blood spots in the toilet bowl or stool Pink, purple or blue bumps around the anal opening