Dr. Raju S R H

Proctologist and general Surgeon

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Piles(Hemorrhoids) – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment.

What Are Piles?

Hemorrhoids, or piles, are larger vessels of blood that are found in the abdomen, or anus. They can cause discomfort and pain, making everyday activities difficult. This common condition affects both men and women, and while it can occur at any age, it commonly affects individuals between the ages of 45 and 65.

What Causes Piles or Hemorrhoids?

Piles can occur due to various factors, including:

  • Chronic constipation: Straining during bowel movements can put excessive pressure on the rectal veins, leading to the development of hemorrhoids.
  • Diarrhea: Frequent loose stools can irritate the anus and cause inflammation.
  • Obesity: Being overweight puts added pressure on the rectal area, increasing the risk of developing hemorrhoids.
  • Pregnancy: The pressure exerted on the pelvic area during pregnancy can result in the expansion of blood vessels, leading to hemorrhoids.
  • Sedentary lifestyle: Prolonged sitting or standing can contribute to the development of hemorrhoids.

Piles Symptoms

Identifying the symptoms of hemorrhoids is crucial for timely diagnosis and treatment. Common symptoms include:

  • Rectal pain or discomfort
  • Itching or irritation in the anal region
  • Bleeding during bowel movements
  • Swelling or a lump near the anus
  • Leakage of feces
  • Soreness or redness around the anus

Risk Factors of Hemorrhoids

Certain factors can increase an individual’s susceptibility to developing hemorrhoids. These include:

  • Age: As mentioned earlier, individuals between the ages of 45 and 65 are more prone to developing hemorrhoids.
  • Genetics: Some people may have an inherited predisposition to weak rectal veins, making them more susceptible to hemorrhoids.
  • Poor dietary habits: A diet low in fiber can lead to constipation, which in turn increases the risk of hemorrhoids.
  • Excessive weightlifting: Engaging in heavy weightlifting can strain the rectal area and contribute to hemorrhoidal issues.
  • Chronic diseases: Conditions like liver disease or inflammatory bowel disease can lead to the development of hemorrhoids.

Diagnosis of Piles

To diagnose hemorrhoids, healthcare professionals may perform the following:

  • Physical examination: Doctors will examine the anus and rectum to determine the presence of hemorrhoids.
  • Digital rectal examination: A gloved, lubricated finger is inserted into the rectum to check for abnormalities.
  • Visual inspection: A proctoscope or anoscope may be used to visually inspect the rectum and lower part of the colon.

Do’s and Don’ts for Piles Treatment

To assist individuals in managing and preventing piles, here are some important do’s and don’ts to consider:

Do’s
  • Maintain a high-fiber diet: Consuming foods rich in fiber promotes regular bowel movements, preventing the risk of constipation and the subsequent development of hemorrhoids.
  • Stay hydrated: Adequate fluid intake ensures smooth bowel movements and soft stool consistency, reducing the strain on blood vessels.
  • Engage in physical activity: Regular exercise helps stimulate bowel movements and prevents the build-up of excessive pressure in the anal area.
  • Practice good toilet habits: Avoid straining during bowel movements and refrain from prolonged sitting on the toilet seat.
  • Maintain proper hygiene: Clean the anal area with mild, unscented soap and water after each bowel movement to prevent irritation and infection.
  • Take breaks during prolonged sitting: If your job demands long hours of sitting, take short breaks to walk and stretch, alleviating pressure on the anal region.
  • Manage body weight: Maintaining a healthy body weight helps prevent the extra strain on blood vessels and reduces the risk of hemorrhoids.
Don’ts
  • Don’t delay bowel movements: Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement can lead to constipation and increased pressure on blood vessels.
  • Avoid frequent and excessive use of laxatives: Overusing laxatives can worsen the condition by irritating the digestive system and causing loose stools.
  • Steer clear of spicy foods: Spicy foods can irritate the digestive system, potentially exacerbating symptoms of hemorrhoids.
  • Avoid sitting or standing for prolonged periods: Take regular breaks to change positions, reduce pressure on blood vessels, and improve blood circulation in the anal area.
  • Don’t scratch: Itching can worsen the irritation and swelling of hemorrhoids. Instead, opt for gentle cleaning with moist wipes or a soft cloth.

 

Non-Surgical Methods

In many cases, non-surgical treatments can effectively alleviate symptoms and shrink hemorrhoids. These methods include:

  • Dietary changes: Increasing fiber intake can soften stools, making them easier to pass and reducing strain on the veins.
  • Topical treatments: Over-the-counter creams and ointments may provide relief by reducing inflammation and itching.
  • Warm baths: Soaking in a warm bath for 10 to 15 minutes can help soothe the discomfort associated with hemorrhoids.
  • Sitz baths: This involves sitting in warm water in a specially designed basin that fits over the toilet, providing relief to the affected area.

Surgical Methods

In severe or persistent cases of hemorrhoids, surgical intervention may be necessary. Some common surgical procedures used for piles treatment include:

  • Rubber band ligation: This procedure involves wrapping a tight rubber band around the base of an internal hemorrhoid, cutting off its blood supply and causing it to wither and fall off.
  • Sclerotherapy: A chemical solution is injected into the blood vessels surrounding the hemorrhoid, causing them to shrink and eventually disappear.
  • Coagulation techniques: A special device uses infrared light, laser, or heat to create scar tissue that cuts off the blood supply to hemorrhoids, thereby reducing their size.
  • Hemorrhoidectomy: In this surgical procedure, the hemorrhoids are physically removed using various techniques, depending on the severity and location of the piles.

 

Piles Treatment Methods Available in India

In India, numerous treatment methods are available for managing hemorrhoids. Some of the commonly used are:

  • Rubber band ligation: This procedure involves placing a small rubber band around the base of the hemorrhoid, cutting off its blood supply, causing it to shrink and fall off.
  • Sclerotherapy: The hemorrhoid is injected with a chemical solution, which over time causes it to contract and ultimately fade away.
  • Infrared coagulation: A specialized device is used to apply heat to the hemorrhoid, which coagulates the blood vessels and leads to its disappearance.
  • Hemorrhoidectomy: In serious cases, hemorrhoids may need to be surgically removed.

It’s essential to consult a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable treatment option based on the severity of the symptoms and individual circumstances.

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