- What are piles
Each of us have
veins around the anus that tend to stretch under
pressure. An increased pressure within the abdomen
(due to repeated straining at stool, pressure of fetus
during pregnancy, obesity etc.) may cause the blood to
stagnate and collect in the rectal veins causing them
to swell and bulge out of the anal opening. These
swollen veins are called as piles or hemorrhoids.
- What is the
difference between internal and external piles
Piles (hemorrhoids) are of two types: internal and external.
Internal piles (hemorrhoids) are those, which develop inside the
anus. They are usually painless but sometimes may
cause a vague discomfort. Slight bleeding may be seen
especially if the stools are hard. These piles
(hemorrhoids) have a
tendency to bulge out of the anal opening when they
appear like a bunch of grapes, which is painful.
External piles develop at the margins of the anal
opening and are painful as the skin around them is
sensitive. These may rupture and bleed especially due
to repeated friction. When the external piles
(hemorrhoids) become thrombosed (presence of blood clot) it may be felt as
a small, painful lump around the anal opening.
- How are piles
Piles (hemorrhoids) are usually caused due to increased pressure
in the abdomen. The factors that trigger this
- Repeated straining
for stool especially in a person who is suffering
from long standing constipation.
- Pressure of the
fetus in pregnant women
- Any work that
requires prolonged standing (for example traffic
police, waiters etc.) or lifting heavy things like
furniture mover etc.
- Liver problem like
- Are piles
Yes, the problem of piles tends to run in families.
Therefore if anyone in your family is suffering from
piles (hemorrhoids) it is better to take care about
your lifestyle and diet. Sedentary lifestyle and low
fiber diet tend to further aggravate (make worse) the
- Is there a link
between constipation and piles?
Yes, long standing constipation can make a person
prone to develop piles or make it worse if it is
already present. Therefore, if you are suffering from
chronic constipation consult your doctor for
treatment. In other words preventing constipation is a
good way to prevent piles(hemorrhoids).
- When should I meet
It is advisable to call your doctor if you
- persistent or heavy
rectal bleeding (bleeding from anus)
- painful or itching
piles (hemorrhoids) especially if it interferes with
your job performance.
- abdominal pain.
- a change in the
normal bowel habit lasting more than two weeks.
- rectal bleeding
beginning for the first time at the age of 45.
- How can I prevent
the flare-ups of piles?
You can easily prevent the flare-ups by preventing
constipation. By bringing about a few
modifications in your diet and lifestyle you can make
a regular pattern for bowel movements and avoid
straining at stool, which usually leads to piles
- Add more fiber (like
beans, bran, broccoli, salads, fruits etc.) to your
- Drink plenty of
liquids (8-10 glasses at least)
- Have a regular
exercise schedule (maybe brisk walking for 20
minutes). Lose weight if you are obese.
- Train yourself for a
regular bowel movement
- Never ignore an urge
for bowel movement
- Keep the anal area
clean. Always wash the area after every motion with
a very soft or moist toilet paper. Dry the anal
opening with a soft towel.
- Are piles
Piles (hemorrhoids) are not curable but can be easily controlled
by bringing a few changes in your diet and lifestyle.
If you have painful and bleeding piles (hemorrhoids)
it is best to consult your doctor as you may require
some medication also. In pregnant women, hemorrhoids
(occurring just because of pregnancy) are often a
temporary problem that usually disappears totally,
- How commonly does
Piles (hemorrhoids) are common in both men and women.
By the age of 50 half of the people develop
hemorrhoids to some extent. Although bleeding may
occur in some cases, it does not cause any serious
problem. But a person suffering from long standing
bleeding piles (hemorrhoids) can have anemia. Women
usually tend to develop piles (hemorrhoids) during
pregnancy because of the pressure of the fetus and
hormonal changes, but it is usually a temporary
problem and disappears after childbirth.
- What other methods
can be employed to get relief from symptoms?
Following methods are usually recommended for piles
(hemorrhoids) but they should be done only after consulting your
- Application of cream
or suppositories (bullet-shaped tablets to be
inserted into the anus), soothes itching and pain,
and diminishes the swelling and bleeding.
- Cold compresses
around the anal region, even ice can be helpful.
- Little rubber bands
can be tied around the hemorrhoids, which might
cause them to shrivel and whither away.
- If hemorrhoids
prolapse (appear as lumps around the back passage)
then sitting in a warm bath with some salt in it may
help, as the salt helps to draw water out of the
painful area, whereas an ordinary bath can actually
increase the swelling.