Haemorrhoids or piles are swollen veins that are filled with blood. Developing inside and around the anus, haemorrhoids are more likely to emerge the older you get, however the condition can be experienced at any age.
Haemorrhoids are categorised as either internal haemorrhoids (inside the anus) or external haemorrhoids (outside the anus). Initially forming inside the rectum, piles can prolapse and appear on the outside of the rectum.
Although not everybody with haemorrhoids will experience symptoms, the common symptoms of haemorrhoids include bleeding after bowel movements, itchiness, swelling, soreness and inflammation in and around the anal area. A constant need to empty your bowels may also be a sign of haemorrhoids.
Haemorrhoids are not considered dangerous, but can be painful and cause discomfort. However, in extreme cases if the haemorrhoids become severe and thus enlarge in size significantly, the risk of a blot clot may develop. In such cases your doctor may advise alternative treatments like surgery.
Although haemorrhoids have a higher chance of occurring in older people (over 50 years of age) and pregnant women (due to the pressure placed on the pelvic blood vessels), there are a number of factors that may contribute to a person’s likelihood of developing the condition. One key factor that is believed to increase the risk of piles is excessive straining, or constipation, which puts pressure on the veins in the rectum, thus making them swollen and sore. Obesity is another factor believed to increase your chances of getting piles. Lifting weighty objects may also increase your chances of the condition. If your family history shows a tendency to suffer from weak blood vessels, you may be at a greater risk of experiencing haemorrhoids.
Although it may not be completely possible to prevent yourself from getting haemorrhoids, simple lifestyle changes in your daily routine may help reduce your risk of suffering with the condition. If you are obese, following a healthy diet and including exercise into your daily routine may help to prevent the occurrence of piles. Including enough fibre into your diet to minimise the risk of constipation and straining will also help to reduce the risk of haemorrhoids.
Although haemorrhoids can go away after a few days without treatment, there are a number of haemorrhoid treatments available that can help treat the discomfort caused by the piles.
Haemorrhoid treatments like Scheriproct, Perinal, Anusol-HC, Ultraproct, Uniroid-HC, Proctofoam-HC, Anugesic-HC and Proctosedyl help to alleviate the symptoms of the condition. Betnovate is another treatment that is commonly used to treat inflammatory skin disorders, and as such can be used as an effective treatment for piles. In the form of creams, lotions, sprays, or ointments, and usually coming with detachable nozzles, all treatments are able to treat external and/or internal haemorrhoids. Some of these treatments are also available in suppository form.
Most haemorrhoid treatments should only be used for up to five to seven days at a time, as the skin around the anal area is sensitive and therefore can quickly become irritated. Likewise some of the treatments contain corticosteroid, which contains steroids, which can thin the skin around the back passage if used excessively. It is usually recommended that most haemorrhoid treatments be used for no longer than a week.
If haemorrhoids become severe then additional treatment methods may be considered. Treatments like painkillers, laxatives, infrared coagulation, banding and injections (sclerotherapy) can be prescribed if haemorrhoid treatment proves ineffective. In extreme cases, surgery may be an option.