Hemorrhoids are swollen veins near the anus and lower part of a person’s rectum. Swollen hemorrhoids are also called Piles. They can be internal (inside the anus) or external (protrude outside the anus). The walls of the blood vessels become very thin due to the swelling and they get irritated when the person poops. Rectal bleeding is most often caused by Piles (Hemorrhoids). In some cases, they heal on their own and in most cases, you may have to see a urologist or urogynecologist. Though they are not dangerous, you must make sure that you see a doctor so that you can be assured that you don’t have any other serious medical conditions.
Internal hemorrhoids are present inside the anus. Most of the times you can’t see or feel them. The pain caused by internal piles is very little as there are very few pain sensing nerves inside the rectum.
Symptoms of Internal Hemorrhoids:
- Blood in stool/poop, or on toilet paper (if you wipe) or in the toilet bowl.
- Tissues that protrude outside the anal opening (like prolapse). In this case, they are visible. They are little pinkish in colour compared to the surrounding area. Usually they go back into the anus or else, you can gently push them inside.
These external piles are seen around the anus (outside). They are more painful because, the pain sensing nerves are more compared to the inside of the rectum.
Symptoms of external hemorrhoids:
If the blood clots in the hemorrhoids, they turn purple or blue in colour. This condition is called Thrombosis. This can hurt, cause itching or bleed. Typically these clots dissolve automatically but the skin that’s left over after the clot is dissolved feels a little irritating.
What causes Piles / Hemorrhoids?
Foremost cause of Piles is Heredity. If your parents had them, most likely you may inherit it. As mentioned, piles are caused due to the swelling of veins and this is caused due to the pressure building up in the lower rectum. So, what causes the building of pressure in the lower rectum?
- Excessive pushing during bowel movements. (Can be due to constipation)
- Improper way of lifting weights – putting pressure on your pelvis than your legs.
- Being overweight or obese.
- Pregnancy – In some women, the growing uterus puts pressure on the veins.
- If your diet is low in fiber
- Anal sex.
- If you sit or stand for long hours at work – this can also lead to piles.
Treatment of Piles:
Symptoms of Piles or Hemorrhoids usually go away on their own. However, if you see blood in your stool, please present yourself to a good urologist.
Non Surgical Treatment – After carefully examining the area, your doctor may prescribe creams and other medications to relieve pain, swelling and itching. If you are not able to get any relief, you must see your doctor again.
Surgical Treatment – Surgery may be needed, if the piles are large or if other non surgical treatment doesn’t help. Different types of surgeries for treating piles include Banding, Sclerotherapy, Coagulation therapy, Hemorrhoidal artery litigation. If the piles are very large and keep reoccurring, your doctor may use a scalpel or laser to remove them.