What are Haemorrhoids- Facts on Piles

Know what are Haemorrhoids or Piles and how to treat hemorrhoids based on their causes, signs & symptoms. What are the treatments for hemorrhoids.

what-are-hemorrhoidsHaemorrhoids commonly known as Piles are the swollen veins that occur at the lining of the anus and lower rectum from where stool is passed. This causes bleeding and sometimes pain which can be mild and temporary to persistently painful. There are two types of haemorrhoids- internal and external . The internal haemorrhoids occur inside the anus and the external haemorrhoid occurs outside the anus. Internal haemorrhoids are more common and develop 2-4cm above the opening of the anus. External haemorrhoids, also called perianal haematoma are less common. They develop on the outer edge of the anus.

What are Haemorrhoids?

The network of small veins or blood vessels that lies within the inner lining of the anus and lower rectum, sometimes get wider and swollen with more inflow of blood than it usually does. These swollen veins and the tissues over them might form lump type small swellings which are known as haemorrhoids.

What are the Causes of Haemorrhoids Piles?

Most often pressure put in and around the anus region causes piles. This pressure can be the result of the following situations.

Constipation

Constipation requires putting stress on the anus region due to hardened faeces.

Bowel disorders

It can lead to frequent motions and exert pressure on the tissues leading to bleeding.

Pregnancy

The baby can put pressure above the anus and rectum. Hormonal changes too can lead to piles during pregnancy.

Aging

It can also cause haemorrhoids because tissues within the lining of the anus might lose strength and give lesser support as a person gets older.

Prolonged periods of sitting

Even doing strenuous work can cause haemorrhoids

Obesity

Particularly fat around abdominal area may put pressure on the organs lying within the pelvic region which leads to swelling of veins of rectum and anus.

General weakness

Especially a weak liver cannot support the tissues and cause haemorrhoids.

Hereditary factors

When a person might inherit weakness of the wall of the veins within the anal region.

What are the Symptoms of Haemorrhoids?

The most common sign of internal hemorrhoids include fresh red blood which covers the stool. It is often painless process. Itchiness or irritation and lump like structures coming out of the rectum are also a major symptom of haemorrhoids. External haemorrhoid is more painful and is accompanied with hard lump around the anus.

  • Bright red blood covering the stool.
  • Mucous discharge, itching, irritation and/or pain in anal region.
  • Swellings or hard lump around the anus.
  • A feeling of fullness/ heaviness in the anus and as if rectum hasn’t got emptied even after going to toilet.
  • Sometimes a swollen vein might stick out through the anal opening.
  • A rare symptom is the hanging down of a blood clot that might have formed within the haemorrhoid.

What are the Grades of Haemorrhoids?

The haemorrhoids are classified into grades that represent their sizes and severity. Their sizes range from 2-4 cms. There are four grades of haemorrhoids.

what-are-hemorrhoids

Grades of Haemorrhoids

Grade 1

These are smaller swellings occurring inside the lining of the back passage. These are the most common types of haemorrhoids that can’t be seen from the outside.

Grade 2

These are comparatively larger haemorrhoids and can be partly pushed out from the anus when passing stool but they spring back inside once the process ends.

Grade 3

These haemorrhoids hang out from the anus and can be felt when touched. There can be one or small, s multiple soft lumps hanging from the anus. They can pushed back inside the anus.

Grade 4

These are large haemorrhoids and hang down from the anus but they are permanent and can’t be pushed inside.

What are the Treatments for Haemorrhoids?

The mild internal piles (grade 1 haemorrhoids) often do not need any treatment or can be treated with simple precautions and home treatments like avoiding constipation through fiber rich diet, drinking a lots water and other healthy fluids (not soft drinks), having fiber supplements like isabgol, avoiding pain killers that cause constipation and by going to toilet when the urge is felt. Delays can lead to formation of harder stool leading to constipation. Relief from itching and discomfort can be sought from ointments and suppositories that are available as over the counter drugs not requiring prescription. The crux is that one has to avoid putting pressure on the pelvic region, especially due to constipation, in whatsoever manner it can be done.

Diet and Home Remedies for Constipation

The more serious haemorrhoids, however, do need treatments and there are lots of options for this.

Rubber Band Ligation

Also called banding, has become a common treatment, especially for grade 2 and 3 haemorrhoids. A surgeon places a special elastic band at the base of the haemorrhoid which stops the blood supply to the haemorrhoid. The haemorrhoid then drops off after a few days. This is usually a painless procedure as the base of the haemorrhoid lies in end part of gut lining which is not sensitive. Haemorrhoids do not recur after banding in most of the cases where the patient of piles take precautions against constipation and doesn’t puts strain on the region..

Injection Sclerotherapy

Injection sclerotherapy is adopted to treat internal hemorrhoids that are smaller. In this surgery, a chemical is injected where the hemorrhoid is situated. This stops the blood supply into the hemorrhoid leading to its elimination.

Heat and Cold Treatments for Haemorrhoids

These are very rarely used treatment options for piles. Some of the treatments that use heating methods include infrared coagulation, photocoagulation, diathermy and electrotherapy. Sometimes cold therapy is also used where haemorrhoid is frozen with ice packs or liquid nitrogen.

Haemorrhoidectomy

This is a haemorrhoid surgery carried out in the conventional method. Mostly used for treating grade 4 haemorrhoids, the surgeon cuts it off during an operation done under general anesthetic.

Stapled Haemorrhoidectomy

This is also a surgery but here a circular stapling gun is used to cut off a circular section of the lining of the anal canal lying above the haemorrhoid. This pulls the haemorrhoids back to the up side of the anal canal. It also reduces the blood supply to the haemorrhoids leading to its shrinkage.

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