Piles (Haemorrhoids)

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Haemorrhoids are when blood vessels become swollen and form lumps in and around the anus. This condition occurs when the blood vessel walls are strained or irritated, particularly when passing stool.  

Symptoms of haemorrhoids usually resolve on their own after a few days. However, the recovery process must be supported by other treatments.

Haemorrhoids are commonly known as the cause of rectal bleeding. Generally, haemorrhoids are not a dangerous condition. However, you are recommended to see a doctor to ensure that the haemorrhoid symptoms experienced are not caused by other medical conditions.

There are two types of haemorrhoids, namely:

  • Internal haemorrhoids, haemorrhoids that tend to be difficult to see or feel. The symptoms of internal haemorrhoids rarely cause any discomfort
  • External haemorrhoids, haemorrhoids under the skin around the anus. You might feel pain from this type of haemorrhoids

Causes of Piles (Haemorrhoids)

A person may develop haemorrhoids if there are family members who have also experienced symptoms of haemorrhoids. Symptoms of haemorrhoids arise due to swollen blood vessels.

The swelling of blood vessels can occur due to pressure buildup, which affects your blood flow. Haemorrhoids can develop from increased pressure in your lower rectum due to: 

  • Low-fiber diet.
  • Anal intercourse
  • Heavy-lifting activities, such as when doing sports.
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Straining during strenuous physical activity.

Haemorrhoids can also occur when you stand or sit for long periods of time. There are also other specific factors that can cause haemorrhoids, namely:

  • Being pregnant.
  • Having constipation.
  • Being overweight or obese.

When to See a Doctor for Piles (Haemorrhoids)?

Symptoms of haemorrhoids generally resolve on their own after a few days. You can consult a gastroenterologist or colorectal surgeon to discuss your haemorrhoids symptoms.

Your doctor will first ask about your medical history. There are also tests your doctor will conduct to check for symptoms of haemorrhoids, such as:

  • Physical examination, performed by a doctor by physically checking for lumps, swelling, or irritation in the anal region
  • Digital Rectal Exam, performed by the doctor using gloves, lubricating the hand, then inserting the finger into the rectum to check the inner muscles of the anus and to also check for pain, lumps, or other problems

After these two tests, the doctor will make a diagnosis through further tests, such as: 

  • Anoscopy, a test with a short plastic tube to look inside the anal canal.
  • Sigmoidoscopy, a test to observe the lower part of the large intestine in a flexible lighted tube. This tube is also used to remove some tissue tissue samples for further testing.
  • Colonoscopy, a test to observe the large intestine with a long, flexible tube. Similar to sigmoidoscopy, this tube can also be used to take tissue samples.

Symptoms of Piles (Haemorrhoids)

Generally, people with haemorrhoids may experience: 

  • Anal itching
  • Pain in the anus.
  • Lumps around the anus.
  • Bleeding after bowel movement.
  • Constant urge to have bowel movement
  • Mucus discharge on underwear or tissues used to wipe the anus.

The symptoms of internal and external haemorrhoids have several differences. Internal haemorrhoids sufferers will feel blood being discharged after passing stool. Additionally, it may also cause a haemorrhoid to push through the anal opening (protruding haemorrhoids)

You might notice slightly brighter pink haemorrhoids than the surrounding skin. In some cases, it is possible to push these pink haemorrhoids back inside. 

Meanwhile, external haemorrhoids have specific symptoms such as: 

  • Pain.
  • Itching
  • Bleeding.
  • Swelling.

Blood clots can cause the haemorrhoids to turn purple or blue. This condition is called thrombosed haemorrhoids. Whether internal or external, it can become thrombosed haemorrhoids. This condition can cause severe pain and inflammation.

Treatment for Piles (Haemorrhoids)

Usually, the symptoms of haemorrhoids go away on their own after a few days. The doctor will provide treatment depending on the condition, type, and severity of the symptoms. 

In addition to home treatment for haemorrhoids, there are two treatment methods that your doctor may recommend, namely surgical treatment and non-surgical treatment.

Non-surgical treatment will be carried out without anaesthesia. You will not be required to be hospitalized. The treatments recommended include: 

  • Rubber band ligation, a rubber band that is placed around the swollen blood vessel to stop bleeding.
  • Sclerotherapy, the injection of fluid into the swollen vein to shrink it.
  • Electrotherapy, a treatment to reduce swelling by applying a gentle electric current to the swollen blood vessels.
  • Infrared coagulation, a treatment cutting off the blood supply to the swollen part of the blood vessels using infrared light.

Meanwhile, you will be given anesthetic during a surgical treatment procedure. After the surgery, you may be requested to undergo inpatient care for several days. Surgery options to treat haemorrhoids include:

  • Hemorrhoidectomy, surgical procedure to remove haemorrhoids by cutting them.
  • Hemorrhoidopexy, a procedure where a pile of haemorrhoids is pinched back into the anus.
  • Haemorrhoidal artery ligation, a procedure involves cutting off the blood supply to the pile of swollen veins by placing sutures.

Treatment Cost for Piles (Haemorrhoids)

The cost for Piles (Haemorrhoids) treatment varies, depending on the patient’s type of haemorrhoids and the symptoms experienced.

For more information regarding the estimated costs of Haemorrhoids treatment, contact Smarter Health.

Prevention of Piles (Haemorrhoids)

To prevent haemorrhoids, you need to identify the causative factors first. Broadly speaking, symptoms of haemorrhoids can be avoided by:

  • Eat food rich in fibre to digest your food easier. Fibre can be found in vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts.
  • Consume lots of water to avoid constipation which can trigger haemorrhoids. With plenty of water consumption, it will soften the stool, which will help you avoid the straining that can worsen symptoms from existing haemorrhoids.
  • Perform light, regular exercise, such as jogging, running, or walking to improve blood circulation in the body. Heavy-lifting can potentially cause haemorrhoids. 
  • Maintain proportional body weight

Home Remedies for Patients Diagnosed with Piles (Haemorrhoids)

Haemorrhoids are generally harmless and do not require complex treatment. You can treat haemorrhoids at home by consuming medicines that you can get from pharmacies, such as:

  • Medicines to relieve constipation.
  • Cold compress to relieve discomfort.
  • Cream to relieve pain and itching.

Furthermore, a healthy lifestyle can be a relief for symptoms of haemorrhoids. It is recommended that you consume more foods rich in fibre, avoid straining during bowel movement, and drink more water. Stay consistent and the symptoms will be relieved within 2-7 days.

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