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Overview of Piles:

Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are a commonly misunderstood condition that affects about half of the population at some point in their lives. Every day, thousands upon thousands of people suffer from various types of piles. It can be very painful and uncomfortable for people to live with.

Hemorrhoids are bundles of enlarged and twisted blood vessels in the rectum and anus that are swollen due to the accumulation of blood. Swollen veins in or around your rectum formed when moist tissue inside of the anus is swollen and becomes enlarged from pressure created by hard stools while passing through the anal canal. Sometimes there is a chance that the stool can become stuck in the swollen veins. Piles can be painful, uncomfortable, and embarrassing.

“Most Hemorrhoids are painless, but some people feel severe pain, itching, burning, or discomfort when they have piles symptoms. Hemorrhoids can be firm and painful, and they sometimes bleed when you move them. These can also cause pressure on nearby organs such as your stomach, leading to pain when you pass gas (a common symptom), soreness, discomfort, or itching around the anal area.”

What Causes Piles or Hemorrhoids?

Piles are most often caused by straining during bowel movements. However, it could also be due to factors such as low-fiber diets and not drinking enough fluids as well as pregnancy, obesity and constipation. Hemorrhoids can also run in families. Piles are neither contagious nor dangerous.

Diarrhea, prostate enlargement, Crohn’s disease, polyps and cancer can also cause piles. There is a higher chance of having hemorrhoids if you have been diagnosed with chronic diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome frequently. Pregnancy can worsen the symptoms as well.

causes of Piles
Causes of Piles

How to get rid of Piles?

There is no cure for hemorrhoids but it can be well managed with medications or lifestyle changes or treatments. For example, medications are prescribed to ease the irritation and discomfort of the anal area or surgery is performed to remove the offending pile(s). If left untreated, Piles may lead to complications such as rectal prolapse and bowel obstruction.

“The best way to decrease the risk of developing piles is by maintaining a diet rich in fiber and drinking plenty of water.”

Piles symptoms vary from individual to individual but include anything from swelling to bleeding: 

  1. Swelling, Itching or irritation at the anus
  2. Lumps near the anus
  3. Pain
  4. Painless Bleeding
  5. Painful bowel movements
  6. Urge to have a bowel movement even after defecation
  7. Stool Leak out
  8. Loose stools
  9. Blood in the stool
  10. Mucus discharge
  11. Rectal prolapse

1. Swelling, Itching or irritation at the anus

Itching in the rectum area can be the most unbearable feeling in the world, but itching or irritation is the most common symptom when you have piles on the outside of your rectum. The swelling of the tissue inside the anus causes veins to become inflamed and fill with blood, often giving them a purple or red coloration, while also potentially causing itching or irritation that worsens while sitting or walking due to increased pressure.

Swollen veins can be seen by looking at your anus. You may feel the veins move when you push on it. Symptoms usually go away after a few days.

2.Lumps near the anus

There are no absolute medical guidelines for when people should be worried about their rectal lumps, but there are some factors that may suggest the lump is serious. If the lump has been growing in size over time, or if it is very firm to the touch, these may be indicators of a more serious condition that require immediate medical attention.

3.Pain

Hemorrhoids cause Long-lasting pain in the lower rectum, anus, or groin. Some people also have pain in their thighs or buttocks. This pain can range from being mild to being severe, depending on the severity of the case. However, pain usually comes when you have a bowel movement because it puts pressure on the hemorrhoid.

4. Painless Bleeding

Bleeding without pain is the most common symptom of piles.  This is often the only symptom that those who have piles report. Bleeding from the anus when you urinate is also a possible condition due to piles. This usually resolves on its own, even without any treatment.

5.Painful bowel movements

Hemorrhoids can cause pain during bowel movements on rare occasions. Because there are a variety of causes for painful bowel movements, it’s best to visit a doctor to figure out what the underlying cause is.

6.Urge to have a bowel movement even after defecation

In people with hemorrhoids, stool can become stuck in the swollen veins. When this happens, the person may feel an urgent or frequent need to have a bowel movement even after the stool is passed. The feeling of incomplete emptying can lead to further straining, which may aggravate Hemorrhoids.

7.Stool Leak out

Stool leaks out when the veins in your rectum swell, preventing your anus from closing completely (or) when your rectum is scarred or stiff, preventing it from stretching enough to accommodate stool due to surgery, radiation treatment, or inflammatory bowel disease.

8.Loose stools

People with Hemorrhoids often notice that their stool has become looser than usual; it is one of the most common symptoms of hemorrhoids. 

9.Blood in the stool

A lot of people experience bleeding that is usually visible on toilet tissue, in the water in the toilet bowl, or in your stool. If you have rectal bleeding, you should see a doctor right away because it could be a sign of piles or any other serious medical problem.

10.Mucus discharge

Mucus discharge is one of the most common symptoms that are associated with inflamed hemorrhoids. This causes your underwear to feel damp and stained. The hemorrhoid discharge can cause inflammation around the anus skin, resulting in a burning sensation that becomes itchy.

11.Rectal prolapse

Rectal prolapse is not the kind of thing you want to hear about, however, it is rare and can be caused by repeated straining due to constipation, diarrhea, coughing or pregnancy. In this condition there is weakening and protrusion of the rectum and other structures in the pelvic floor through the anus. It is characterized by an anal mass or feeling of incomplete emptying following a bowel movement.

Piles Treatment Options:

  1. Medications – Pain relievers may be prescribed by your doctor to ease things like cramping and soreness. Some people find relief by taking warm baths. Pregnant women should speak with their doctor before using any over-the-counter pain medications while pregnant. Most over-the-counter medications can be bought without a prescription and should be avoided if possible while pregnant. Your doctor can help you choose safe products for your condition. Many over-the- counter medications for pain will not take away the symptoms of piles, while others may cause other problems.
  2. Cortisone injections – These are used to help reduce inflammation of the hemorrhoid tissue.
  3. Surgery – if further treatment isn’t possible or doesn’t relieve your symptoms, most doctors may recommend having surgery to help you feel better. Surgical treatment options include rubber band ligation, stapling, or surgical removal. Rubber band ligation is a non-surgical piles treatment which cuts off the blood supply to the pile causing it to shrivel up and fall away. Stapling is a way of closing off the bottom part of the rectum to cause swelling and irritation which causes the piles to fall away. In surgical removal, the hemorrhoid is cut out with a sharp instrument.

    For those who have had repeated problems with piles, or those who have had problems for a long time, doctors may recommend a combination of treatments to help reduce the frequency and severity of future attacks. This may include medications and/or surgery, as well as other measures such as lifestyle changes and exercises.

Piles Problem Treatments

Hemorrhoids are painful and annoying, but there is help, Following are the most commonly practiced Piles treatments

1. Rubber band ligation

2. Sclerotherapy

3. Infrared photocoagulation

4. Electrocoagulation

5. Hemorrhoidectomy

6. Hemorrhoid stapling

7. Harmonic Scalpel Removal

Rubber band ligation: Rubber band ligation, the most common way of treating piles, is an outpatient procedure that is used to remove piles. It involves the doctor literally tying off the hemorrhoid with a strip of elastic.

A rubber band is placed around the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off the blood supply to an internal hemorrhoid, causing it to shrink and eventually fall off so it can be completely eliminated from the body.

Sclerotherapy: Sclerotherapy is the most common outpatient procedure to treat piles. It involves an injection of a chemical into the piles. The chemical irritates the walls of the vein, causing it to shrink and eventually disappear.

This process has to be practiced over a few times. Once the affected blood vessels have shrunk, they generally stay gone. Sclerotherapy is less invasive than surgery, but more invasive than most other hemorrhoid remedies available today.

Infrared photocoagulation: Infrared photocoagulation is an effective procedure for treating piles. It uses laser light to burn away the blood vessels in the anal canal. It is an out-patient piles treatment which can usually be completed in less than 30 minutes.

This procedure can be used to treat early-stage hemorrhoids, but not larger or more painful ones. It doesn’t usually work well for bleeding piles because it can’t reach the deeper parts of the anus.  The infrared photocoagulation method has recently been introduced as an alternative to conventional surgery.

It has gained considerable acceptance in the last decade. It is a quick, safe and minimally invasive piles treatment.

Electrocoagulation: Electrocoagulation is a new, effective piles treatment. It’s more effective than traditional piles treatments, and doesn’t have any side effects. Electrocoagulation piles treatment works by placing a probe on the tip of the pile to destroy it with an electric current.

A few days after the procedure, the bleeding stops and the piles shrink. The results are long-lasting because this piles treatment kills all blood vessels feeding the pile.

Electrocoagulation is completely painless and there is no bleeding as it does not involve any incisions or surgical procedures. This procedure is used as an endoscopic therapeutic modality for hemorrhoids or piles treatment.

Hemorrhoidectomy: Hemorrhoidectomy is often used to treat piles in most severe cases. The most common type of hemorrhoidectomy is a low anterior resection (LAR), also known as a Milligan-Morgan hemorrhoidectomy, in which an incision is made between and just above your anus and scrotum (if you’re a man). Another type is a middle hemorrhoidectomy, which removes the pile through an incision made above your anus.

A hemorrhoidectomy can be done to treat any types of piles. A standard hemorrhoidectomy removes the pile by cutting it away from its attachment to an anal canal or rectum. Hemorrhoidectomy is actually an outpatient procedure that only takes about 20 minutes.

Hemorrhoid stapling: Hemorrhoid stapling procedure is done to stop the vein from swelling and causing pain. This procedure is carried out by a doctor in an outpatient setting, with minimal discomfort to the patient.

It involves a small incision on the skin, near the base of the pile where a metal clamp will be inserted and then tightened to cut off circulation. This will cause a fast clotting reaction, which leads to a reduction in swelling and inflammation.

The doctor will then bring together the ends of the hemorrhoid using staples or surgical glue to prevent any bleeding from occurring. The patient may need antibiotics for further protection against infection.

Harmonic Scalpel Removal:  The Harmonic Scalpel Removal is an advanced surgical procedure to treat piles involving the use of a laser-like device for performing surgery. It has gained popularity recently because it offers several unique advantages over conventional surgery techniques.

Harmonic Scalpel does not cut the patient’s body, but rather uses radio waves to create vibrations that break up the piles. This process not only reduces bleeding and infection, but also speeds up recovery time by avoiding excessive damage to the body.

How to Prevent Piles or Hemorrhoids?

Piles can be prevented by avoiding constipation and straining during bowel movements. Adequate intake of water and fiber-rich food can prevent this condition from developing.

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