Piles (hemorrhoids)

Piles or hemorrhoids are a very common problem wherein the veins inside the rectum or the anus become swollen. These swollen veins may cause pain, itching, or even rectal bleeding.

What are hemorrhoids?

Enlarged and swollen veins inside and outside the anus and the rectum are called hemorrhoids. Some people may have hemorrhoids but never experience any pain or other symptoms but there are others who feel discomfort and pain during bowel movements. Piles or hemorrhoids can be treated using several methods.

What are the major causes of hemorrhoids?

There are a variety of causes for the formation of hemorrhoids. These comprise of:

  • Chronic constipation or diarrohea.
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Excessive strain during bowel movements.
  • Eating a low-fiber diet
  • Lifting heavy objects regularly.

What is the different type of hemorrhoids?

Based on where the swollen veins develop, hemorrhoids are classified into the following types:

  • External hemorrhoids – swollen veins may form underneath the skin around the anus. These are called external hemorrhoids and can be very itchy and painful. Sometimes they get filled with blood and clot and can be extremely painful.
  • Internal hemorrhoids – swollen veins formed inside the rectum are called internal hemorrhoids. Rectum connects the colon or the large intestine with the anus. These hemorrhoids may bleed occasionally but are less painful than the external ones.
  • Prolapsed hemorrhoids – both internal and external hemorrhoids stretch and bulge outside the anus. They are called prolapsed hemorrhoids and are painful too.

What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?

  • Hard lumps near the anus
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Pain in the anus, especially when you sit.
  • Itchy anus.
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding during bowel movements.

How are hemorrhoids diagnosed?

  • Anoscopy
  • Sigmoidoscopy
  • Digital rectal examination

How are hemorrhoids treated?

  • Your doctor may perform rubberband ligation to cut off the blood supply to the vein.
  • Electrocoagulation wherein electric current is passed to stop blood flow.
  • Sclerotherapy involves injecting a chemical into the swollen vein to destroy the hemorrhoid tissue.