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What are hemorrhoids (piles)?

 

Hemorrhoids, also spelled haemorrhoids, are swollen blood vessels found inside or around the rectum and anus. Hemorrhoids (piles) can occur internally or externally. External hemorrhoids can be extremely painful.

 

Piles are very common. Many people often don’t realise that they have hemorrhoids as they have no symptoms.

 

What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?

 

Not everyone with piles exhibits symptoms. The most common symptoms of piles are:

  • Itchy anus
  • Bleeding after passing a stool -  the blood is typically bright red
  • A mucus discharge after passing a stool
  • Soreness, redness and swelling around the anus
  • A lump hanging down outside of the anus - this may need to be pushed back into the anus after passing a stool

 

If you have any of these symptoms you should see your GP. It is especially important to see your doctor if you are experiencing rectal bleeding as this could be a sign of more serious medical conditions.

 

What causes hemorrhoids?

 

While the exact cause of hemorrhoids is unclear, they can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Constipation - this is often caused by a lack of fibre in a person’s diet
  • Chronic diarrhoea
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Age - older people are more likely to develop piles as their supporting tissues get weaker
  • A family history of piles
  • Frequently lifting heavy objects
  • Repeated vomiting or a persistent cough
  • Sitting down for long periods of time

 

What is a good way of treating hemorrhoids?

You can use suppositories, topical ointments or both to treat hemorrhoids. For more severe hemorrhoids, including banding (a tight elastic band is placed around the hemorrhoid which causes it to fall off) and surgery.

 

It is important that you see your GP to discuss the best treatment for you.

 

What can you do to help prevent hemorrhoids?

 

There are a few steps you can take to help prevent developing hemorrhoids or having piles return. These include:

  • Eating a high fiber diet
  • Drinking lots of water
  • Not delaying passing stools
  • Losing weight if you are overweight
  • Exercising regularly - this can help prevent constipation and can help you lose weight

 

 

Can you get an over the counter treatment for piles?

 

Yes, there are various over the counter treatments for piles. There are various ointments and suppositories you can get over the counter for the treatment of hemorrhoids.

 

How to get rid of piles?

 

There are a number of ways you can try to get rid of piles, but the best course of treatment is generally medication. It is important that you see your GP to determine the best option for you.

 

What do piles look like?

 

Internal hemorrhoids cannot be seen because they remain inside the body. However, prolapsed internal hemorrhoids (hemorrhoids that are enlarged and protruding outside the anal sphincter) and external hemorrhoids can be seen from outside the body. A hemorrhoid will appear as a lump protruding from the anus. It will typically be dark bluish in colour because of the blood clot inside the blood vessel.

 

Are there any home remedies for piles?

 

There are some steps you can take to make yourself feel more comfortable if you’re suffering from piles. This includes drinking lots of water, eating a high fibre diet and taking paracetamol if you’re in pain. However, it is important that you don’t take any non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as those may make bleeding worse.

 

What do hemorrhoids look like?

 

Hemorrhoids can only be seen if they are protruding from the anus. They typically look like a lump protruding from the anus. They are usually dark bluish in colour.

 

How do you know if you have piles?

 

The best way to know if you have piles is to be diagnosed by your GP.

 

What can you take for piles pain relief?

 

You can take paracetamol for the relief of pain caused by piles. However, if your piles are causing you to have excessive bleeding, avoid using non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen as then can make rectal bleeding worse.

 

How long do piles last?

 

If your piles are small, they may clear up on their own within a few days. Larger or protruding (prolapsed) hemorrhoids may take longer to treat and may require treatment from a doctor. If you have piles it is important to see your doctor, especially if you’re bleeding.

* Please note results, timeframe and individual responses to treatments may vary from person to person. If you do need medical advice you should always speak to a doctor, pharmacist or appropriate medical professional.