|photo from Piles/Haemorrhoids blog|
Repeated straining during bowel movements;
Sitting for long periods on the toilet;
Doing squats as part of an exercise régime;
Repeated episodes of diarrhoea;
Ageing, as the tissues surrounding the anus weaken;
Haemorrhoids can be internal (located inside the anal canal) or external (just outside the anal aperture).
Signs and symptoms of internal haemorrhoids are:
They occur inside the anal verge.
They are associated with intermittent bleeding from the rectum, occurring with bowel movements.
They sometimes cause a mucous discharge from the rectum.
Internal haemorrhoids are usually painless.
They can prolapse and protrude outside of the anus and cause pain.
External haemorrhoids are:
Outside the anal opening.
Cause protrusions around the anal verge.
Can swell and cause pain, itching, and discomfort, especially after diarrhoea occurs.
Can be associated with a painful "blood clot" (thrombosis), resulting in a very painful swelling to the anus.
Flare-ups with haemorrhoids usually only last a few days before the symptoms disappear, and in pregnant women the symptoms often disappear after giving birth. However, intermittent to slight bleeding from haemorrhoids can last from months to even years!
Usually, haemorrhoids (piles) are suspected when:
Painless bleeding occurs during bowel movements.
A lump or swelling occurs at the anus.
Leakage of stool occurs.
Pain or discomfort to the anal region is experienced while seated.
Itching occurs in the anal region.
By age 50, about 50 per cent of all adults have dealt with some minor or major signs of haemorrhoids.
Preventing all abdominal straining, which can lead to haemorrhoids.
This can usually be achieved by:
Adding fibre to the diet with high- fibre foods such as beans, bran, carrots, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and fruits.
Drinking adequate amounts of water, especially in the hot summer months and during and after exercise.
Training your bowel to have regular bowel movements. (Schedule "toilet time" at the same time each day. The best time is soon after a meal.)
Exercising. (Even 20 minutes of daily walking can stimulate the bowel to move regularly).
Not putting off going to the toilet when the urge to go occurs. (Go at once.)
When experiencing a flare-up of haemorrhoid activity with pain and swelling of the piles, the following action can be taken:
Apply a cold compress to the anal region. This will shrink any swelling and lessen discomfort.
Use a warm sitz bath, taken by sitting in a tub of warm water several times a day, to clean the area and also reduce any discomfort.
Apply over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, aloe vera gel, or burn cream, which contains a topical anaesthetic.
Use an over-the-counter stool softener.
Add fibre to the diet or by taking a fibre preparation such as Metamucil.
If haemorrhoid symptoms persist after using home remedies, then a visit to the doctor is necessary. There are several prescribed preparations available which, when taken orally or rectally, can shrink the haemorrhoids and diminish pain. Stool softeners are often prescribed to prevent straining, which tends to worsen the situation, and pain killers are sometimes necessary also.
If despite the use of these medications the haemorrhoids still cause significant discomfort, then surgical intervention may be necessary. The most common surgical procedure is band ligation. This is performed in the surgeon's office. Rubber bands are placed over the base of the haemorrhoids to cut off their blood supply. This shrinks the ligated haemorrhoids, which later fall off.
|courtesy of the Lancet: haemorrhoidectomy procedure|
Because rectal bleeding can occur with other disorders (such as colon cancer and diverticular disease), its presence should never be ignored. Individuals shouldn't make their own diagnosis that rectal bleeding is due to haemorrhoids (piles) when it occurs, but should see a physician. This is especially so when the bleeding is associated with any significant change in bowel habits or with constitutional signs such as weight loss or diminished appetite.
also see from 2008: The Touchy Subject of Haemorrhoids on sister blog GLBTQJA Wordpress