Haemorrhoid or piles are swellings that develop in the cushions of tissue that line the anal canal or back passage. Sighting blood in the stool is a common sign of haemorrhoids. It is not common among children and does not generaly occur before late teenage years.
 Why should I be aware of this?
Haemorrhoids is very common with one out of four adults being affected by this condition at some point of time in their life. In fact, half the population over the age of 50 years suffers from haemorrhoids. Most haemorrhoidal attacks are self-curing and symptoms disappear within 7 to 10 days. As the condition worsens you may suffer 4 to 6 episodes in a year. This causes considerable blood loss and may lead to anaemia (specially in women). Sometimes, haemorrhoids protrude out of the anal canal and in such cases, the doctor might recommend surgery.
 All about Haemorrohoid
The tissue of the anus is rich in blood vessels. If these become dilated and swollen, they may project into the anal canal or out of the back passage to form visible swellings.
Women get piles largely because of pregnancy. Both men and women tend to get piles if they sit on the toilet too long, as it strains the tissue in the anal canal. Most affected people have a diet low in fibre and fluids.
Haemorrohoid or piles can be either external or internal in nature.
- External haemorrohoids or piles -- There is a lot of pain but not excess bleeding.
- Internal haemorrohoid or piles -- There is release of dark blood. In some cases the veins burst and this outcome in what is known as bleeding piles.
- Genetic predisposition
- Weak veins
- Vitamin B6 deficiency
- Acid/alkaline imbalance
- Fatigue liver
- Sitting or standing in the same position for a long period of time.
Haemorrhoid can become inflamed, it can itch, slight bleeding can occur and cause pain. Unless treated properly a hemorrhoidal condition only tends to get worse over the years, therefore early treatment is advised.
- Bleeding while passing stool
- Discharge; itching and soreness around the anus
- Lump feeling around the anal canal
People who might be at risk include those with
- Poor eating habits
- Irregular bowel movement
- Frequent changes in lifestyle
- Excessive travel
- Prolonged standing or sitting, etc. can all contribute to contracting haemorrhoids.
Most haemorrhoidal attacks are self-curing and symptoms disappear within 7 to 10 days. As the condition worsens you may suffer 4 to 6 episodes in a year. Sometimes, haemorrhoids protrude out of the anal canal (grade 4). In such cases, your doctor may recommend surgery. Some of the surgical methods used to treat haemorrhoids are: band ligation, sclerotherapy, coagulation, and haemorrhoidectomy.
 What can I do?
To prevent haemorrhoids
- Drink lots of water at least 1.5 to 2 liters daily.
- Eat a balanced diet: food rich in fibre, cereals, fruit and vegetables.
- Take regular exercise such as walking, jogging and swimming.
- Avoid spicy food, alcohol, excessive tea, and coffee.
Most haemorrhoidal attacks are self-curing and symptoms disappear within 7 to 10 days. There are also several home treatments (shown below), but the effectiveness of these treatments will depend largely on the severity of the haemorrhoids. At the very least, however, they will help in reducing some of the discomfort.
- Regularize Bowel Movements --The first and foremost treatment is to regularize bowel movement. Increase fiber in your diet and drink plenty of water. This will help relieve constipation. Bulk laxatives, like isabgol, bran are also helpful to relieve constipation, if diet does not work. Flavonoid derivatives bring about rapid and marked relief in acute episodes and chronic symptomatology of haemorrhoids.
- Sitz Bath -- You can also reduce stress in the anal area by taking a Sitz bath twice a day. Fill the tub with warm water (make sure it is not too hot) and sit in it for approximately 15 minutes at a time.
- Medicated creams for topical application -- Many doctors also prescribe medicated creams that further help treat anal soreness. These medicated creams need to be inserted into the anus through an applicator (provided with the medicated cream) once a day for 7 days, preferably at bedtime. It is advisable to show the progress to the doctor after a week so that the doctor can decide on the next course of action.
If you're pregnant you should consult your doctor before you use any treatments.
Haemorrhoidectomy, or surgical removal of the piles, is necessary when clots repeatedly form, or there is persistent bleeding. Haemorrhoidectomy is usually done under general anaesthetic in hospital. There is a small risk of anal stricture (a scarred narrowing of the anal canal) and injury to the sphincter
Some common myths associated with piles.
- You can get piles from sitting on cold floors -- Sitting on a cold floor will not give you piles, however, sitting down for long periods can increase your chances of getting Haemorrohoid/piles.
- Only unhealthy people get piles -- This is not true. It is important to remember that a good diet will reduce your chance of getting piles, however, lots of healthy people also suffer. If your family has a history of suffering piles or if you do heavy manual work or weightlifting your chance of getting piles is increased.
- Only older people get piles--This is not true. It is true that your chances of getting piles increase with age, however, lots of young men and women also suffer.
 Grey areas
There is no link between piles and bowel cancer, although your doctor may take the opportunity to check for bowel cancer while examining your piles.
- What Are Hemorrhoids?
- Myths about piles
- Haemorrhoids (piles)