What are piles?
To a layman, any trouble around anus is piles. But scientifically speaking, only painless, frank bleeding while passing motion is piles (hemorrhoids). The rectum is the last part of the intestine and it ends into the anus. The wall of the rectum, has a tissue area containing a network of small veins. One on the left, and two on the right. In some individuals, this tissue may enlarge, along with its blood vessels. This enlargement constitutes piles : internal piles. In some other individuals, there may be similar enlargement of the tissue and blood vessels beneath the anal skin. This is called external piles. It can be felt by hand, around the anus.
How are they caused?
Under pressure the blood vessels in and around the anus stretch. Straining whilst on the toilet, chronic coughing and lots of heavy lifting are common ways that pressure in the abdomen is increased and that in turn results in increased pressure in the veins located around the anus. Pregnancy, being overweight and childbirth can also cause piles
Will diet improve symptoms?
Since straining on the toilet is one of the commonest reasons why piles develop, avoiding constipation and having to strain is vital to improve symptoms. Eating a healthy diet that contains plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and other fibre, drinking plenty of water, keeping active and keeping stress levels under control all help the bowel to function properly.
Does sitting on cold surfaces cause piles?
No. This is a very common belief but it’s a myth. Sitting on hard or cold surfaces may make piles feel more uncomfortable for those people who already have them but will not actually cause piles. Ignoring the urge to go to the toilet, inactivity, missing breakfast or eating on the go, however, can cause constipation, which makes straining and consequently piles more likely.
What can I use to ease the symptoms of piles?
IIce packs help reduce swelling and sitting in a warm bath filled with plain water for 10 minutes several times a day will relieve symptoms too. Don’t be over-hygienic when washing since this may cause more irritation. Try not to sit for long periods of time since this may cause more irritation. You can visit your pharmacist for advice on treatment to relieve pain and irritation. Stool softeners can be used to get the bowels working properly again and help to eliminate the need to strain.
What if they persist despite these measures?
If your doctor advises this then may involve laser treatment because no repetitive therapy is required .100% safe.
Make sure your diet contains plenty of fibre, drink lots of fluids and increase the amount of exercise you get. These measures will help prevent constipation, one of the main causes of piles. Check out the lifestyle section of this site - it’s packed with advice on how to avoid the problem.
What can I do to stop getting piles again?
The Only Way is Laser Treatment
In my job I have to sit at a desk all day in front of my computer. Will this give me piles?
Sitting down for long periods does increase the odds. Make sure you take regular breaks - by law you are entitled to time away from your computer screen to avoid eyestrain. In these breaks stand up and walk around. At lunchtime, take a walk, even if it's just round the block. In the evening, take advantage of all that energy you've stored up during the day - go out and do something that gets you moving and increases your heart rate.