What are Piles?
Piles (also know as hemorrhoids and haemorrhoids) are skin covered inflamed blood vessels in and around the anal area. They are very common in adults, especially those between the ages of 45 and 60 years. Piles occur in both men and women and affect around 90% of the American population at some stage in their life.
Piles usually occur in the anal canal (the first 4 – 5cm of the anal passage) in areas known as “cushions” or “pads”. Piles are inflamed swellings that in some extreme cases can reach the size of a golf ball.
Different types of Piles
Piles come in 2 general forms, internal and external. External piles are formed when Internal Piles are dragged down (or hang down) the anal canal.
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Symptoms of Piles
Common symptoms of Piles include the following:
- Bright red blood covering the stool
- A strange mound on the anus
- Pain and irritation during and after going to the toilet
- A slimly liquid emission from the anus (this may cause itching)
Causes of Piles
The exact cause of piles remains unknown, however one popular theory suggests that they are due to the weakening of tissues in the anal canal which connects the cushions (which expand to become piles) to the underlying muscles. As the tissues weaken they slide down out of their natural place, become inflamed and as a result, you have piles.
Increased likelihood of piles occurs if you:
- Strain to push stools through the anal passage
- Lack fiber in you diet
- Suffer prolonged cases of diarrhea
- Are pregnant (this is due to increased weight and pressure)
Treatment of Piles
Piles are most easily treated if picked up early on. If left unattended it is highly unlikely that they will go away by themselves, in some cases they may disappear for a period of time but will generally always return worse than the previous time.
Treatment options for Piles include over-the-counter medicines, creams and ointments, and surgery.
Studies have shown over-the-counter medicines to be largely ineffective in treating piles. They often offer temporary pain relief and may even cause the piles to subside, but they will not cure piles.
Creams and ointments can have a positive effect on Piles and indeed at times can cure Piles altogether. They can be irritating and messy to apply however and depending on the severity of the condition, creams can be very painful to apply. This is especially the case when applying cream to internal piles as this involves insertion of either a finger or some other object into the anal passage.
Surgery is an option; some argue that it is the only totally effective option for removal of piles. Depending on where you live, surgery can be expensive; it is not uncommon for surgery to cost upwards of $1500 in the USA. (Please check with your local medical institute as this number can vary)
While we do not endorse one particular product for the treatment of piles, we do suggest you seek treatment as soon as possible if you suffer from piles. Piles left untreated can expand significantly and become extremely uncomfortable. Along with becoming very painful they can also cause a range of side effects including diarrhea, loss of bladder control and anal fissures.
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