Haemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen and inflamed veins in your anus and lower rectum. They may result from straining during bowel movements or from the increased pressure on these veins during pregnancy, among other causes. There are two types of haemorrhoids, internal and external. Internal haemorrhoids develop within the anus external haemorrhoids develop outside of the anus.
Of the two forms of haemorrhoids, external haemorrhoids are the most common and troublesome.
Doctors are unsure as to what leads to haemorrhoids. Various factors that could play a part include:
Painless bleeding during bowel movements
Itching or irritation in your anal region
Pain or discomfort
Swelling around your anus
A lump near your anus, which may be sensitive or painful
Leakage of faeces
Symptoms of haemorrhoid usually depend on the location. Since internal haemorrhoids lie inside the rectum, you may not see or feel them because they don't cause discomfort.
External haemorrhoids are under the skin around your anus. When irritated, external haemorrhoids can itch or bleed.
Tests and diagnosis of haemorrhoids
If your doctor suspects you of haemorrhoids, he may perform certain tests and procedures
- Examination of your anal canal and rectum for abnormalities where the doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum to feel for anything unusual, such as growths.
- Visual inspection of your anal canal and rectum where the doctor examines the lower portion of your colon and rectum with an anoscope, proctoscope or sigmoidoscope. This enables the doctor to look into your anus and rectum.
Most of the time treatment for haemorrhoids involves lifestyle modifications. But sometimes medications or surgical procedures are necessary.
Medications: If your haemorrhoids produce only mild discomfort, your doctor may suggest over-the-counter creams, ointments or pads. These products contain ingredients that can relieve pain and itching.
Minimally invasive procedures: If a blood clot has formed within an external haemorrhoid, your doctor can remove the clot with a simple incision. For painful haemorrhoids, your doctor may suggest minimally invasive procedures such as rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy and coagulation.
Surgical methods: If other procedures don’t produce positive results, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure. There are two surgical procedures, (i) Haemorrhoid removal and (ii) Haemorrhoid stapling.
Eat high-fibre foods, increase your water intake, avoid straining during a bowel movement and you might be able to prevent haemorrhoids.