What Are Haemorrhoids?

Haemorrhoids, commonly known as piles, are vascular formations in the anal region. They serve as cushions, aiding in stool control and anal sphincter protection. They turn into a medical condition when inflamed or enlarged.

Types of Haemorrhoids

  • External Haemorrhoids: Located outside the anus, they create protruding lumps and are often associated with anal pain and swelling.
  • Internal Haemorrhoids: Situated within the anal canal, these are typically characterised by bright red blood in stools.

Stages of Internal Haemorrhoids

  1. First Stage: Invisible and unfelt.
  2. Second Stage: Protrude during bowel movements, retracting afterwards.
  3. Third Stage: Extend out but need manual retraction.
  4. Fourth Stage: Permanent protrusion, swelling, and discomfort.

Underlying Causes

  • Improper bowel movement, such as excessive or prolonged straining or rushing, which puts pressure on the rectum.
  • Hardened faeces causing rectal bleeding.
  • Chronic diarrhoea or constipation.
  • Pregnancy.

Recognisable Symptoms of Haemorrhoids

  • Fresh blood observed during defecation.
  • Sensation of a lump due to prolapsing swollen veins.
  • Anal itching.
  • Anal pain due to thrombosed veins.
  • Sustained bleeding could result in anaemia and dizziness.

Diagnostic Measures

Should you spot fresh blood whilst defecating, consult a healthcare provider to rule out severe conditions such as cancer. Diagnostics might include an anal examination and, in some instances, a colonoscopy may be necessary.

Treatment Options

Non-Surgical Treatments:

  • Consume high-fiber foods and stay hydrated to soften stools and prevent excessive straining during bowel movements.
  • Apply a suppository after a bowel movement or shower. Suppositories are now available in cream form for external use.
  • Consider using a rubber band to tie off the hemorrhoid and reduce blood flow to it. This will cause the hemorrhoid to gradually shrink and disappear within 5-10 days. This method is effective for small to medium-sized external hemorrhoids.
  • The doctor may administer medication around the blood vessels to induce shrinkage of the hemorrhoid.
  • For small hemorrhoids, options such as electricity, lasers, heat, or cold therapy may be recommended.

Surgical Treatments:

  • Reserved for severe or last-stage haemorrhoids, offering the quickest relief.

Potential Complications

  • Ongoing blood loss may result in anaemia.

Preventive Measures

  • Alter eating habits to soften stool.
  • Respond to the urge for bowel movement promptly.
  • Limit time spent on the toilet.
  • Engage in regular physical activity.
  • Eat fibre-rich foods like fruits, leafy vegetables, and grains.
  • Consume 6-8 glasses of water daily, while avoiding alcohol.