Persons of any age, health or activity level can get piles, but they are considered to be more usual in the elderly and pregnant. Symptoms and pain can vary from person to person, and in some cases, they cause no discomfort at all.
What are Haemorrhoids?
Haemorrhoids are located inside and around your anus. Every person has hemorrhoidal tissue, and it plays an important part of our bodily functions. It consists of cushioning blood vessels within your bottom (anus and rectum) which aid continence. When haemorrhoids become an issue, it is due to them becoming enlarged, painful or hanging outside of your body. Haemorrhoids are also known as piles.
What are the Symptoms?
• Itching around your anus
• A lump near your anus
• Swelling or inflammation
• Pain or discomfort
• The feeling of still needing to pass a stool after going to the toilet.
What Causes Them?
There are several known causes of enlarged haemorrhoids, most of which are a result of too much strain or pressure on the rectum.
Straining on the Toilet
Difficulties with bowel movement, either constipation or diarrhoea.
Sitting on the Toilet for Too Long
When sitting on the toilet, your body, and in particular, your anus, relaxes. If you allow yourself to sit for too long, this can cause the blood vessels in the anus and rectum to fill with blood; it is this extra pressure that can cause piles overtime.
Haemorrhoids are much more likely in the elderly, although those younger can still get them. As we age, constipation can become more frequent, and the muscles surrounding the anus and rectum can weaken and stretch.
Excessive Coughing or Sneezing
Haemorrhoids are caused by pressure around the anus and in the rectum. This pressure can cause them to swell, which can then lead to discomfort. When you cough or sneeze excessively, it can lead to additional strain and cause piles.
Lifting Heaving Objects
Similarly to coughing and sneezing, lifting heavy objects also puts pressure on the anus and rectum.
During pregnancy, the volume of blood circulating the body increases. As well as this, hormones which relax your blood vessels are steadily released. Constipation is also a common condition during pregnancy, as the added pressure on your bottom of carrying a baby can contribute to an increased chance of getting piles.
How Can You Prevent Them?
High Fibre Diet
By including foods which are high in fibre into your diet can make your stools easier to pass as they will become softer. Either opt for fibre-rich foods or speak to your doctor about a diet supplement.
High fibre foods include whole-grain cereals and bread, whole-wheat pasta, barley, rye and oats, beans, pulses, nuts and seeds.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
By increasing your fluid intake, the water content within your body increases, which then helps to stimulate movement in the bowel and soften your stools, making them easier to pass.
Don’t Strain on the Toilet
Avoid putting additional pressure on the blood vessels in your bottom by not straining or holding your breath while trying to or passing a stool.
Keeping active can ensure healthy bowel movement and prevent constipation.
What is the Difference Between Internal and External?
Internal haemorrhoids are inside of the rectum. Often, you won’t notice they are there unless you experience bleeding, as there are few pain-sensing nerves in that area of the body.
External haemorrhoids are around the anus and are the more painful of the two. They can crack, bleed or be itchy.
How Can You Treat Haemorrhoids at Home?
Typically, piles will go away on their own after time but to ease symptoms you can do the following:
• Push the pile back inside of you
• Take paracetamol
• Keep the area clean and dry
• Apply a cooling pack
When Should You See a Doctor?
If your symptoms don’t ease and the haemorrhoids persist following self-treatment at home, it may be time to see a pharmacist or a doctor. The treatment could include creams which reduce itching, swelling and pain. You may also be offered cold packs for the discomfort, and supplements for constipation, if you require it.
If you notice no improvement or your condition worsens, call for an emergency appointment or 111. A trained professional will decide whether you need hospital treatment following an assessment of your condition.
If you have mucus from your anus or internal piles which hang outside of the body or bleeding, consult a health professional.
Here at Myreen Young, we understand and empathise with the symptoms of haemorrhoids, which is why we have developed an effective organic haemorrhoid cream. It takes care of you and the planet.