Haemorrhoids, or piles, are swollen veins in or around the anus that cause pain, itching and, occasionally, bleeding.

Haemorrhoids, otherwise known as piles, are very common. They affect just over 50% of people at some period in their lives. When the structures that line the anal canal become inflamed, internal haemorrhoids can be triggered. Although haemorrhoids are generally not a serious condition, they can start to become extremely uncomfortable for some patients. For the majority of people, the condition will clear on its own after making healthy lifestyle changes. Nonetheless, there are some cases where it needs immediate treatment, such as with surgery or prescription medication. However, surgery is only an option if all other treatment options have failed.

Internal haemorrhoids, the most common type, develop inside the anus. You might have some bleeding, but no pain. External haemorrhoids are the painful ones and they too can cause some bleeding. Either kind may turn into a prolapsed haemorrhoid, a soft lump that protrudes from the anus. Prolonged sitting, pregnancy and ageing can all contribute to haemorrhoids. If you often have constipation and strain during a bowel movement, you can create haemorrhoids or make them worse.

 

Causes

Though haemorrhoids are more prevalent in those aged over 50, they can affect people at any stage in their lives. When put under pressure, the veins around your anus usually stretch, bulge or swell. There are several different factors that might be responsible for this increase in pressure, including straining during bowel movements, severe cases of constipation or diarrhoea, low fibre diets and anal intercourse. You may also increase your risk of piles if you’re overweight, pregnant or if you lift heavy weight on a regular basis, due to the additional pressure on blood vessels in the pelvic region.

 

Treatments

If you find that exercise and dietary changes are not making the condition better, a doctor may prescribe prescription treatment. This will help to alleviate the symptoms and alleviate inflammation. The different forms of treatment include, ointments, gels, suppositories and sprays. Prescription treatments include, Anusol HC, Proctofoam, Uniroid, Betnovate, Ultraproct, Perinal and Scheriproct. If prescription treatments, healthy lifestyle changes or other less intensive methods of treatment have not helped your condition, your may need to have a surgical procedure as last option.

Luckily there are a variety of haemorrhoid treatments that can give you relief as well as stop them occurring.

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