Whether you call them haemorrhoids or piles, this common condition can be painful and persistent, but there are treatments that can help so there is no need to suffer in silence.
Step 1 is to better understand the cause
Causes of Haemorrhoids
Piles are caused by swelling of vascular cushions that sit in your anal canal. This may be due to repeated straining when you pass stools, which is common ifyou suffer from constipation or long-term diarrhoea.Lifting heavy objectson a regular basis, standing for prolonged periodandvigorousexercisecan result inpiles developing.
They can also be due to ageing, which results in a weakness ofthe pelvic floor or prolapse of haemorrhoids.Pregnancyresults in an increased pressure in this area and piles are very commonly seen at this time.
Step 2 is to discuss your specific symptoms
Symptoms of Haemorrhoids
Sometimes piles can be asymptomatic (without any symptoms). If they do produce symptoms you might experience:
- Bleeding when you pass stools.
- Painful purplish lumps in or around your anus.
- Itchy or sore skin around your anus.
- Pain when you pass stools.
- Feeling as though your bowels haven’t completely emptied after passing stools.
- Mucus discharge from your anus.
Step 3 is to receive an accurate diagnosis
Sometimes people feel embarrassed to talk to their GP about piles but it is important to get a proper diagnosis.
This is so that you can undergo the correct course of treatment and also so that more serious conditions like bowel cancer and anal cancer can be ruled out.
If your doctor is in any doubt you may be referred for further tests.
Step 4 is to understand the type of haemorrhoids you have to determine treatment
Types of Haemorrhoids
Piles are actually enlarged blood vessels. They look like small, purplish lumps and may develop inside your anus (internal piles) or outside it (external piles).
External piles may harden and contain blood clots, which can cause them to become very painful. There are different types of internal piles depending on how far they protrude from your anus:
- First degree piles don’t protrude outside your anus but may bleed.
- Second degree piles protrude outside your anus when you pass stools but go back inside by themselves.
- Third degree piles protrude outside your anus but can be pushed back inside.
- Fourth degree piles protrude and can’t be pushed back inside. These are the most painful type.
Step 5 is to undertake effective treatment based on the type of haemorrhoids, your diagnosis and symptoms.
Treatment of Haemorrhoids
The good news is that piles are very treatable and any pain or discomfort that you are experiencing is likely to be short-lived once you start a treatment programme.
The type of treatment will depend on the type of piles you have and how severe they are.
Treatment might include:
You can buy over the counter treatments containing corticosteroidsand local anaestheticthat can help to reduce the pain, itchiness and swelling of piles.
They can be highly effective but should not be used for more than a week. Painkillers can also be used and you may be able to take mild laxatives or fibre supplements to soften your stool and make it easier to pass.
These can be effective if the piles don’t clear up with medication. They include:
- Banding – this involves putting a tight elastic band around the pile to cut off its blood supply. It will normally shrivel and fall off within a week or two.
- Sclerotherapy – this involves injecting an oily solution into the piles which causes them to shrink.
- Bipolar diathermy or direct current electrotherapy – this uses a mild electric current to destroy the piles.
Persistent piles may require surgery. There is a range of different surgical procedures that may be used, depending on the type and location of the piles:
- Haemorrhoidal artery ligation – this involves stitching the arteries in the anal canal to limit blood supply to the piles and then suturing.
- Stapled Haemorrhoidopexy – this involves removing the piles with a specialised circular stapling device.
- Haemorrhoidectomy – this involves cutting away the pilesto completely remove them.
Expert Haemorrhoid Diagnosis and Treatment
Windsor Bowel Clinic are specialists in treating a full range of gastrointestinal disorders including haemorrhoids.
Our specialist consultants will ensure prompt, accurate diagnosis after which we will discuss your treatment options.
Our Consultation Fees are clearly presented here.
To book your consultation, simply contact our team who will be able to find a suitable appointment date and time.