Piles got you at the edge of your seats? Find out more about the causes, types, stages, symptoms, and treatment options here.
What are piles (haemorrhoids)?
What causes piles?
While their exact cause is unknown, certain associated conditions include –
- Chronic constipation
- Chronic diarrhoea
- Straining while passing stools
- Regularly lifting heavy weights
What are the types of piles?
What are strangulated piles?
What are the different stages of piles?
Piles can be divided into 4 stages, ranging from mild to severe, depending on the level of prolapse. Your doctor will recommend the appropriate treatment for you based on this.
- Grade 1 are small swellings on the inside of the anus. They cannot be seen or felt from outside the anal canal.
- Grade 2 are slightly larger swellings. They may protrude while passing stools but go back inside on their own once the pressure decreases
- Grade 3 are swellings that protrude outside the anal canal but can be pushed back with your fingers
- Grade 4 is the most severe, the swellings are permanently outside the anal canal and cannot be pushed back manually
What are the symptoms of piles?
You may notice the following symptoms –
- Painless, bright red-coloured blood while passing stools
- Discomfort while passing stools
- Itching around the anus
- Swellings in the anal region
- Leaking of stools
How are piles diagnosed?
Your doctor can diagnose this condition based on your symptoms and a simple physical examination. External piles are usually visible while internal piles can require an examination of your anal canal and rectum as well.
- Digital examination: Your doctor will insert a gloved, lubricated finger inside your anus and check for any swellings, growth or tenderness
- Proctoscopy: A short, straight tube called a proctoscope is used to examine your anus and rectum to detect any abnormalities
- Colonoscopy: Your doctor may opt for a detailed bowel examination to help rule out other conditions
How are piles managed?
Your doctor may prescribe –
- Topical lignocaine or hydrocortisone cream which can be directly applied over the affected area and provide relief
- Suppositories which can be inserted inside the anus and help relieve pain and discomfort
- Stool softeners to help pass motion more easily without straining
- Banding treatment where a band is placed around the affected blood vessel to make it drop off
- Injection sclerotherapy where a chemical is injected into the blood vessel to shrink it so that it drops off after a few days
- Electrotherapy and diathermy which use heat to shrink the blood vessel
- Infrared coagulation where infrared light is used to cut off the blood supply to the vessel
- Surgery, in severe cases
What are the surgeries for piles?
Surgery is a safe and efficient treatment option. Commonly done procedures include –
- Haemorrhoidectomy, where your piles are surgically removed
- Stapled haemorrhoidopexy where the blood supply is cut off
- Haemorrhoidal artery ligation where the small arteries that are supplying blood are tied
What happens in haemorrhoidectomy?
In how many days can I get back to my routine activity post-surgery?
What are the potential complications of surgery?
Complications rarely occur post-surgery. These can include –
- Bleeding or passing blood clots
- Urinary retention
- Faecal incontinence
- Anal fistula
Is there a chance of relapse after surgery?
Are there any home remedies for piles?
Mild cases can be relieved by –
- Consuming a fibre-rich diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, wholewheat grains such as brown rice, oats, ragi, millets etc. to avoid straining while passing stools
- Soaking your anal region in a warm bath or sitz bath 2-3 times a day to provide relief
- Using oral painkillers such as paracetamol or applying topical creams over the affected area
Consult your doctor in case your symptoms last for more than a week or sooner in case they get worse.
How can I prevent piles?
You can incorporate certain dietary and lifestyle changes such as –
- Staying well hydrated
- Consuming a fibre-rich diet with lots of fresh fruits and
- vegetables, wholewheat grains such as brown rice, oats, ragi, millets etc.
- Avoid straining while passing motion
- Taking a warm bath to reduce itching and discomfort
- Using ice packs over the region to reduce pain
- Keeping your anal region as clean and dry as possible
Regularly exercise at least 2.5 hours a week