What are haemorrhoids?
Haemorrhoids otherwise known as piles are swollen veins that occur in the lower part of the anus.
Haemorrhoids are a common condition affecting around three out of four adults and although they are not a serious condition, they are uncomfortable. The good news is that they are preventable and can be effectively treated. As haemorrhoids worsen over time, early intervention and treatment is advised.
There are different types of haemorrhoids depending upon their location; internal, external, and thrombosed and each type has different symptoms.
What causes haemorrhoids?
By far the greatest cause of haemorrhoids is excessive straining when doing a bowel movement. This can be caused through either constipation or diarrhoea. When you strain, the veins in the anus engorge and then dilate which can then cause them to become enlarged as well as misshapen. As we age we are more likely to develop haemorrhoids as our veins and tissues supporting the rectum can weaken.
Other causes of haemorrhoids include:
- Heavy lifting leading to straining
- Being overweight
- Extended periods of sitting down
- Anal intercourse
- Low fibre diet
What are the symptoms and when should you see a doctor?
Symptoms of haemorrhoids can include:
- Painless bleeding when you have a bowel movement
- Itchy, irritated or swelling around anal region
- Pain and discomfort
- A lump near the anus
Bleeding during a bowel movement is the most common symptom of haemorrhoids, if you are experiencing bleeding in your bowel movements you should arrange for a consultation with your GP.
How can haemorrhoids be prevented?
Keeping your stools soft is the best prevention for haemorrhoids and reduce their symptoms. There are some basic lifestyle choices that will assist in this including:
- Eating high fibre foods
- Drink plenty of fluids particularly water
- Consider using fibre supplements in your daily routine
- Don’t strain when going to the toilet
- Avoid extended periods of sitting
- Toilet modification
When might other treatment or surgery become necessary?
If your haemorrhoids are persistent and don’t respond to other treatments you may need interventional treatment. The most common and effective treatment with a high success rate is banding. This procedure involves a rubber ring being placed above the base of the haemorrhoid causing the haemorrhoid to lift and subsequently improving the flow of stool through the anus.
Other surgical treatments for haemorrhoids include a haemorrhoidectomy which is the removal of haemorrhoid tissue and prolapsed skin, staple haemorrhoidectomy or arterial ligation of the haemorrhoids.
Make an appointment
If you have troublesome haemorrhoids, please contact our office to arrange for an appointment where Dr Ozmen will be able to examine you and recommend your best treatment option.