Hemorrhoids are painful swollen veins in and around the rectum. They are masses, clumps, cushions of tissue full of blood vessels, support tissue, muscle and elastic fibres in the anal canal. It can affects anyone but found to be commonly in the elderly. Hemorrhoids can be  classified into two depending on its location; Internal or external

Internal hemorrhoids form when blood vessels inside the rectum become swollen and engorged.

External haemorrhoids can occur due to increased pressure caused by obesity, pregnancy, sitting or standing for long hours at a stretch, straining on the toilet, coughing, sneezing, vomiting, and holding your breath while straining to do strenuous physical activity

The primary causes of piles include:

  • Genetic predisposition to piles
  • Lack of fiber in the diet
  • Inadequate fluid intake
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Stress
  • Constipation
  • Anal intercourse
  • Previous surgery of bowel

Other factors that can make prone to pile includes;

  • Pregnancy
  • Excessive coughing or sneezing
  • Constant sitting or standing for long hours at a stretch
  • Excessive straining, rubbing or cleaning around the anus
  • Regularly holding breath while straining to perform some physical labour

  Symptoms

  • Bleeding from the anus.
  • Pain during bowel movements
  • Swelling or a lump near the anus
  • Anal itching
  • Mucous discharge from the anus
  • Hard lump around the anus
  • Area around the anus becomes red and sore

Diagnosis

To arrive at a diagnosis of hemorrhoids, the doctor would carry out a visual exam of the anus and digital rectal examination. He/she can carry out another additional test called sigmoidoscopy which involves the insertion of a small tube into the rectum to inspect the colon for swelling and dilation.

Treatment

Hemorrhoids resolve on their own but may require treatments or surgery if symptoms are severe.

  • Over-the counter pain killers are used to relieve pain.
  • Topical cream and suppositories are also used to soothe the anus
  • Surgical intervention can be done depending on the level of hemorrhoids. This surgery has to do with hemorrhoid removal or incision

Other treatment measures includes;

  • Eat  non-spicy foods
  • Eat fibre rich meals e.g. fruits, vegetables, whole grains
  • Practice sitz bath (sitting in warm water for 10-15 minutes)
  • Apply ice packs to the anus to relieve swelling
  • Take enough water or increase your fluid intake
  • Use moistened toilet paper or a moist hand towel to clean yourself after a bowel movement
  • Clean around anus with clean warm water
  • Avoid scented or perfumed toilet products that can irritate your anus.
  • Practice mild to moderate exercises regularly