Please note that all content on this website (including, but not limited to, copy, images, commentary, advice, tips, hints, guides, observations) is provided as an informational resource only. It is not a substitute for correct and accurate diagnosis, or recommendation, or treatment by a medical professional. Please ensure that you obtain proper guidance from your GP, or another medical professional. The information provided on this website does not create any patient-medical expert relationship and must not be used in any way as a substitute for such.
Haemorrhoids are enlarged veins that appear as lumps, which can be found in and around the rectum and anus. More commonly, they are referred to as 'piles', with an estimation of at least half the UK populus developing them at some point in their life.
It is possible to have a singular haemorrhoid or multiple haemorrhoids. Typically, haemorrhoids will go away by themselves, but in some cases, further investigation and treatment can be required. Haemorrhoids are more prevalent in adults as they age.
There are some factors which can increase a person’s chances of developing haemorrhoids.
Pregnancy and obesity can be linked to a person developing haemorrhoids, as well as old age and hereditary risks. Furthermore, it is widely thought that working in jobs that require heavy lifting can also cause haemorrhoids.
Photo by Brand & Palms from Pexels
There are 3 different types:
Photo by Anand Dandekar form Pexels
There are a variety of symptoms which are related to haemorrhoids. Not everyone will suffer from noticeable symptoms if they have piles, and the severity of the symptoms will depend on the type of haemorrhoids.
In most cases, haemorrhoids will go away by themselves. If constipation is the main cause of haemorrhoids, a person may be prescribed laxatives by a medical expert, as they can prevent further haemorrhoids developing and stop present ones worsening by helping bowel movements pass with less straining.
If a person is suffering from severe pain, due to their piles, there are a number of creams, ointments and suppositories that can be used to ease the pain and discomfort. This includes local anaesthetics, astringents, and topical steroids.
If haemorrhoids are severe or recurrent, it is possible that a person may need more complex treatment. This can entail; sclerotherapy, haemorrhoidectomy or a rubber band ligation.
Photo by JZhuk on iStock
Living with haemorrhoids presents different issues, dependant on the individual case. In some cases, they have little to no impact on a person’s day-to-day life. However, if the haemorrhoids are recurrent, or severe, this can warrant taking further measures.
Piles are typically the result of constipation. To reduce the risk of a person being constipated, eating a balanced diet rich in fibre can help. Foods such as wholemeal bread, pasta and brown rice, along with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables can contribute to a healthy diet. Moreover, drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding sitting down, particularly on a hard or cold surface for long periods of time, can also prevent the development of haemorrhoids.
Photo by EtiAmmos on iStock
Various forms of support are available for people who are finding that their haemorrhoids are having a negative impact on their lives. Some treatment, such as creams and suppositories, can be bought over the counter at pharmacies without a prescription. Additionally, there are aids such as ring-shaped pressure cushions which can alleviate discomfort felt from haemorrhoids.
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels
Medical terms are often baffling and difficult to fully understand. To help, we have listed some frequently used terms below.
Astringents – lotions that can be applied to the skin to limit bleeding from the skin
Haemorrhages – this is where the blood escapes the blood vessel due to a rupture
Laxatives – a medicine which is used to treat or prevent constipation and thus stimulates evacuation of the bowel
Prolapse – used to describe when a body part has fallen, or slipped, out of place from its 'normal' position
Topical steroids – these are the most commonly prescribed topical form of corticosteroids. They have anti-inflammatory properties and can be applied directly to the skin to reduce irritation and inflammation