Hemorrhoid or Piles (in layman’s term) is the most common
problem afflicting the anal canal.
It is estimated that one in four adults is affected by it. If
you’ve experienced painless anal bleeding and itching, painful
swelling or lump near the anus, burning sensation or pain
during or after bowel movements – then you probably have
hemorrhoids or piles. However, not many people know much about
Piles come about when the hemorrhoidal tissues enlarge as a
result of excessive straining or pressure while passing stool.
These could develop from the type of lifestyle and dietary
habits of the individual. Occupations that involve prolonged
sitting (example truck drivers) or standing could develop piles.
Other factors like obesity, pregnancy during childbirth,
heredity or even certain habits like reading in the toilet
can cause hemorrhoids too.
There are basically two types of piles: internal and external.
Internal hemorrhoid cause painless bleeding. Occasionally,
straining can push an internal pile through the anal opening,
giving rise to prolapsed hemorrhoids.
External hemorrhoids are lumps outside the anus. It can swell or
become thrombosis causing pain and bleeding. Usually with bright
red colored blood.
When it comes to treatment, we have to consider the degree of
the hemorrhoids. And there are basically four degrees.
The first degree – internal hemorrhoids that bleed with
defecation but not prolapsed. The treatment of medication such
as cream or ointment is often sufficient.
The second degree – internal hemorrhoids protrude on defecation
but returns spontaneously thereafter. Here, the use of rubber
band ligation could be used. The procedure consist of tying the
base of an internal hemorrhoid to cut off its circulation. About
ten days later, the hemorrhoids painlessly fall off.
The third degree piles are protrusion seen outside the anus.
Fourth degree piles are those irreducible and remain
persistently prolapsed. For both of these types of piles,
surgery is needed. You can expect a lot of pain and discomfort
at the lower part of the anal canal as here the skin is richly
innervated with nerve fibers.
Now, there’s an alternative to painful surgery with a procedure
called ‘Stapled Hemorrhoidectomy’. Here a cuff of rectal mucous
membrane and hemorrhoidal tissue is excised above the sensitive
part of the anal canal, using a stapling instrument. It does not
leave a large or raw wound, hence less painful.
This procedure is more expensive but has become popular over the
last three years. However, it cannot be performed on all cases
of hemorrhoids such as external hemorrhoid and those with
excessive skin tags.
Piles are preventable and symptoms can be controlled if managed
at an early stage without resorting to medication or surgery. A
diet high in fiber can prevent constipation and excessive
straining associated with it. My advice is to start now, unless
you want to accumulate “a pile of misery” any time soon!.