Hemorrhoids (piles) is a condition when the veins around the anus or lower rectum are dilated, swollen, and inflamed. This condition is very common, especially during pregnancy and after childbirth.
Hemorrhoids arise from a plexus of dilated arteriovenous channels and connective tissue with the veins. The piles are located in the submucosal layer in the lower rectum.
Hemorrhoids result from increased pressure in the veins of the anus. The pressure causes the veins to bulge and expand, making them painful, particularly when you are sitting. The most common cause is straining during bowel movements. Hemorrhoids may result from constipation, diarrhea, and sitting for long periods of time. Piles are estimated to occur in up to one-half of the population by age 50.
There are two forms of hemorrhoids: external and internal, depending on their location. Hemorrhoids that form above the dentate line between the rectum and anus are called internal hemorrhoids. Those that form below the anorectal junction are called external hemorrhoids. Both internal and external hemorrhoids may remain in the anus or protrude outside the anus.
Many people believe they have hemorrhoids. However, the similar anorectal discomfort may be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as a fissure, or a simply an anal irritation following a bowel movement. On the other hand, not everyone who has hemorrhoids experiences symptoms.
Symptoms of hemorrhoids include:
What can help with hemorrhoids?
Self-Care at home
If the symptoms are mild you can relieve pain, irritation and itching with the application of hemorrhoidal creams or suppositories. Several products containing local anesthetic (benzocaine, dibucaine, or pramoxine) or hydrocortisone are used to reduce pain, itching and burning.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can help to relieve pain and inflammation.
The prevention of constipation (hard or infrequent stools) and diarrhea is the priority for avoiding exacerbation of hemorrhoids:
Relieving the pain and irritation:
Fixative (non-surgical) procedures
In serious cases of hemorrhoids (e.g. prolapsed internal piles), medical intervention may be necessary. Several non-surgical techniques are used to treat internal and external hemorrhoids:
Hemorrhoidectomy is a surgical procedure which permanently removes the hemorrhoids. Surgery may be used if other measures fail. However, hemorrhoid surgery may result in severe pain.