Piles can range from mildly uncomfortable to extremely painful depending on their level of severity.
Piles are known in the medical world as haemorrhoids. They are swellings that contain large blood vessels inside or around the rectum and anus. They can range from mildly uncomfortable to extremely painful depending on their level of severity.
A person may only realise that they have piles when they notice certain symptoms. Noticing bright red blood after using the toilet
(passing a stool) is a common symptom. In other cases, a person may experience an itch in that general area which does not go away.
It is common to experience soreness and tenderness around your anus when piles have occurred. For some people, it may feel constant or in other cases, it may be triggered after passing a stool.
There may be a physical lump that protrudes outsides of the anus while passing the stool. It may temporarily disappear or remain outside the anus causing daily pain when doing basic activities such as walking or sitting.
As a general rule, any bleeding that occurs in your rectum or anus should be investigated by a doctor. For this reason, it should be raised with your GP – particularly if the blood is bright in colour as that suggests the blood is fresh and persistent.
The exact cause of pies is not always known but there are a number of factors that can increase your chances of experiences them. All of these issues lead to increased pressure in the blood vessels around your anus. The pressure can cause the blood vessels to become inflamed and swollen.
Constipation may lead to piles. It is thought that the pressure and straining when trying to use the toilet can lead to a build-up of pressure. In these cases increasing the amount of fibre and water intake in your diet can improve the issue.
People who are overweight are also more at risk of developing piles due to a number of physical and lifestyle factors that are associated with it. A person’s age and family medical history can play a part also. As we get older our body’s supports and tissues become weaker and this can increase the risk of piles.
Piles are extremely common in pregnancy
. Pregnancy places a huge amount of pressure on the blood vessels in your pelvic area. The hormone relaxin also causes your muscles and joints to become looser in preparation for giving birth. Your doctor may recommend light exercise, dietary changes or a change in the way you care for that area of your body in terms of how you maintain hygiene after passing a stool.
Your doctor may recommend a topical cream or suppository to help ease the pain and inflammation. Some of these contain an active steroid and are therefore not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women. There are safe alternatives though.
In extreme cases, there are some medical procedures which can remove the piles. Banding is a method whereby a band is applied to the piles to cut off the blood supply and encourage them to simply fall off. There are also surgical procedures which are carried out during general anaesthetic which aim to remove the piles.
In many cases piles calm down in their own time. If it is a reoccurring issue for you it is important to seek medical advice.
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.