Causes and Symptoms of Piles
The symptoms of piles range from a small nuisance to a severe daily distraction. Piles, or hemorrhoids, are painful and embarrassing, and the early symptoms can be hard to detect until the condition has become quite severe and painful.
Unfortunately, treatment is not always as swift and effective as we would like it to be. Perhaps one of the best ways to avoid developing hemorrhoids is to understand what causes them in the first place. In this article, we are going to discuss the most common causes and symptoms of piles, as well as treatment options available.
What Are Piles (Hemorrhoids)?
Hemorrhoids affect about half the world’s population at some point in their lives. That probably makes you feel a little bit better as far as the embarrassment factor goes! You might be wondering what exactly is going on in your nether region to cause such discomfort. Technically speaking, hemorrhoids are blood vessels in and/or outside of the anus that become irritated and swollen. The more severe the blood vessels are irritated, the more painful and discomfort the condition gets.
What Causes Piles?
You’re probably wondering how you ended up with swollen blood vessels in your anus. There are several factors that can contribute to this, all of which we will discuss.
Standing - First, ask yourself if you spend a great deal of time standing upright. Yes, the human body is designed to walk on two legs, but when we stand for long periods of time, everything above the anus begins to weigh down—through the natural force of gravity—which results in added pressure on the blood vessels of the anus.
Diarrhea - You also might have acquired piles due to straining on the toilet, which can be due to several reasons. Excessive bouts of diarrhea can cause strain in the anal area and can cause further irritation if the area is not properly cleansed.
Constipation - The opposite, constipation, can also lead to piles because the anal area strains with the difficulty of trying to produce a movement. A lack of fiber can result in very hard and clumpy feces that can stretch the anus both internally and externally.
Pregnancy - Pregnancy is another common culprit behind hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids can begin to develop early on in the pregnancy, especially if the mother-to-be is overweight. Being overweight can increase anyone’s chance of developing hemorrhoids. As the baby grows, more and more pressure will be exerted down onto the anus and the blood vessels begin to swell under the added pressure. For most women, piles crop up in the last trimester when the baby experiences rapid growth.
The symptoms of piles can affect people differently, after all, no two bodies are the same!
The most common sign of internal hemorrhoids is bleeding. This can occur on the feces, but is most noticeable on the toilet paper used after bowel movement.
Common signs of external piles include swollen lumps surrounding the anus and often a great deal of pain during and after a bowel movement.
Symptoms of both internal and external hemorrhoids includes itchiness and feeling as though your bowels haven’t fully emptied.
Discomfort often occurs after bowel movements with any type of hemorrhoids.
There are plenty of over the counter ointments and creams available. If you don’t have any success with these, you may want to ask your doctor about a prescription suppository. Suppositories are bullet-shaped medicines that are inserted into the anus, usually before bedtime.
If you believe that your hemorrhoids may be caused by constipation, consider taking a fiber supplement or adding fiber-rich foods to your diet. Fiber will help soften your stool, making it easier to pass.
In very severe circumstances, your doctor may suggest that you have the piles surgically removed.