In general, when people talk about piles, they refer to any medical condition around anal opening. But, Piles is a condition where the veins become swollen around the anal opening. Piles are usually confused with Anal Fissure and Anal Fistula. Read the following sections to know more about piles.

Grades of Piles (Stages of Piles)

There are 4 stages of piles and are used to describe the severity of the disease, with stage 1 being mildly serious with no swelling and stage 4 showing a prolapsed haemorrhoid with high inflammation in the surrounding area.

If the Piles is in the first three stages, then it can be treated with Medical Management and Laser Treatment. If piles are in Stage 4 then it has to be surgically treated.

Causes

Usually, old people are at a higher risk of piles, but this does not mean that younger people will not develop piles. Although age is one of the factors which may cause piles due to weakened muscles, it is not the only factor. The other causes of piles are:

  • The increased pressure in the rectum (for eg. spending a long time in a western-style bathroom contributes to pressure build-up) causes the veins to swell and form a haemorrhoid.
  • Straining while passing stools.
  • Medical conditions such as chronic constipation or chronic diarrhoea.

Symptoms

Some of the symptoms that suggest that someone might have piles are:

  • The patient experiences rectal bleeding while passing stools.
  • There is constant discomfort in the rectum, even when empty.
  • A persistent itching sensation is felt in the anal area along with mucus discharge. The mucus discharge is a reaction seen from the body because of the haemorrhoid (much like phlegm during a cold).
  • There is a constant sharp pain felt in the anus and as the haemorrhoid grows, it can prolapse out of the anus.

Treatment

There are several treatment options for piles. If you have Piles of Grade I, Grade II and Grade III then the doctor will treat you with medicines or minimally invasive treatments. If you have grade IV then the doctor will choose for open surgery. Some of the surgical options which doctor might choose are:

  • LASER HEMORRHOIDOPLASTY: It is the most modern and safest method of surgery to cure piles (only for stages 1 and 2). It involves using a laser to shrink the haemorrhoid which then withers and falls off.
  • RUBBER BAND LIGATION: The most common method used to cure piles is rubber band ligation. It involves tightly banding the haemorrhoid at its base thus cutting off blood supply to the swollen veins. This causes the treated tissue to fall off.
  • SCLEROTHERAPY: The needle injects chemicals into the haemorrhoid and causes the veins, which are inflamed, to collapse on itself thus curing piles. Another condition where sclerotherapy is used is for varicose veins.
  • HEMORRHOIDECTOMY: This is the most traditional method of surgery done for curing piles. It involves the surgeon cutting off the haemorrhoid and then stitching the skin. This type of surgery could cause minor complications.

It is advisable to consult a doctor before opting for either surgical or medical treatment options.

Complications

Surgery for piles are, for most of the part, very safe. However, a few complications that can arise after a piles surgery are infections on the treated area, difficulty in passing stools and infection of the urinary tract.

PREVENTION

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some preventive methods for piles that will help you keep piles at bay:

  • Avoid Straining while passing stool.
  • Avoid sitting for too long.
  • Have a healthy and balanced diet.
  • Drink plenty of liquids.

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