Piles is a very common ailment. Women have higher incidence than men. The reason behind it is not clearly known. It is more commonly seen in adolescent age group and aged persons who all seem to be more tensed.
In medical terminology, piles is known as hemorrhoids. Piles refers to a condition in which the veins around the anus or lower rectum are swollen and inflamed. It is the dilatation (varicosity) of the veins of anus. It appears as bluish coloured swellings due to stagnated blood. Piles arise due to the increased pressure of internal or external veins around the anal canal.
Piles can be both internal and external. Internal Hemorrhoids, unless they are severe, cannot be seen or felt. There is however, a discharge of dark blood. External hemorrhoids can be seen around the outside of the anus, and there is a lot of pain but not much bleeding. In some cases, the veins burst and this results in what is known as bleeding piles.
Symptoms of piles vary, and depend on the type and place of origin. Piles in its initial stage is most commonly found to be without any symptoms.
However, the most common symptoms include –
• Intense pain at the time of passing stool.
• A pain around the anus and lower rectum, which can be quite severe.
• Frequent ineffectual urge for stool without passing stool or without satisfaction of complete evacuation.
• Itching in the rectal area.
• There may be bleeding. This will be bright red blood, not usually mixed in with the motion.
• There is often a feeling of something bulging, or hanging down from the anus.
• If a haemorrhoid at the outside of the anus gets a blood clot, it leads to tender lump.
• Anemia due to profuse bleeding.
• Wind formation in the stomach.
• Sitting becomes difficult due to pain.
If left untreated, piles can lead to complications including, infection, prolapse, necrosis and gangrene. Painful bleeding usually indicates startup of complications.
Haemorrhoids are very common. It is more common in people, who regularly follow a low fibre, and high processed diet, such as processed flour, polished rice, bread etc. The main contributory cause is anything that raises the pressure in the abdomen, which leads the blood vessels to swell and become engorged.
Thus, the main cause of piles include –
– People chronically suffering from constipation.
– Even diarrhoea can cause piles. The strain for passing the stool is the main reason for the development of piles.
– After or during pregnancy, as the baby may press on the main blood vessel that returns blood to the heart.
– Overweight people.
– Physical strain – even coughing for long periods can cause the anal veins to strain.
– General weakness of the tissues of the body.
– Low fiber diet
– Anal intercourse
– Prolonged periods of sitting or standing.
– Strenuous work
– Mental tension
Piles Treatment –
It is usually best to treat piles with the least treatment possible, as even after the most extensive treatments, there is a possibility that they may still return.
Usually, piles becomes better with increased water intake, a high fibre dietary regimen and other measures to correct the constipation. Care for blood loss should be taken to avoid anaemia.
Many times, they settle on their own over a matter of days without any treatment.
Haemorrhoidectomy refers to the removal of the pile by surgery. In this advanced laser treatment, the surgery reduces the pain and blood loss. However, in course of time, there is a possibility of the recurrence of piles even after surgery.
Over the counter drugs, include cream or suppositories. These soothe itching and pain, and cause the swelling and bleeding to diminish.
If the pain is very severe, cold compresses with ice can be helpful.
Homeopathic treatment, under an expert is also an effective way of dealing with this problem.
Haemorrhoids are very common, and may occur even after surgical removal. However, one may follow certain preventive steps to avoid recurrence –
– Avoid becoming overweight, and lose weight if you are.
– Eat a high fibre diet.
– Exercise regularly.
– Take rest and avoid long walks if you are suffering form piles.
– Drink plenty of water and follow regular bowel habits to avoid constipation.
– Use Indian style toilets since the squatting position is better for natural defecation
– If required, pass stool twice a day to avoid constipation.
– Don’t strain to evacuate hard faecal matter.
– Take easily digestible, simple homemade food. Avoid spices, chilli, very hot or cold food, and alcohol.
– Take foods such as green vegetables, ginger, onion, garlic, beetroot, bitter gourd, which helps in healing piles.
– Avoid eating potato, and the yellow variety of pumpkin.
– Take plenty of high fibre fruits especially papaya, mango, lime, jamun, figs, etc.
– Avoid sedentary habits, alcohol, smoking and unnecessary drugs like painkillers.
Some useful home remedies for piles –
– Take 1 table spoon of roasted black cumin seeds and mix with 1 tablespoon of unroasted black cumin seeds and powder both together. Take 1/2 a teaspoon of this mixture with a glass of water once a day.
– Drink a glass of buttermilk with 1/4 tsp carom seed powder (ajwain) and a pinch of rock salt.
– The jamun fruit should be taken with salt every morning for two or three months during its season.
– Soak 2-3 dried figs in a glass of cold water overnight. Have it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Have them for 2-3 weeks for good results. It is effective in the treatment for ordinary as well as bleeding piles.
– Mix 1 teaspoon fresh mint leaves juice with 1 teaspoon lemon juice & 1 tablespoon honey. Take 3 times a day for relief from piles.
– Take ½ cup radish juice in the morning and night for a period of 1 month.
– Boil 1 ripe banana in 1 cup of milk, mash well. Take 3-4 times a day.
– Extract 3 teaspoon of bitter gourd juice, and mix in 1 glass of buttermilk, and drink on an empty stomach every morning, for a month.