Haemorrhoids or piles are a very common condition that will affect half of the population at some point in their lives. It's not considered a serious health problem, but when it occurs it can be very uncomfortable, causing you to experience itching or pain. Piles can go away without treatment, but there are instances where symptoms can be so uncomfortable or persistent that prescription treatment is required or surgery, although the latter is quite drastic and should ideally be avoided.
Haemorrhoids are swollen rectal blood vessels that become inflamed. These blood vessels become swollen because of irritation as a result of pressure most commonly caused by constipation. The symptoms of haemorrhoids can be internal or external or both.
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Internal haemorrhoids are essentially inflamed vascular structures that are rich in blood vessels. Inflammation occurs because of pressure that causes irritation and results in an immune response. Sometimes the inflammation can be so severe that these structures prolapse and push their way through the anal opening. When this happens internal haemorrhoids should not be confused with external haemorrhoids. External haemorrhoids are far less common and are blood clots that form around the edge of the anal opening.
There are several risk factors that can increase the likelihood of a person developing this condition such as old age; a diet that is low in fibre and that often leads to constipation; lifting heavy objects or being obese. Some people can also be more prone to them because it runs in the family.
Piles can sometimes be asymptomatic, but when symptoms do occur they can cause discomfort. They may include: bright red blood after passing stools, piles hanging through the anal opening that need to be pushed back after passing stools, mucous or discharge after passing stools, itching, a sore or sensitive anus or a desire to pass stools even when bowels are empty.
There is no direct way to prevent haemorrhoids but you can reduce your chances of developing it by eliminating some of the risk factors. You can try to add more fibre in your diet, drink more water and do more exercise to keep your bowel movements regular. You may also want to avoid excessive alcohol use. Losing weight if you are currently overweight can also reduce your risk of developing piles.
How haemorrhoids are treated is largely dependent on their severity. Mild cases can often go away on their own if patients take steps to improve their diet. Taking in more fibre and fluid can make stools softer and far less likely to cause further irritation. You may also choose to use a laxative to deal with constipation.
If your symptoms aren't going away with the help of diet and exercise then over-the-counter or prescription treatments are an option. Prescription haemorrhoid treatments such as: Anusol HC, Anugesic HC, Proctofoam, Proctosedyl, Scheriproct, Ultraproct, Uniroid, Xyloproct or Betnovate, can offer immediate topical relief from symptoms while also reducing swelling. Haemorrhoid treatments are commonly available in the form of gels, ointments, creams, foams or suppositories that can be used externally and/or internally.
In extreme cases where haemorrhoidal swellings are quite large and won't go away with the help of a more fibrous diet or prescription treatment, medical procedures such as injections, surgery or infra-red coagulation can be considered. These procedures all involve the actual removal or shrinking of piles.
Prescription treatments are available online. Simply place an order and ensure that you complete the online consultation. Our doctors will review your consultation and provide a prescription if the treatment of your choice is safe for you to use. All prescriptions are processed by a registered pharmacist and shipped via overnight delivery so you can start your treatment as soon as possible.