Haemorrhoids, or piles, are enlarged varicose veins in the anus. Haemorrhoids can occur inside or at the opening of the anus, and can also protrude outside the anus.
What causes haemorrhoids?
Haemorrhoids may be caused by straining to go to the toilet when you are constipated, as this increases the pressure in the veins. Piles are common during pregnancy, and can also be caused by the pushing and straining of childbirth. The tendency to develop varicose veins and piles often runs in families.
What are the symptoms?
Haemorrhoids may cause symptoms such as pain and bleeding when passing a stool, and soreness and itching around the opening of the anus. After passing a stool, it may also feel like the bowel has not emptied completely.
What should I do if I have these symptoms?
It is important to consult a doctor if you have these symptoms, particularly bleeding, as they may be caused by other conditions. Children who have an itchy bottom are more likely to have worms than piles.
What can the doctor do?
After an examination, the doctor will decide on the best treatment. If the haemorrhoids are severe, they can be removed. The doctor may recommend a cream to help reduce the pain and swelling.
What can I do?
* Increase the amount of fibre in your diet, including green vegetables, fresh fruit, wholegrain cereals, and bran.
* Drink at least two and a half litres of water a day.
* Exercise, such as swimming, may help.
* Try not to strain when passing a stool.