Piles are a collection of tissues and nerves in and around the anus and rectum that get inflamed and swollen to cause pain, discomfort, and itchiness. According to Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, India has an estimated 40,723,288 patients with hemorrhoids. Every year, 10 lac or 1 million new cases of piles are reported in India. The alarming concern is that a growing number of teenagers and young adults are troubled by hemorrhoids, and there is an urgent need to address the problem.
Although piles or hemorrhoids are more common in India today, it does not mean it is normal for the human body. Let's find out more about hemorrhoids and understand how to fight the disease and lead a healthy life.
Why Piles Occur? What are the Causes of Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are a common problem among the elderly population and obese. Often, females experience piles during pregnancy due to the additional pressure on the anal veins. When severe abdominal pressure causes the veins in the anus and rectum to become inflamed, it can lead to irritation, discomfort, and difficulty in movements such as walking, sitting, sneezing, coughing, or even holding your breath.
Diet plays a significant role in the occurrence of piles and hemorrhoids. Often, the urban Indian population reports a higher number of cases than the rural population due to a sedentary lifestyle. Lack of physical activity, inadequate intake of high-fiber food and fluids, or stress are a few reasons that cause constipation and lead to complications of hemorrhoids. Remember that the more you strain over the toilet, the higher are your chances of getting swollen and inflamed veins (piles).
Why do Hemorrhoids Itch?
Hemorrhoids are of two types: internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids occur inside the rectum, under the mucous membranes. And, external hemorrhoids are found just under the skin surrounding the anal region. Usually, internal hemorrhoids do not cause itchiness and discomfort. External hemorrhoids cause itchiness to the patient. However, if internal ones become enlarged and prolapse until they protrude out of the anus, they can also cause problems to the patient.
When an internal hemorrhoid prolapses, it brings along the mucus that irritates the sensitive skin and causes itching. There are other reasons for the uncomfortable itching associated with piles:
- Inflammation – One of the main reasons why hemorrhoids itch is the inflammation of the tissue. As hemorrhoids contain a lot of fluid and pus, the skin stretches intensely and causes itchiness.
- Skin Abrasions – Often, patients suffering from piles find difficulty in standing for long periods or walking. The excess rubbing of the skin in the region can cause flareups of hemorrhoids and lead to skin abrasions.
- Bowel Movements – When a patient is suffering from piles, the simple procedure of passing stools can become an excruciating experience and inflame the hemorrhoids even more. It can lead to itchiness and discomfort.
Why do Piles keep coming back? How to prevent Recurring Hemorrhoids?
Recurring piles is a common phenomenon. Hemorrhoids are nothing but inflammation of the tissue. And, when the veins become inflamed or swollen, piles will keep coming back. The best way to avoid reoccurrences of piles is to use the following tips:
- Include more fiber in your diet. Opt for fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, and home-cooked meals that help with regular bowel movements.
- Dehydration can cause constipation and lead to straining while passing bowels. So, drink plenty of fluids.
- Include physical activity in your routine to ensure easy digestion.
- Do not take suppositories or laxatives without consulting a medical professional. Often, they can lead to diarrhea and worsen the symptoms of hemorrhoids.
Why consult a Surgical Gastroenterologist for Piles and Hemorrhoid Treatment?
Often patients resort to home remedies such as applying aloe vera or green tea bags on the affected region and taking a sitz bath. Although home remedies and OTC hemorrhoids cream may provide temporary relief to the patient, visit a specialist doctor for accurate diagnosis and long-term pain relief.
Sometimes, itchiness and pain while passing stools may not be due to piles but a symptom of something more serious. A GI surgeon is an experienced medical professional in the field of colorectal and anorectal disorders. They have the expertise in treating complications related to hemorrhoids such as excessive bleeding, loss of control over bowel movements, thrombosed hemorrhoids, abscess, anal fistula, necrosis, etc.
With a thorough examination and diagnostic tests including, Digital Rectal Examination (DRE), colonoscopy, etc., they will be able to find out whether the problem is hemorrhoids or there is another reason for your discomfort. The surgeon will suggest medication and surgery depending on the patient's condition and the complexity of the disease.
A GI surgeon is experienced in piles surgery and hemorrhoid treatment. They may use a rubber band ligation technique to block the blood supply to hemorrhoids, sclerotherapy to shrink the inflamed tissue, or a hemorrhoidectomy for surgical removal of the hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoid symptoms may come and go. And, if you are suffering from recurring piles, medical intervention is necessary to treat the anorectal disease. Nothing works like a doctor-administered treatment in ensuring a lasting solution to the hemorrhoid problem.