Haemorrhoids

Haemorrhoids, also known as piles, are found inside or around the bottom. They are enlarged veins that can cause itchiness, discomfort, pain and at times bleeding when emptying your bowels.

Internal haemorrhoids are found in the rectum, whereas external haemorrhoids develop under the skin around the anus. It is possible to have both internal and external haemorrhoids at the same time.

The condition is extremely common, and haemorrhoids often disappear within a few days.

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Symptoms

Haemorrhoid symptoms are usually easy to spot and can include:

  • Bleeding after pooing
  • Itching around the bottom area
  • Discomfort, lumps and pain around the anus
  • Feeling like you still need the toilet after emptying your bowels and mucus in the toilet bowl

While symptoms are usually relatively mild, causing little to no pain, some people experience more severe pain.

Causes

The most common cause of haemorrhoids is constipation. Lifestyle changes can be made to try to avoid constipation, such as keeping hydrated, being mindful about your caffeine and alcohol intake, exercising regularly, going to the toilet as and when you need to, and eating a fibre-rich diet.

Constipation usually leads to straining when emptying your bowels, which increases pressure on the blood vessels, so it is recommended to refrain from pushing too hard.

Obesity, being pregnant, regularly lifting heavy objects and age are also all factors that can increase the chances of having haemorrhoids.

Treatment

The symptoms of haemorrhoids often disappear without the need for medical treatment.

There are over-the-counter medications to treat haemorrhoids at home. Creams and ointments are available, as well as suppositories (solid medicines that are inserted inside the anus).

Painkillers like paracetamol can help, however it is recommended to avoid painkillers such as codeine that contain opioids, which can lead to constipation.

If haemorrhoids still persist, you should see your GP or a specialist, like Mr Hornung.

There are several non-surgical treatment options available including:

  • Banding – a small plastic band is placed around the haemorrhoid, reducing the blood supply, encouraging the pile to shrink and fall off within around a week
  • Electrotherapy – a gentle electric current is applied to the piles to shrink them.

In some cases, surgery is needed to remove piles. Patients undergoing a haemorrhoid procedure will be put under general anaesthetic and generally a short hospital stay is required. Your specialist will be able to advise you on the most appropriate treatment for you.

To find out more or make an appointment with Mr Hornung, please call 0161 495 6148