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Piles and Hemorrhoids

The medical term for Piles is Hemorrhoids. There are two forms of hemorrhoids, internal and external. The external ones can be felt and seen. The internal ones are part of the cushioning wall supporting the rectum or back passage, and occasionally they can be prone to prolapsed in which case they can be felt and seen externally.


They cannot be seen normally however unless a special instrument with a camera, known as a proctoscope, is inserted in to the rectum. Piles or hemorrhoids are no more than dilated veins, which have become varicose, similar to those found in the legs. The external ones can also cause an anal irritation or itch. The cause is often related to increase pressure of blood within the abdomen acting as a resistance to blood flowing from the lower part of the body back towards the heart.

Causes of this increase can be pregnancy, obesity, standing for too long, or it may be a familial problem i.e. it runs in the family. Activities such as straining whilst constipated can make this problem worse. Sometimes the discovery of piles is only made when the patient complains of seeing blood after emptying their bowels.

Bleeding from the back passage is frequently attributed to Piles however it must always be investigated fully as there are other more serious causes.

Treatment will depend on their location and size. Often as in pregnancy and constipation, they will disappear once the cause has been removed. Simple treatment involving injecting them to cause them to shrink is normally very successful. Occasionally it is necessary to perform an operation to remove the hemorrhoid and some of the local tissue to prevent them reoccurring, this is known as a Haemorrhoidectomy.

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