The condition of piles, also known as hemorrhoids, can effect people of any age, but is most common in adults and particularly pregnant women. They are lumpy areas of the anus where blood vessels have swollen, causing the tissue to bulge. While everyone has piles to some degree, many people do not notice them. More severe cases can cause itching, pain and discomfort. Fortunately for those who suffer from them, there are several effective treatments.
It is unclear exactly what group of factors causes piles. Pregnancy is known to increase a woman's chance to develop irritating or painful hemorrhoids, but the exact nature of onset is unsure. It is also believed that straining during bowel movements, prolonged time sitting on the toilet, and firm, dry stool can lead to them. There are several courses of action to help prevent the onset of piles, based on these causes.
In order to help prevent piles, is suggested that people drink plenty of water and maintain a high fiber diet. Fruits, vegetables, grains and cereals are good sources of natural fiber. Fiber supplements can also be used. Staying hydrated and keeping plenty of fiber in the diet encourages softer stool. The softer stool and less straining during bowel movements is thought to reduce their occurrence, as well as the irritation to existing ones. It is recommended that patients do not linger on the toilet longer than necessary.
In patients already suffering from piles, good bathroom hygiene can help to reduce the pain and irritation. There are also a number of over-the-counter (OTC) medications to treat hemorrhoids. Some of these medications claim to help reduce swelling, although this will not permanently treat them. OTC medications primarily help to alleviate the symptoms most commonly associated with hemorrhoids: itching, bleeding, discomfort, and pain. Many sufferers find temporary relief using OTC medications.
In more severe cases, often when the piles are protruding from the anus, a doctor can perform a number of procedures. If the hemorrhoids do not respond well to medication, the doctor may apply more potent chemicals or direct heat to them, causing scarring and a reduction in size. Various forms of surgery can also be used, including removing them completely, or sewing the bulging tissue back into place so that it no longer causes irritation.
Other, sometimes more serious conditions can have similar symptoms to piles. It is always a good idea to see a doctor or medical professional, who can properly diagnose your condition and suggest the appropriate treatment. Those patients diagnosed with hemorrhoids can then take any number of steps to help relieve their symptoms and treat the condition.