Haemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swellings containing enlarged blood vessels found inside or around the bottom (the rectum and anus).
The exact cause of haemorrhoids is unclear. It occurs due to increased pressure in the blood vessels in and around your anus. Chronic (long-term) diarrhoea can also make you more vulnerable to getting haemorrhoids.
Other factors that might increase your risk of developing haemorrhoids include:
In many cases, haemorrhoids don't cause symptoms and some people don't even realise they have them.
However, when symptoms do occur, they may include:
Haemorrhoids aren't usually painful, unless their blood supply slows down or is interrupted. Haemorrhoidectomy is an operation to remove haemorrhoids. It is carried out under general anaesthesia.
Making lifestyle changes to reduce the strain on the blood vessels in and around your anus is often recommended.
Gradually increasing the amount of fibre in your diet – good sources of fibre include fruit, vegetables, wholegrain rice, whole wheat pasta and bread, pulses and beans, seeds, nuts and oats
drinking plenty of fluid – particularly water, but avoiding or cutting down on caffeine and alcohol
There are various treatment options for more severe haemorrhoids. One of these options is banding, a non-surgical procedure where a very tight elastic band is put around the base of the haemorrhoid to cut off its blood supply. The haemorrhoid should fall off after about a week.
Some complications include:
Some other procedures involved:
1) Haemorrhoidal artery ligation is an operation to reduce the blood flow to your haemorrhoids. It's usually carried out under general anaesthetic and involves inserting a small ultrasound probe into the anus. The probe produces high-frequency sound waves that allow the surgeon to locate the vessels supplying blood to the haemorrhoid. Each blood vessel is stitched closed to block the blood supply to the haemorrhoid, which causes it to shrink over the following days and weeks. The stitches can also be used to reduce haemorrhoids that hang down from the anus.
2) Stapling, also known as stapled haemorrhoidopexy, is an alternative to a conventional haemorrhoidectomy. It's sometimes used to treat prolapsed haemorrhoids and is carried out under general anaesthetic. During the operation, part of the anorectal – the last section of the large intestine – is stapled. This means the haemorrhoids are less likely to prolapse. It also reduces the supply of blood to the haemorrhoids, which causes them to gradually shrink.
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