Piles- Causes, symptoms and Treatments

Piles- Causes, symptoms and Treatments

Piles are another name for hemorrhoids, which appear in the anal canal. Although not very obvious but many people have it. They contain blood vessels, supporting tissue, elastic fiber, and muscle in them.

Piles show up when anal tissues and vein are inflamed. They can be of any size and are present inside or outside the anus. The common reasons to get piles are constipation, diarrhea, heavy weight lifting, pregnancy and many more.

This article will explain the causes of piles, its diagnosis and treatment options. Keep reading for all these details.

What are piles?

Piles show a condition where anal tissues are inflamed and swollen. The internal piles can have a size between 2 and 4 centimeters (cm) and are located above the opening of the anus. These internal piles are much more common than external piles. External piles show up on the outside edge of the anus.

Common sighs of piles

Most of the times there are no chronic symptoms of piles. Many times the poles are not a serious health concern and they go away on their own without treatment. Some common symptoms of piles are as follows.

  • A hard and painful lump on or around the anus
  • Feeling an uncomfortable sensation during and after passing stool
  • Spotting blood in the stool
  • Itchiness around anus
  • Painful stool
  • Excessive anal bleeding
  • Infection
  • inability to control bowel movements
  • anal fistula

Also read- What exactly is hemorrhoid and how to get rid of it?

Stages of piles

Usually, piles are classified into four grades.

Grade 1 piles: it shows minor inflammation usually inside the anus. It is not visible and the patient feels uncomfortable during passing a stool.

Grade 2 piles: it is larger in size than grade 1 of piles but still not visible. Sometimes these lumps come out when passing stool. They go back inside anus afterward on their own.

Grade 3 piles: these piles are prolapsed hemorrhoids and are located outside the anus. It feels hanging from rectum but a person can re-insert them inside the anus.

Grade 4 piles: this is the last stage of piles when they cannot be pushed back to the anus. This stage requires a treatment otherwise large hanging lumps remain outside anus and feel uncomfortable.

What causes piles?

The only reason to cause piles is increased pressure on your lower rectum. When there is extra pressure, the blood vessels inside and around the anal are stretched. It results to cause swelling, forming lumps and this condition is called piles.

The increased lower rectum pressure can be due to

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight lifts
  • Pregnancy

Some genetic factors may also play a role and result in the development of piles with age.

Diagnosis of piles by a doctor

If anyone suspects having piles, the best is to consult a doctor. Only a doctor can diagnose piles after a physical examination of anus. Also, expect the following questions from the doctor.

  • Any family history of piles
  • Spotting blood in the stool
  • Spotting mucus in stool
  • A sudden weight loss
  • Any change in bowel movement
  • Color of stool
  • History of constipation
  • Any recent case of diarrhea

The internal piles are not visible to the eye. That is why for internal piles, the doctors perform a digital rectal examination (DRE) or check with a proctoscope.

A proctoscope is a device that has a hollow tube along with a light. It gives a better vision of the anal canal to the doctor. For verification, the doctor can also take a small sample from the rectum. A lab analysis of the tissue verifies piles.

The doctor may also recommend a colonoscopy if a piles patient also experience other digestive problems. Rarely, it can be a sign of colorectal cancer. It is better to diagnose it on time.

Treatment for piles

Most of the times, piles go away naturally without requiring any treatment or medicine. However, some cases may turn to a chronic stage where they show extreme discomfort and itching. At that stage, it is necessary to treat piles immediately. Some of the things that can help to treat piles are as follows.

Natural treatment of piles

A doctor may ask you to make some lifestyle changes to manage piles. For example, in your diet, you must eat food that is easy on your digestive system. One of the common reasons to develop piles is straining during bowel movements. This excessive straining can be due to constipation. So a diet that doesn’t let you have constipation is ideal.

Eat fresh and healthy food that keeps the stool soft. Eat foods that are higher in fiber such as fruit, vegetables, and bran-based cereals. The doctor will also ask you to increase your water intake and limited caffeine.

Next, the best to get rid of piles is by losing weight. It works most of the times and reduces the occurrence and severity of piles. Do not do exercises that put pressure in the lower rectum.

Medicinal treatment of piles

Piles are not a severe health problem and there are many medicines available to treat it.

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications

There are many over the counter medicines that are available at every local pharmacy or online. These medicines include painkillers, ointments, creams, and pads to soothe inflammation and redness due to piles.

Most of these medicines do not treat piles but ease the symptoms. It is not advised to use them in the long run, as they may damage the skin. The skin around the anus is very delicate and the continuous use of such healing creams, ointments, and pads may irritate it. It piles remain consistent, it is better to consult a doctor.

Some of the medicines that help to ease piles symptoms are

  • Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain.
  • Laxatives to make the stool soft so that it can pass easily.

Also read- https://reportshealthcare.com/3131/hemerrhoid-surgery-recovery-time/Hemorrhoid Surgery and Recovery Time

Surgery treatment for piles

According to NHS Direct, every 1 in 10 piles patient need surgery. However, it is only performed when a doctor finds it necessary. There are more clinical options available that a doctor can perform on piles. Some of them as below.


In banding, the doctor ties piles lump with an elastic band on its base. This way he cuts off its blood supply. It takes a few days for the lump to fall off. This is a highly effective method to get rid of piles. However, only a doctor can perform it.


A doctor may inject a medicine into the lump that shrinks it. It dries and falls off on its own. It is a clinical alternative of banding.

Infrared coagulation

In this procedure, the doctor will use a device to burn the hemorrhoid tissue. This is only performed on initial grade hemorrhoids.


In this surgical procedure, the lump causing the bleeding is removed. There are so many ways to do it. Usually, it requires sedation or general anesthesia. This is the most effective procedure to remove piles. It may come with some health risks i.e. urinary tract infections after the surgery.

Hemorrhoid stapling

In this procedure, the doctor will block blood flow to the hemorrhoid tissue. It is a minor and less painful procedure than surgery. However, hemorrhoid may recurrence after it. In extreme cases it may end up at rectal prolapse, causing parts of the rectum to come out of the anus.

Final words

While they are discomforting and painful, piles do not cause any fatal health risk. It is easy to manage piles by losing weight, eating healthy and hydrating your body. But in case of a complication, the best is to take help from a doctor.

The surgical treatment options are the best for removing piles. However, the doctor may decide the best treatment plan for a person as per individual factors. Piles can be genetic, due to constipation or diarrhea. Each case needs a different treatment that only a medical expert can advise. Do not try any surgical procedure at home as it may turn the condition worst.




The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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