Piles, or hemorrhoids, is an extremely common ailment. An estimated 75% of all adults suffer from piles at one time or another. Known symptoms of piles include itchy bottom, bleeding after passing stool, mucus discharge, soreness and swelling around the anus. However, the symptoms are not even noticeable for some cases and some people don’t even realise they have them.
Piles happen when veins in the anus and lower rectum swell up. These swollen veins can cause discomfort or bleeding when defecating. Internal hemorrhoids occur inside the rectum and external hemorrhoids refer to swollen veins that develop under the skin around the anus.
Causes of Piles
The occurrence of hemorrhoids in Singapore are not uncommon and there is a range of possible causes for any case of piles. Because of the ambiguity of the ailment, doctors typically cannot identify the exact cause for one’s condition but they are associated with increased pressure in the blood vessels in and around the anus.
However, many cases are thought to be caused by the following factors:
- A low fibre diet
A low fibre diet can lead to an increased risk of trouble with bowel movements or smaller volumes of stool. As such, more strain is exerted during bowel movements to pass the stool. This leads to more pressure on the blood vessels within and around the anal opening, causing them to swell.
Pregnancy is a common culprit for cases of piles. The growing uterus places a huge amount of additional pressure on the abdomen, rectum and anus, causing a spike in pressure on the veins and resulting in swelling. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also cause muscles around the anus to weaken, causing increased pressure on the blood vessels because of a less stable structure.
As one gets older, the body’s supporting tissues get weaker thus increasing your risk of haemorrhoid, which is more common in people between the ages of 45 and 65.
- Constipation or Chronic Diarrhoea
Prolonged and excessive straining while having a bowel movement could lead to hemorrhoids, due to the increased pressure on the anus. Try to elevate your feet with a step stool that could allow for easier passage of stools as you sit on the toilet.
There is a strong link between being overweight and hemorrhoids. The excessive weight places pressure on the rectal muscles which can lead to swelling and inflammation. This can be worsened if their diet is too low in fiber.
- Heavy Lifting
Heavy lifting, along with other activities that can cause straining, may lead to haemorrhoid formation as the pressure inside the blood vessels is considerably increased. Learn breathing techniques when you strain and hold your breath, so you can try to push the air towards your throat instead of downwards to help decrease the strain placed on your abdominal and rectal area.
Treatment for Piles
Mild cases of hemorrhoids often clear up on its own or with home treatment and lifestyle modification. If you experience persistent complications, such as bleeding during bowel movements, you should see a doctor for piles. Your doctor can rule out causes to be certain it is not a more serious condition, or recommend medical procedures to shrink or remove the hemorrhoids.