Hemorrhoids (Piles): Types, Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

Written by - Reviewed by Consumer Health Digest Team

Published: Aug 12, 2013 | Last Updated: Dec 19, 2018


What is Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anus or rectum which are painful. They are also known as piles.

What Causes Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are not uncommon condition; in fact more cases are diagnosed nowadays. It is common during pregnancy. The underlying etiology of hemorrhoids is the increasing pressure inside the anal veins; which causes swelling thus pain, especially when sitting.

The major cause of hemorrhoids is over straining especially due to constipation. Add to that, it can be caused by the following conditions:

  • Infections in the anus
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Working while sitting for long time

There are Two Types of Hemorrhoids Depending on its location:

  • Internal hemorrhoids: those are found in the anus itself
  • External hemorrhoids: those are found at the opening of the anus and they may be found hanging outside it

What are the Common Problems can people have?

Hemorrhoids are very common illness nowadays. Almost 50% of people above 50 years will have hemorrhoids during their life; they had to deal with pain, itching, bleeding, and discomfort due to hemorrhoids.

There are many good options for the treatment of hemorrhoids. Most of the patients get relief by adopting some home-based tips and healthy lifestyle modifications.


What are the Symptoms of Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids can result in wide range of symptoms; following are some of them:

  • Itching at the anus or around it
  • Pain in the anus especially when sitting
  • Bleeding with stools
  • Finding blood on the toilet tissue or bowel
  • Severe pain during defecation
  • Hard painful masses at or around the anus
  • However, the above symptoms can be easily prevented by keeping your colon healthy. You can use a colon health supplement or a probiotic such as Visbiome which can flush out all the toxins, thus preventing any chances of Hemorrhoids.

How to Diagnose Hemorrhoids?

Most of hemorrhoids cases can be diagnosed by simple examination of the anus and rectum. Sometimes the doctor may perform some tests to diagnose hemorrhoids; those include the following:

  • Fecal occult blood which detects blood in the stools
  • Endoscopy of the sigmoid colon
  • Endoscopy of the anus

What are the Treatments of Hemorrhoids?

There are many options for treatment of hemorrhoids; following are the three major types:

  • Using steroids cream to relieve the pain; most of those steroids are available over the counter
  • Special hemorrhoids cream to reduce the pain; especially those with Lidocaine
  • Softeners of stools which are used to treat constipation thus relieving straining

Witch hazel which can be used to relieve itching around the anus; many other methods are available; following are some of them:

  • Always use cotton underwear
  • Don’t use perfumed toilet papers
  • Don’t use colored toilet papers
  • Try to use baby tissues in toilet
  • Don’t scratch the anus

Using special baths known as Sitz baths can reduce the swelling and pain; it is performed using warm water. You have to do these baths daily and at least for fifteen minutes.

Hemorrhoids Surgery – Is it Effective?


If you do not feel better after adopting all the previous recommendations, you can ask your doctor to treat your hemorrhoids with heat to shrink its size. This is known as infrared coagulation. Some patients can avoid surgical option by applying this method.

Surgical option is the last one on the list of hemorrhoids treatments. It may include surgical removal of hemorrhoids; which is known as hemorrhoidsectomy, and rubber band ligation. This is done after trying all the previous options or for patients with severe constant anal pain or severe bleeding.

Some complications may occur after the surgical removl of hemorrhoids; especially difficulty urinating, some infections in the urinary tract, and the major problem is recurrence of hemorrhoids.

Almost all patients after the surgery will experience pain on the anus or around it. Some pain killers will relieve this pain. Using special baths known as Sitz baths can reduce the swelling and pain; it is performed using warm water. You have to do these baths daily and at least for fifteen minutes.

What Mayo Clinic is saying about Hemorrhoids?

According to Mayo clinic, following are the recommended methods to relieve the pain due to hemorrhoids in home:

  • Soak the anus in warm water several times daily
  • Put witch hazel using cotton on the anus and change it frequently
  • Apply cold objects on the anus
  • Clean the anal area carefully
  • Do not sit for long time
  • Use some special hemorrhoids creams to relieve the pain

What are the Prognosis and Preventions?

Chronic constipation and recurrent straining will increase your risk of having hemorrhoids.
Following these recommendations may lower your risk:

  • Drink good amount of water; at least one litre of water daily
  • Add more fibers on your diet; eat more vegetables, whole grains, and fruits
  • You can use supplementation of fibers
  • Use some softeners of stools to relieve straining
  • Contact your doctor regarding your chronic constipation
  • Do not over use over the counter laxatives
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