Things you need to know about pile

The use of this term is frequently abused outside the hospital premises. Any reason why people may have some discomfort within the anus is attributed to a pile.
When they bleed from the anus, they often also say it is a pile. When people take sweet things and feel strange down there, they quickly say it is due to a pile. The truth is that it has nothing to do with any of that but rather to an innate abnormality in the arrangement of the blood vessels in that region that make them prone to distension, bursting and bleeding.
Sometimes, abnormal growths within the rectum like cancers increase the pressure on the vessels that increase the tendency to bleed. Besides all that, pain within the anus can be caused by tears sustained within its wall causing plenty of discomfort. Sometimes, there is associated bleeding too.
Speaking now as it is recognised in medicine, a pile refers to the swelling which arises because of the haemorrhoids caused by the abnormality in the disposition of the veins written about in the paragraph above. There are internal haemorrhoids and there are external ones. Most haemorrhoids are not even problematic and the person who has them may be blithely unaware of their presence within their body unless they go for an investigation conducted for some other problem. A good number of times therefore, it is referred to as an incidental finding and may subsequently not require any treatment.
When people who have piles are examined, the swellings associated with the said ailment involve both the blood vessels and the muscle elements in that region and are displayed in particular positions around the anus and are described with respect to a clock. That designation helps a lot in determining the severity of the presentation and aids the treatment approach. A pile therefore, is a haemorrhoid that gets inflamed. It is a mass of tissue resembling a cushion that is full of blood vessels, elastic fibres and muscle tissue together with their support material. We all probably have them but only a handful of people suffer from any of its known symptoms.
The size of piles can vary widely. As said earlier, they can be found within the anus or outside of it. In the United States, half of the adult population is affected by piles in one form or another by the time they are 50 years. Of this number, about half will go to a doctor at some point of their lives to complain of the problem but only a tiny fraction of that number will end up requiring surgery. It is roughly estimated to be about 10 percent.
Those who require such an operation are usually in grades three and four as we shall see shortly. The common causes of piles are as follows:
1) Pregnancy,
2) Lifting of heavy weights,
3) Chronic diarrhoea,
4) Chronic constipation,
5) Straining at all times when passing stools.
In many cases, piles will go away on their own even without treatment. Some of the time, a feeding regimen rich in water, vegetables and other dietary fibre as well as medicinal supports using various types of anal suppositories would also help. When there is associated pain related to swellings existing just outside the anus, sitz baths using warm water with added salt will help reduce the pain. Pain relievers can also be used in support of that. The tendency to develop piles increases with age but there may also be an inherited tendency to develop the condition.
A person who has piles may experience the following symptoms in no particular order. These are;
1) At the beginning, there may be some itching around the anus.
2) There may be pain while stooling.
3) After using the toilet, there could exist a lingering feeling that the rectum has not been fully emptied of its stool contents.
4) A hard lump may also be felt around the anus and it may be painful because of its contents. The lump usually contains coagulated blood and when this happens, it is called a thrombosed external haemorrhoid. This is an emergency and any person who suffers like this should go to the hospital without undue delay.
5) Occasionally, there may be bleeding from the anus following stooling. The blood is typically of a bright red consistency.
6) There may be discharge of mucus as well when such a person passes stools.
Internal haemorrhoids are more common than the external type. They are classified into four grades. These grades are as follows;
Grade1: This is made up of small inflammations inside the lining of the anus. They are not visible and many people who have them at this stage are usually not aware of them unless they bleed at some point.
Grade 2: In this group, the swellings are larger than what obtains in grade one but they are also contained within the anus. When stooling, they may get pushed out of the anus but would usually get back inside without any active help.
Grade 3: In this category, the haemorrhoids are said to have prolapsed. They are found outside the anus. The person would usually feel them hanging out and they can usually be pushed back inside with the aid of a firm pressure from the fingers.
Grade 4: In this group is found the most troublesome haemorrhoids. They prolapse just like in the group above but cannot be pushed back in. They are painful and often would require a doctor’s attention with regards to the pain and the effort to treat it.
When the time comes for a doctor to examine a sufferer of this condition, some questions will initially be asked before the doctor proceeds with a rectal examination. He will want to find out if the following conditions have been seen by the patient. They are:
(1) Whether the stools have had blood stains?
(2) If the stools have had any mucus associated with them?
(3) Has there been any weight loss?
(4) Is there any pain?
(5) Has the colour of the stools changed in any way?
(6) Has there been any recent change in the bowel habits?
(7) Are there any close relatives, parents or siblings, who might have suffered from or currently suffer from this condition?
A doctor will then proceed to perform a digital rectal examination using a lubricated glove to feel around the anus and rectum and to determine whether there is anything of concern. Alternatively, and more effectively, he could perform a procto-sigmoidoscopy to look at the anal canal and the rectum.
This is an instrument that is essentially a hollow tube with a light bulb that enables one see into the dark tunnel. Every detail is thus recorded and a biopsy sample can be obtained thereby to send to a pathologist for histological analysis. This is of absolute importance among people who have symptoms of other problems of the digestive tract including for colorectal cancer. When there is a lingering doubt especially after procto-sigmoidoscopy, a colonoscopy may be requested instead. That is simply because a colonoscope can see farther and deeper than a sigmoidoscope.
Preventive measures you can take by yourself to avoid coming down with haemorrhoids are: (1) Do not strain or make it a habit to strain while defecating.
(2) Avoid using laxatives on a regular basis and almost to the point of abuse.
(3) Exercise moderately as much as you can on a regular basis. You can see that not taking sweets, not drinking milk and not taking soft (sodas) drinks are not a part of the preventive measures recommended here.
Treatment options will not be detailed here because it is better that your attending surgeon offers you the options available based on what his assessment is. However, it is important for you to know that there are various ways of treating this condition.

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