What are haemorrhoids?
Haemorrhoids, also called “piles”, are swollen veins found on the inside (internal haemorrhoids) or outside (external haemorrhoids) of the anus. They often feel like soft ‘lumps’ of tissue and are the most common cause of bright rectal bleeding.
What causes haemorrhoids?
What are the symptoms of haemorrhoids?
(i) bright red bleeding. This can result in blood on the toilet paper, blood dripping into toilet bowel, or blood coating the sides of the bowel motion.
(ii) a feeling of fullness, or a lump, in the anal area.
(iii) Itchiness around the anal area making it difficult to clean.
How do you diagnose haemorrhoids?
How do you treat haemorrhoids?
There are several topical medications available that can be used to reduce discomfort and inflammation of the haemorrhoids and surrounding tissue. These are available in creams and suppositories and include a combination of a local anaesthetics, muscle relaxant and steroid anti-inflammatory. Soothing wipes (witch hazel wipes), zinc-based creams and sitz-baths with Epsom can all be effective.
For recurrent or persistent internal haemorrhoids, ‘haemorrhoidal banding’ is one of the most effective treatments. This involves placing an elastic band around the swollen veins, causing the tissue to clot off, and shrink back into place. Most of the time this is done in an endoscopy centre during a colonoscopy. At Gastro IQ, we have ultrathin fibre optic scopes that allow for assessment of the rectum and haemorrhoid banding can be done in clinic.
Once haemorrhoids are successfully treated, it is important to put steps in place to prevent them recurring. Prevention of constipation through dietary changes, gentle laxatives or stool softeners is of utmost importance. Healthy toileting practices such as avoiding ‘straining’ and sitting for long periods on the toilet are also important to implement.