Piles - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Piles, also known as hemorrhoids, are a condition in which your veins of the lower anus or rectum get swollen like that of varicose veins. Internal hemorrhoids are the ones that develop inside the rectum. Whereas external hemorrhoids are the ones that reach outside the anus. Piles is a treatable condition, most often by lifestyle changes or sometimes surgery. Natural remedies can also help comfort you sometimes if you have piles. 


The symptoms of piles differ in their types. 

External Hemorrhoids

They are the ones that develop outside the anus. Their signs and symptoms are;

  • Itching around the anal area

  • Irritation in your anal region

  • Pain or discomfort

  • Swelling around your anus

  • Bleeding

Internal Hemorrhoids

They are the ones that develop inside the rectum. Mostly they do not cause any symptoms. However, they can cause the following symptoms when you strain for bowel movement or pass stool;

Bleeding with stool. The blood is bright red in color.

The hemorrhoid that tries to push itself outside the anus- prolapsed hemorrhoid that causes pain. 

Thrombosed Hemorrhoids

A thrombosed hemorrhoid forms a thrombus outside the anus due to the pulling down of blood. Usually, external hemorrhoids turn into thrombosed hemorrhoids. It shows the following signs and symptoms;

  • Severe pain in the anal region

  • Swelling and inflammation at the anal region

  • A hard lump near the anus


Normally, your anus is lined with blood vessels, surrounded by spongy tissues that serve as anal cushions and let your anus close. However, when the blood vessels get enlarged or swollen due to long-term strain, it can lead to small, discolored, and round lumps- a condition called piles. Increased pressure can occur on the anus due to activities like;

  • Straining for bowel movements

  • Sitting for long periods, especially on the toilet 

  • Having anal intercourse

  • Eating a low-fiber diet

  • Lifting heavy weights for a long time

  • Having chronic diarrhea 

  • Having chronic constipation

  • Being obese

  • Being pregnant

Risk Factors

As you age, the chances of getting piles increase as your tissues weaken upon the strain. It can also happen when you are pregnant because the baby puts pressure on your anal region. 


The complications of piles are;

Anemia- long-term blood loss through anus can lead to anemia- a condition in which hemoglobin falls below normal.

Strangulated hemorrhoid- when blood supply to an internal hemorrhoid is cut off, it causes extreme pain and discomforts- a condition called strangulation of hemorrhoid. 

Blood clot- this is quite rare that a hemorrhoid can form a thrombus. It is not life-threatening. But it is extremely painful that it needs to be drained or lanced. 


To prevent piles, you can practice the following tips.

Try to keep your stool soft. For that, drink plenty of water, eat cucumbers, watermelons, and bulk-containing fruits. 

You must eat a fiber-rich diet as it helps prevent constipation. 

Do not put extra strain while passing the stool.

As soon as you feel the urge to defecate, do that. If you delay the urge, the stool may dry out, turning into harder stools. 

Do not sit in the same position for a long time.

Exercise daily, as it helps prevent constipation. However, try not to lift heavy weights as it can put pressure. 

Do not sit for too long on the toilet seat. 


Piles is a condition in which your veins of the lower anus or rectum get swollen like that of varicose veins. It is not a life-threatening condition. But it can be painful and discomforting at times. If you have piles, you must try not to strain too much during bowel movements and practice tips to prevent constipation and diarrhea. 

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