What are Piles?
What Are Piles?
Occasionally, you may hear people refer to having "piles" and might pause, wondering what on earth they are referring to. You probably wonder, Piles of what? However, when someone says that they are experiencing "piles", they are almost certainly referring to hemorrhoids. Piles is just another term for the condition, and sometimes people prefer using it over the more cringe-inducing term "hemorrhoids".
What, then, are piles exactly? First of all, piles - or hemorrhoids - are a very common condition. They are also not something to become overly worried about; they are by no means a medical emergency, in most cases. Essentially, piles occur when the small, sensitive veins in the rectal and anal region experience dramatic increases in pressure and become swollen. They come in varying degrees of severity, and can happen internally or externally.
Internal piles, or internal hemorrhoids, are the kind that are located within the rectum. These are unseen, and may even go unnoticed for great periods of time. The main symptom that people experience when they have internal piles is vague discomfort and itching around the anus. This itching is usually caused by the excess mucu that can be secreted by these internal hemorrhoids.
Another very common sign of internal piles is bleeding. People often see bright red blood on their toilet paper tissue after having a bowel movement. Sometimes, the person might notice such blood on the toilet seat, or floating in the water of the toilet bowl. They may even notice blood on the feces itself. This happens because of the straining and pushing involved in having a bowel movement; it can increase the already high pressure on hemorrhoidal veins, causing them to bleed.
When the veins beneath the skin around the outside of the anus swell up due to increased pressure, the result is external piles. These are usually much more obvious than internal piles. External hemorrhoids can be easily felt, since they are located on the outside of the rectum. People experience much more pain and discomfort when they have external piles.
Indeed, pain is the primary symptom of external piles, other than their obvious physical presence. Sometimes, the simple act of sitting down can be painful when external piles are very pronounced or large. These types of hemorrhoids can also bleed, and itching is also very typical with this type of condition. Generally speaking, external piles are the more unpleasant of the two kinds of hemorrhoids.
Causes of Piles
Piles are caused by many different factors. Being overweight can increase your likelihood of suffering from piles. Pregnancy is also a major cause, especially the pushing during childbirth and delivery. Growing older and aging is another risk factor, as the tissues and muscles in the body generally degenerate, becoming weaker and more susceptible to hemorrhoids.
Proper bathroom habits are important to avoiding piles. A frequent cause of a case of piles is spending too much time on the toilet when trying to have a bowel movement. Also, rushing to complete a bowel movement can cause excess strain and result in hemorrhoids. Diets low in fiber and high in fat are also major culprits in having problems with bowel movements, resulting in piles.