What Are Piles/Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lowest part of your rectum and anus. Sometimes, the walls of these blood vessels stretch so thin that the veins bulge and get irritated, especially when you poop. Hemorrhoids are also called piles.
Hemorrhoids are one of the most common causes of rectal bleeding.
Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are so far inside your rectum that you can’t usually see or feel them. They don’t generally hurt because you have few pain-sensing nerves there. Symptoms of internal hemorrhoids include:
Blood on your poop, on toilet paper after you wipe, or in the toilet bowl
Tissue that bulges outside your anal opening (prolapse). This may hurt, often when you poop. You might be able to see prolapsed hemorrhoids as moist bumps that are pinker than the surrounding area. These usually go back inside on their own. Even if they don’t, they can often be gently pushed back into place.
Your doctor will ask about your medical history and symptoms. They’ll probably need to do one or both of these examinations:
Physical exam. Your doctor will look at your anus and rectum to check for lumps, swelling, irritation, or other problems.
Digital rectal exam. Your doctor will put on gloves, apply lubrication, and insert a finger into your rectum to check muscle tone and feel for tenderness, lumps, or other problems.
To diagnose internal hemorrhoids or rule out other conditions, you might need a more thorough test, including:
Anoscopy / Proctoscopy. Your doctor uses a short plastic/steel tube called an anoscope to look into your anal canal.
Hemorrhoid symptoms usually go away on their own. Your doctor’s treatment plan will depend on how severe your symptoms are.
Nonsurgical treatments. Over-the-counter creams and other medications ease pain, swelling, and itching.
Surgical treatments. If you have large hemorrhoids, or if other treatments haven’t helped, you might need surgery.
Hemorrhoids could lead to problems such as:
Skin tags. When the clot in a thrombosed hemorrhoid dissolves, you may have a bit of skin left over, which could get irritated.
Anemia. You might lose too much blood if you have a hemorrhoid that lasts a long time and bleeds a lot.
Infection. Some external hemorrhoids have sores that get infected.
Strangulated hemorrhoid. Muscles can block the blood flow to a prolapsed hemorrhoid. This may be very painful and need surgery.