The connection between hemorrhoids and piles is that they refer to the same medical condition. Hemorrhoids and piles are swollen and painful veins that appear in the rectum or anal area. In addition to pain, hemorrhoids and piles can cause itching, bleeding, burning, and difficulty sitting. Although common and generally not serious, they can cause significant pain and bleeding if they become thrombosed. This condition causes blood clot formation on the hemorrhoid, and can cause the hemorrhoid to take on a bluish or purple look.
Hemorrhoids and piles can be classified as internal or external. Typically, internal hemorrhoids can be seen and felt, where external ones cannot. Although both types can cause bleeding, prolonged or severe rectal bleeding can signify other serious medical conditions and will need further evaluation. Certain risk factors and conditions can predispose a person to developing hemorrhoids or piles. These include sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time, being pregnant, straining during a bowel movement, and consuming a low-fiber diet. In addition, those who do not drink enough fluid and people who experience chronic constipation might also be susceptible to hemorrhoids and piles.
Typically, treatment for hemorrhoids and piles includes eating a high-fiber diet, taking stool softeners to prevent the passage of hard, irritating bowel movements, and the application of hemorrhoid creams and ointments. These ointments usually have anti-inflammatory and lubricating properties, which can often reduce symptoms quickly and effectively. It is important for people suffering from hemorrhoids and piles to keep the rectal area clean, because urine and stool can further irritate delicate tissue and worsen inflammation and burning. Pre-moistened towelettes and baby wipes are also good ways to keep the rectal area clean, and some of them contain aloe, which is soothing and promotes healing.
Pregnancy commonly causes hemorrhoids and piles because the added weight exerts pressure on rectal veins and surrounding structures. Although hemorrhoid preparations are considered safe to use, the pregnant patient should talk to her health care provider before using them, especially during the first three months, or first trimester, of her pregnancy. In addition, rectal bleeding and rectal pain can often worsen after delivery, as a result straining and pushing during delivery. Increasing fiber intake can often provide hemorrhoid relief following childbirth. Rarely, surgical intervention is required in the treatment of hemorrhoids. There are several surgical options available, and the physician and patient should discuss each method to determine which procedure is best.