Pillhub | Piles

Piles

Piles (also known as haemorrhoids) are a very common condition, affecting millions of people in the UK. Piles are small lumps that form around your bottom (anus) that can cause itchiness, pain, and in severe cases, bleeding.

The good news is that piles are harmless the majority of the time and often go away on their own after a few days. However, there are plenty over-the-counter medications out there to help alleviate discomfort and speed up recovery time and prescription medications to help with severe cases.

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What causes piles?

Piles are small swellings that contain enlarged blood vessels that are found inside or around the bottom (the rectum and anus). Although the root cause of piles remains unknown for some, increased pressure on the lower rectum is thought to trigger piles.

Some of the main causes of this include:

• straining during bowel movements
• chronic diarrhoea or constipation
• sitting on the toilet for prolonged periods
• having anal intercourse
• being obese
• being pregnant
• a low-fibre diet

Many suffering from piles do not experience any symptoms, however, symptoms to look out for include:

• bleeding after a bowel movement
• itchiness, pain, redness, or swelling around your bottom
• lumps hanging out of your bottom
• mucus discharged after a bowel movement

Piles are not contagious and cannot be passed from person to person through contact, including sexual intercourse.

• drink plenty of fluids and consume plenty of fibre to keep poo soft
• wipe bottom with damp toilet paper and keep bottom clean and dry
• take a warm bath to ease itching and pain
• use an ice pack wrapped in a towel to ease discomfort
• external piles can be gently pushed back inside
• exercise regularly
• reduce consumption of alcohol and caffeine (like tea, coffee and cola) to avoid constipation
• take paracetamol (if suitable) for painful piles

While mild cases of piles can commonly be treated by home remedies including a high-fibre diet and long, warm baths, others may require over-the-counter medications such as Anusol or prescribed medication like Uniroid or Scheriproct ointments.