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For people across the world, pain in the rectal outlet or the anal canal (anus) is a common problem, but they are too shy to discuss this issue even with a doctor. About half the people in America suffer from some form of hemorrhoids, also known as piles, by the age of 50. The veins around the anus become stretched or swollen and this condition is known as hemorrhoids. They are completely treatable when recognized early. Any kind of rectal bleeding or pain in the rectum during bowel movement should be reported to the doctor immediately.

Types of Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids develop because of the strain caused on the anal canal during bowel movement. Also, during pregnancy, women often develop them because the fetus can put pressure on the rectal wall. Chronic constipation, diarrhea, and in some cases genes and age are the other possible causes. The symptoms associated with this condition are pain, burning sensation, and in some cases bleeding during bowel movement. A doctor diagnoses this condition by examining the anus visually or by performing a digital rectum examination. An anoscope, which is a lighted tube, can also be used to examine the anal canal internally.

Hemorrhoids are of the following 2 kinds:

External Hemorrhoids
These are swollen veins that can be felt under the skin on the outsides of the anal canal. They appear like a small bulge and are of the same color as the skin.

Internal Hemorrhoids
As the name suggests, swollen veins arise from inside the anal canal in this type. When these piles become large, they protrude out through the rectum. The most common symptom observed in this kind is bleeding upon passing stools. Eventually, this kind develops into thrombosed hemorrhoids that contain a blood clot, and cause a painful and burning sensation, along with an intense urge to scratch the area.

Appearance of Hemorrhoids

Piles appear like small marbles that hang out from the anus. The size, shape, and number differ in each person. At times, it appears as a single piece of mass while in some cases, it appears clustered. This being said, it is important to remember that not everything that is visible around the anus can be classified as piles. Anal warts also look similar to them, hence it is very important that you go to a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Bleeding Piles

Bleeding in piles is one of the prominent symptom of the condition. It occurs both in the case of external and internal piles. However, the cause in both the conditions is different. In the case of external type, bleeding is generally caused when they are rubbed after the bowel movement, while in the internal type, bleeding is caused due to a hard, pellet-like stool. Again, if you suffer from piles and also bleed while passing stools, then you must consult a doctor and rule out other causes of anal bleeding like fistula, fissure, and colorectal cancer.

Treatment Options

The most common form of treatment used by physicians is over-the-counter medications. Pain relievers can also be prescribed in cases where the patient is suffering from constant pain. But, do consult a physician for over-the-counter ointments, as products containing petrochemicals, colors, and dyes should not be used. Using warm, moist cotton balls for cleaning after bowel movement will help soothe the condition. You can further alleviate your problems by increasing fiber in your diet along with an increase in water intake, as it will facilitate a faster bowel movement. Ensure that you take about 35 grams of fiber everyday. Intake of coffee and spicy food should be stopped. Lubricants like castor oil and flaxseed oil can be taken as part of the diet to lubricate the colon and ease constipation.

If the piles bleed excessively or are very painful, then they can also be treated surgically. Some of the surgical methods used for treatment are:

Banding:
In this process, a rubber band is placed around the piles which causes strangulation and eventually leads to scarring. This is the most commonly used procedure to remove piles surgically.
Sclerotherapy:
This process involves injecting a chemical solution in the piles, which causes them to shrink.
Infrared Coagulation:
In this process, a special device is used to remove internal hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoidectomy:
This process involves removing the hemorrhoid veins surgically.

As mentioned above, people are too embarrassed to discuss piles. Please do not be. You have the right to live a healthy, pain-free life. Discuss any issues regarding rectal pain and bleeding with your doctor and start the treatment as soon as possible.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.