Treatment for Piles Symptoms
Piles, or hemorrhoids, are swollen veins in the anus and rectum. Piles are a very common condition that can result from straining too much during a bowel movement, increased pressure due to pregnancy or chronic constipation or diarrhea. Symptoms of piles range from mild to severe and include pain, bleeding, itching and swelling. Piles are relatively easy to treat, and there are many methods available depending on the severity of the symptoms. If you experience rectal bleeding of any kind, see your doctor as soon as possible to rule out any potentially serious conditions.
Home Remedies and Lifestyle Changes
Home remedies and lifestyle changes can relieve most piles symptoms and prevent the condition from reoccurring. Witch hazel is an astringent that can help relieve the pain and itching associated with piles. It is especially effective when used cold and can help stop bleeding. Salt, spices, beer and colas can all make piles symptoms worse, so avoid them until you are symptom free. Wet your toilet paper or use lubricated wipes to clean yourself after a bowel movement to avoid irritating your rectum. Soaking in warm water with your knees drawn up against your chest can help relieve pain and shrink inflamed veins. Eat plenty of fiber-rich foods and drink at least eight glasses of water a day to make your bowel movements smoother so you do not have to strain when going to the bathroom.
Mild to moderate pain and itching are the most common piles symptoms, and they usually respond well to topical and oral medications. Over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams, ointments and pads containing witch hazel or hydrocortisone to help relieve pain and itching. You may need to apply topical medications several times a day, but using them for more than a week without a doctor’s directions can cause side effects such as rash and inflammation. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and aspirin will also help pain and discomfort, though they will not relieve itching.
Minimally Invasive Procedures
If your piles are very painful or are bleeding consistently, your doctor may remove blood clots with a small incision to provide relief. Rubber band ligation involves small rubber bands placed around the hemorrhoid to cut off circulation, resulting in the hemorrhoid drying up and falling off on its own. According to the Mayo Clinic, rubber band ligation is the most effective minimally invasive treatment with the lowest rate of recurring piles. Injections can be used to shrink piles, and some doctors may recommend laser, infrared light or heat treatments to harden and shrivel small piles.
If other methods have failed or your piles are large, you may need surgery to remove or help heal your hemorrhoid. Most surgical procedures for piles are outpatient, but some may require a short hospital stay. Hemorrhoidectomy is the most effective surgical method to relieve piles and involves your surgeon removing tissue that causes bleeding. Urinary tract infections, difficulty urinating and pain are the most common side effects of a hemorrhoidectomy. A stapled hemorrhoidectomy is less painful than a regular hemorrhoidectomy, but it is not as effective. Your surgeon will “staple” the tissue surrounding your hemorrhoid to block blood flow, causing it to dry and shrivel. Your doctor will be able to help you determine which surgical option is best for you if you need surgery to treat your piles symptoms.