No, there is no difference between haemorrhoids and piles; they are two terms for the same condition that can be used interchangeably.
What exactly causes piles is still unclear. What we do know is that they are associated with increased pressure in the blood vessels located in and around the anus. The majority of cases are believed to be caused by excessive straining when using the toilet. This is often due to a low fibre diet resulting in constipation. There are other factors that can increase the likelihood of developing haemorrhoids, these include:
There are two main types of piles, these are internal piles and external piles. Internal piles occur above the line inside the anus called the dentate line. External piles will occur below this line. The dentate line is a visible line that marks where the nerves inside the anal canal are able to detect pain. Nerves below the dentate line are capable of detecting pain signals whereas the nerves above it are not.
There are varying degrees of piles, which are classified by their size and severity. Third and forth degree piles need medical attention and diagnosis.
First and second degree haemorrhoids are generally appropriate to self-treat. Any piles or haemorhoids that do not respond to treatment should be investigated by your doctor.
No, the temperature of whatever you sit on does not have any affect on you developing piles – it is a complete myth! Conversely, sitting on hot surfaces such as radiator also have no contribution to piles forming.
You can try applying an ice pack for short periods to help reduce inflammation. Sitting in a warm bath (do not use any additives like bubble bath or bath bombs) can help to ease symptoms of pain and discomfort.
Yes, sitting for prolonged periods can contribute to haemorrhoids and make them worse if you are already suffering with them. You are entitled to breaks to prevent eyestrain from your computer – use these to get up and stretch your legs. Ensure you do light exercise regularly at lunchtimes or in the evenings to help combat the causes of piles.
Although there is no definite link, people seem to be more likely to experience piles more if their parents also suffered with them. This is likely to be due to similar diet, build and exercise levels rather than a genetic link.
Being overweight increases the chances of suffering with haemorrhoids due the extra weight on their abdomen causing extra pressure. Losing weight can help to relieve haemorrhoids/piles. You are also more likely to get piles if you are pregnant or lift heavy weights for the same reason.
Yes, itching around the anus can be a symptom of piles. To make an accurate diagnosis you need to consider the full range of symptoms, as anal itching alone can be a symptom of a number of conditions such as threadworms.
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