Piles / Hemorrhoids : Tests & Treatment

Hemorrhoids are painful, swollen veins in the lower portion of the rectum or anus. Hemorrhoids are vascular structures in the anal canal which help with stool control. They become pathological or piles when swollen or inflamed. In their physiological state, they act as a cushion composed of arterio-venous channels and connective tissue that aid the passage of stool.

Tests & Diagnostics

A doctor can often diagnose hemorrhoids simply by examining the rectal area. If necessary, tests that may help diagnose the problem include:
Stool guaiac (shows the presence of blood)
Sigmoidoscopy
Anoscopy

Treatments
Over-the-counter corticosteroid creams can reduce pain and swelling. Hemorrhoid creams with lidocaine can reduce pain. Witch hazel (applied with cotton swabs) can reduce itching.

Sitz baths can help you to feel better. Sit in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes.Stool softeners help reduce straining and constipation.

For cases that don’t respond to home treatments, a surgeon or gastroenterologist can apply heat treatment, called infrared coagulation, to shrink internal hemorrhoids. This may help avoid surgery.

Surgery
Surgery that may be done to treat hemorrhoids includes rubber band ligation or surgical hemorrhoidectomy. These procedures are generally used for patients with severe pain or bleeding who have not responded to other therapy.

Complications
The blood in the enlarged veins may form clots, and the tissue surrounding the hemorrhoids can die. Hemorrhoids with clots generally require surgical removal.

Prevention
Avoid straining during bowel movements. You can help prevent hemorrhoids by preventing constipation. Drink plenty of fluids, at least eight glasses per day. Eat a high-fiber diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fiber supplements.

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