Piles signs and symptoms - what causes haemorrhoids and how do I treat them?

Piles, otherwise known as haemorrhoids, are swellings inside, or around, the anus. The swellings contain inflamed blood vessels.

In most cases, the condition doesn’t have any signs or symptoms, and people don’t even know they have piles.

But, haemorrhoids can cause bleeding, or a mucus discharge after passing a stool.

Other signs of piles include an itchy anus, soreness or swelling around the anus, or lumps hanging outside of the anus.

“See your GP if you have persistent or severe symptoms of haemorrhoids,” said the NHS.

“You should always get any rectal bleeding checked so your doctor can rule out more potentially serious causes.

“The symptoms of haemorrhoids often clear up on their own, or by using simple treatments that can be bought from a pharmacy without a prescription.”

Topical creams and tablets can both be bought from pharmacies, or prescribed by the GP, to ease symptoms.

The condition may be caused by increased pressure in blood vessels, which makes them become swollen and inflamed.

It could also be caused by straining too much on the toilet. 

You’re more likely to develop piles if you’re overweight, pregnant, have a family history of haemorrhoids, regularly lifting heavy objects, or sit down for long periods of time.

Piles is more likely to develop as you get older, as the body’s tissues become weaker.

While haemorrhoids is usually nothing to worry about and disappear after a few days - even without treatment - you can lower your risk of the condition by making simple lifestyle changes.

Increasing the amount of fibre in your diet could reduce your chances of getting piles.

You also shouldn’t delay going to toilet. It can make stools harder and drier, which inevitably leads to straining.

Exercising regularly and avoiding medication that cause constipation may also lower your risk of piles, the NHS said.

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