What are Piles (haemorrhoids)?
Piles form when the blood vessels in your rectum fill up with too much blood, either because you’ve strained too much while going to the bathroom, given birth, or otherwise put too much pressure on the veins.
For more information, read the guide:
Haemorrhoids Guide +
What are Haemorrhoids (Piles)?
Basically, they’re swollen veins. Piles form when the blood vessels in your rectum fill up with too much blood, either because you’ve strained too much while going to the bathroom, given birth, or otherwise put too much pressure on the veins. Things that make piles more likely include constipation, pushing too hard when pooing, pregnancy and heavy lifting.
Piles can be internal, meaning they’re located inside the rectum, or external, meaning they form under the skin around the anus. They often get better on their own after a few days. There are things you can do to treat and prevent piles.
How do I know I have piles?
Look for any of the following symptoms:
- bright red blood after you poo
- an itchy anus
- feeling like you still need to poo after going to the toilet
- slimy mucus in your underwear or on toilet paper after wiping your bottom
- lumps around your anus
- pain around your anus
How can I treat or prevent piles ?
- drink lots of fluid and eat plenty of fibre to keep your poo soft
- wipe your bottom with damp toilet paper
- take paracetamol if piles hurt
- take a warm bath to ease itching and pain
- use an ice pack wrapped in a towel to ease discomfort
- gently push a pile back inside
- keep your bottom clean and dry
- exercise regularly
- cut down on alcohol and caffeine (like tea, coffee and cola) to avoid constipation
- wipe your bottom too hard after you poo
- ignore the urge to poo
- push too hard when pooing
- take painkillers that contain codeine, as they cause constipation
- take ibuprofen if your piles are bleeding
- spend more time than you need to on the toilet
Here are some of our pharmacist recommended treatments for piles including:
- creams and ointments to ease the pain, itching and swelling
- laxatives to help with constipation by softening the stool
- suppositories if creams are not enough on their own or piles are internal
- medicated wipes if dry toilet paper is causing irritating