Haemorrhoids (Piles)

Haemorrhoids are the clumps of tissue called cushions that sit just inside the anus and consist of blood vessels and supporting elastic tissue. Contrary to popular belief they are not abnormal but may cause problems in people who are constipated, strain to pass motion or spend a long time sitting on the toilet.  Symptoms include bright red bleeding from the anus,  protruding lumps (prolapse) and itching.  If the blood vessels within the haemorrhoids become clotted this can lead to painful swelling known as thrombosed piles. Although haemorrhoids are not harmful it is sometimes necessary to investigate the bowel to exclude more serious conditions. Treatment can often just  involve lifestyle changes such as increasing the amount of fibre in the diet to avoid constipation and straining,  together with a banding procedure (performed in the outpatient clinic). Surgical treatments include artery ligation, stapled haemorrhoidectomy and excision.