Causes, symptoms and treatment for PILES (BAWASEER)

MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK - PART XV

Image showing the different treatments available for piles

When was the last time you heard someone talk about suffering from Piles? Or, god forbid, suffered yourself and discussed with someone, including a doctor? Probably, never. Does that mean that piles as an ailment is non-existent? If so, why are companies advertising laser treatment for  piles other remedies for it so extensively? Let's look at some numbers.

Times of India reported that more than a million cases for piles are recorded every year in India. 50-85% of these cases are reported in the ages of 45 and above. Also, the medical practitioners aggregator, Practo estimates the cost of laser treatment to be anywhere between Rs. 35000 to Rs. 50000. With these figures, why will companies not advertise, isn't it?

What exactly is piles?

Piles is also known as haemorrhoids. It is a result of swollen veins in the lower anus and rectum. It can cause tissue growth and create a lot of discomfort. Depending on the location, it is classified as internal (inside the rectum) or external (under the skin around the anus) or thrombosed (if blood forms a clot or thrombus)

What are the symptoms for piles?

The symptoms typically are different for internal and external piles.

For external piles, one will experience:

  • Itching or irritation in the anal region
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Swelling around the anus
  • Bleeding

Internal piles on the other are less painful and rarely cause discomfort.

But in some cases, the straining to pass the stool can cause:

  • Bleeding during bowel movements
  • A haemorrhoid, if protruding, might get pushed through the anus causing pain and irritation

Thrombosed piles will usually be accompanied by:

  • Severe pain
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • A hard lump near the anus

What causes piles?

Age and pregnancy both increase the risk of piles. As one ages, the tissues supporting the rectum get weaker and are stretched leading to piles while during pregnancy, the added weight of the baby on the anal region. Some of the other causes for piles are:

  • Straining during bowel movements

  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea

  • Pregnancy

  • Obesity

  • Poor digestion and eating a low fibre diet

  • Sitting for long periods on the toilet (hence avoid using mobiles while emptying the bowels)

  • Incorrect postures for heavy weight lifting

  • Anal intercourse

Further complications owing to pile can be blood clots, strangulated haemorrhoids and rarely anaemia.

How can one prevent piles?

There are many lifestyle changes that can help with gut health and prevent piles. These changes also help with other gut related ailments like constipation and bloating.

  • Eat foods with high fibre 

  • Drink lots of water

  • Don't strain

  • Exercise regularly

  • Avoid sitting in a place for a long time

  • Empty bowels whenever you feel the urge

  • Don't strain while emptying bowels

How does one diagnose pile? What is the treatment for piles?

Usually, for external piles, the doctor can feel the unusual growth around the anal region. Internal piles is slightly more difficult to find detect and the doctor might examine the lower portion of the colon with an anoscope, protoscope or sigmoidoscope.

As far as treatment of piles is concerned, some lifestyle changes about eating habits can help. Also, soaking the anal region in warm water for 10 to 15 mins, three times a day can cure piles in a week. One can use medication for the pain relief.

Surgery has been a popular treatment method for piled in western medication for a long time. Over the last decade, lesser invasive procedure have gained popularity. If one was to undergo surgery, it would typically be one of the following types:

Hemorrhoidectomy

The excess tissues causing piles are removed typically under local anaesthesia. Sometimes spinal or general anaesthesia might be used. This procedure is typically used for severe recurrent piles cases. The procedure, typically under spinal anaesthesia, might also have side effects like UTIs and problems in emptying the bowels.

Haemorrhoid stapling

In this procedure, as the name suggests, the tissue are stapled. This blocks the blood flow to the tissue. This is usually done for internal piles. The chances of recurrence are higher in this procedure but this allows one to get back to regular lifestyles quicker as compared to the hemorrhoidectomy. The side effects may include bleeding, pain and in very rare cases, sepsis.

The more popular non-invasive procedures for the treatment of piles are:

Laser treatment 

Laser treatment is by far the most popular treatment of piles in western medicine today. Using the laser, the blood supply to the piles tissues is restricted thereby eliminating them. A person undergoing laser treatment can almost immediately start with regular life. There are chances of recurrence of piles and also, in rare cases, a surgical intervention in case there is bleeding. This course of treatment is usually more expensive than traditional procedures.

Injection / sclerotherapy

The practitioner may inject a chemical in the piles tissues directly to shrink them and thereby cure piles. 

Rubber band litigation

This procedure is similar to stapling albeit less invasive. The blood flow to the tissue is blocked using two tiny rubber bands and the tissue withers away and falls off in a week. There might be some discomfort and bleeding but rarely is it severe.

What is Ayurveda's take on piles? Are there ayurvedic treatments for piles?

Piles in ayurveda is known as "Arsha". It is defined as”arivat pranan shrinoti hinasti iti arshah” A disease which tortures patient’s vital force (prana) as enemy is called as Arsha. It relates this ailment to improper digestion owing to abnormal digestive fire (Agni). Because of this mandagni (improper digestive fire), the Ama (waste) is not properly processed and removed from the body in the form of stools. This disturbs the doshas in the anus region causing piles. 

Ayurveda has been helping people with piles for all known times. Even the ministry of Ayush has identified a technique call cupping or Al-Hajima that helps with treatment of piles. There are distinct advantages of laser treatment over traditional surgeries as highlighted by Pristyn Care. But Ayurveda scored even better. Below is a quick comparison of the same.

Very recently, we have launched our product, Chyavan Arsh Dhwansak, ayurvedic medicine for piles. Arsh Dhwansak literally translates to Piles Destroyer. 8 doses over the course of 4 days and you should be relieved off the pain forever.