Listed below are some of the most common questions encountered by doctors regarding piles/haemorrhoids:
I have 3rd or 4th piles. Must I have surgery?
Treatment of piles is actually based on symptoms. There is no risk of piles turning into cancer, so treat the piles only if they bother you.
The treatment options mentioned is for definitive treatment of the piles. Frequently, symptoms of pain or bleeding from 3rd or 4th degree piles can be treated with medication. This relieves the symptoms, but do not “cure” the piles. However, as long as the piles do not cause any problems, it is acceptable to leave it alone.
Is it true that if piles is not treated, in the long term, it can become cancerous?
Piles do NOT ever turn into cancer. Piles are swollen blood vessels in the anus. Colon or rectal cancer develops from the inner lining (mucosa) of the colon or rectum.
A reason for this is that both piles and colorectal cancer can cause bleeding. There are people who self diagnose themselves to have hemorrhoids when they first see bleeding. They then self medicate, and when the bleeding persists, they seek medication and are eventually diagnosed to have colorectal cancer. They then have the misconception that their piles has turned into cancer. However, the more likely scenario is that the initial bleeding was from the cancer and not from hemorrhoids.
Can piles be caused by sitting on hot surfaces?
The temperature of a surface on which you sit does not cause piles/haemorrhoids, nor does it have any impact on those who are currently suffering from the condition. It doesn't matter what the temperature of the seat is, it is the sitting for long periods that increases your risk.
Is piles/haemorrhoids an old person's condition?
Haemorrhoids can affect the young too and are not just a factor of age. Although the risk increases with age, as your bodies supporting tissues get weaker, making the condition more prevalent in older people. However, it can affect individuals of any age, triggered by factors such as excessive straining during bowel movements and from chronic diarrhoea or constipation. It can also affect those in the latter stages of pregnancy or those who have just been through labour.
Can spicy and exotic foods can cause piles?
There is no evidence to suggest haemorrhoids can be caused by hot, spicy or exotic foods. However, these foods may cause stomach upset which can create increased discomfort for those with haemorrhoids when passing stools and in some cases, can contribute to diarrhoea which can be painful during a flare-up.
Can piles keep coming back even after it is treated?
Hemorrhoid recurrence is possible regardless of previous medical or surgical treatment, but it is manageable. Simple diet and lifestyle adjustments, including eating fiber-rich food, drinking lots of water, not straining during bowel movements and not sitting too long on the toilet, can reduce the risk of hemorrhoids.
Will piles go away on their own if I change my lifestyle habits?
Small, mild hemorrhoids may go away on their own with little to no treatment. Certain lifestyle habits and dietary modifications may also help alleviate symptoms and prevent further complications such as new piles from forming. For bigger piles that cause serious pain and bleeding, or do not respond to conservative treatments, surgical options will be needed.
Can my piles end up bursting if I don’t seek medical treatment?
With continuous and increased straining of the rectal veins, external and internal hemorrhoids may become thrombosed – a painful condition where blood clots form. If the piles become too full of blood, they may burst. Thankfully, a burst hemorrhoid is usually not an emergency and can actually provide much-needed pain relief as pressure is released. However, thrombosed hemorrhoids are usually so painful that most patients seek medical treatment long before bursting can occur.
Is stress a factor that can cause piles/haemorrhoids?
There’s no medical evidence that states that stress directly causes piles/haemorrhoids to form. Stress, however, can sometimes lead to stomach disorders such as chronic diarrhea and constipation, which in turn increases your risk for haemorrhoids. Stress may also aggravate haemorrhoid flareups and impede quick healing.
Can squatting while passing stools help prevent piles/haemorrhoids?
Haemorrhoids develop from excessive pressure in the blood vessels in the rectum. They usually occur as a result of repeated straining during bowel movements. Squatting actually helps reduce straining, thus decreasing the risk for haemorrhoids.
Is it possible for me to lose bowel control after piles/haemorrhoids surgery?
As with all surgical procedures, piles/haemorrhoids surgery carries risks, which, in inexperienced hands may result in excessive pain, bleeding, incontinence and anal strictures. However, such complications are rare.
Is there an advisable way to sleep if a person is suffering from haemorrhoids?
If you have haemorrhoids, you should avoid sleeping on your back as doing so places more pressure on the rectal area. Instead, keep the buttocks area elevated by sleeping on your stomach with a pillow on the lower abdomen or hip area. For pregnant women, sleeping on your left side is recommended.
If you have other questions that we weren’t able to answer above, please consult our piles surgeon by sending us an enquiry through our contact form below.