Piles is an uncomfortable condition that usually affects adults ages 45 to 65.
It usually develops when the tissue around the anus or rectum becomes swollen and there are a number of things that can cause this.
- Straining during bowel movements
- Sitting for long periods of time on the toilet
- Chronic diarrhoea or constipation
- Low-Fibre diet
There is medicine available to relieve and swelling and discomfort, but usually the first port of call is simple changes to diet and not straining on the toilet.
Chinese medicines and homeopathic remedies are believed by some to help treat symptoms, but one diet change recommended by medical experts is to eat a high fibre diet.
Bupa says: “There isn’t enough evidence to show that Chinese medicines or homeopathic treatments can help to treat piles.
“Provided your piles aren’t severe, you can probably reduce your symptoms without taking conventional medicines by eating a high-fibre diet and drinking plenty of fluid. Taking care to gently clean yourself after every bowel movement will reduce soreness and itching too.
“Speak to your pharmacist if you’re thinking about using any herbal or homeopathic remedies. Natural remedies aren’t necessarily harmless or safer than conventional medicines. They’re also unlikely to have been tested as thoroughly.”
The NHS advises that piles often clear up by themselves after a few days.
But creams, ointments and suppositories, available from pharmacies, can reduce itching and discomfort.
It adds: “Speak to your GP if your symptoms don’t get better or you experience pain or bleeding.”
In some cases the condition doesn’t have any signs or symptoms, and people don’t even know they have it.
But in others, symptoms are more obvious and can include bleeding or a mucus discharge after passing a stool.
Other signs of piles includes itchiness, soreness or swelling around the anus or lumps hanging outside the anus.
You’re also 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.