Piles, or haemarrhoids, are enlarged and swollen blood vessels that develop in the lower portion of the rectum and anus. The veins may distend and become exposed outside the anus causing bleeding and itching. With an external thrombosed pile, one that has become obstructed by a clot of coagulated blood, sitting and walking becomes agony; surgical removal may be the only solution.
While health experts have not determined the exact cause of hemorrhoids, it’s said that they form because of an increased pressure in the lower rectum. Other risk factors linked to haemorrhoids include prolonged sitting, obesity, a low-fiber diet and constipation or diarrhoea.
Haemorrhoids usually affect adults in mid- and later-life, but young people and children may experience them as well. Men are more prone to having haemorrhoids; women are susceptible during pregnancy.
At least 10 million Americans (4.4 percent of the population) report a case of haemorrhoids annually. Around half of people aged 50 years and above have already experienced at least one or more of the usual symptoms of haemorrhoids, or have required treatment.