What is Piles?
Piles is often feared as the tumour of the anus. Actually, piles is not tumourous and not dangerous. It is a simple enlarged / engorged blood vessel(s) of the anus. It is also called haemorrhoids in medical terminology. It is the dilatation (varicosity) of the haemorrhoidal plexus (veins of anus). It appears as bluish or purple coloured swellings due to stagnated blood. Piles may cause symptoms like bleeding, itching, pain and lump feeling in the anus.
Blood vessels are supposed to suffer with varicosity, when there is obstruction or resistance/ sluggish or reduced or back flow of blood / valvelessness, etc. Varicosity is often noticed in the legs of pregnant women or policemen or in persons whose job/habit is to stand continuously for a prolonged period. Veins of the legs are most commonly affected with varicosity, since it is the most dependent part of the body, where the gravitational force constantly gives pressure with stagnation. Other than varicosity of legs, the next commonest spot of varicosity is the anus since it has a cluster of loosely supported blood vessels anastamosing (joining) systemic & portal (liver) circulation. These blood vessels have no valves to avoid back flow and is more prone to varicosity.
Piles patients mostly suffer silently with their complaints due to shyness to explain or show the thing to the doctor. They bear the pain and complaints as far as possible and go for treatment only in unbearable conditions, which usually leads them directly to the surgeon’s table. Every complaint should be treated then and there, for easy cure and to avoid progress of the disease into complications. Also, nowadays piles is often misspelled for all anal complaints (fissures, fistulas, rectal tumours, prolapsed anus, etc.) Every complaint should be clearly analysed by examination and investigation before being diagnosed and treated.
Incidences – Piles is very commonly seen nowadays. Women have higher incidence than men. The reason behind it is not clearly known. It is more commonly seen in adolescent age group and aged persons who all seem to be more tensed. There must be a relation between piles and tension/psychological factors. Its incidences is more common in persons who deviate more from nature in diet, living style and sitting habits. Sufferers are mostly.
Anal architecture - is designed in such a manner to control even the release of air (flatus) and watery stools i.e., airtight and leak-proof. It is well-formed with internal sphincter and external sphincter muscles. Anal canal is anatomically divided into two parts (namely upper part and lower part) by Hilton’s line (bluish pink ring). This upper anal part originates from the endoderm and is covered with mucous membranes. The nerve supply of the upper part is supplied from the autonomic nervous system which doesn’t have any pain sensitive nerve fibres. The lower part of the anal canal originates from ectoderm and is covered by skin. Unlike the upper part, it is supplied by spinal nerves which have pain sensitive nerve fibres. The blood supply to upper part of the anus is supplied by superior haemorrhoidal plexus and the lower part is supplied with inferior haemorrhoidal plexus. The occurrence of swelling/varicosity in the anus (piles) is more common in 3 O’, 7 O’ & 11 O’ clock position of anus which are all supposed to be weak points of the anus.
Piles is classified in two ways.
lies inside the anus. Usually internal piles originates from superior haemorrhoidal plexus of the upper part of anal canal and lies above the Hilton’s line. This type usually will not be painful, since it lies in the upper part of anal canal, which lacks pain-sensitive nerve innervations.
Occurs due to hereditary reason without any causative factor or obstruction.
Occurs in continuation with other diseases or obstruction to portal circulation like liver disorders, portal hypertension due to obstruction, rectal or pelvic tumours, cancer, spleenomegally, etc.
is the piles which gets descend from the place of origin, i.e. internal piles descends to get visualised as external piles. This prolapsed piles should be cared for in the initial period itself or otherwise it may get strangulated and develop into gangrene. In the initial period, the protrusion gets inside or recedes without any assistance after passing stool, but in due course, the protruded mass will not recede even with the assistance of fingers
Commonly suspected causes for development of piles Pressure in the blood vessels may be due to;
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