Haemorrhoids are one of the health topics that can cause embarrassment when it comes to talking to your doctor. There’s no real reason why this should be so other than the fact it’s not exactly a delicate subject – certainly not the sort of thing to bring up for polite conversation over dinner.
But the fact of the matter is that something like 50% of the adult population suffers from haemorrhoids at sometime during their lives. They can be extremely painful, which is why family GPs and private GP clinics like Broadgate Clinic London Wall are used to talking to people about them and prescribing treatments. In other words, there no need to feel embarrassed.
Who is likely to get haemorrhoids?
Anyone can get haemorrhoids, but there are certain professions and certain medical conditions that can increase the risk. The professions where risk is highest are jobs where people spend long periods of time sat down. Professionals like long-distance lorry drivers, pilots, or being a desk jockey sat down in front of a computer screen all day, all carry a certain amount of risk.
From a medical condition perspective pregnant women can be prone to get haemorrhoids in the latter stages of pregnancy, and during the early stages after giving birth.
What are Haemorrhoids?
Haemorrhoids (often referred to as piles) are small swellings that develop around the anal area. They contain enlarged blood vessels and depending where they manifest themselves, they can be extremely painful. However for the most part, the majority of cases of haemorrhoids are relatively mild (causing only minor discomfort) and often don’t present any symptoms.
The symptoms of haemorrhoids
When symptoms do present themselves they include:
- Bleeding having passed stools. The blood is a distinctive bright red.
- Having any itchy bottom
- Having a lump which hands down outside the anus, which in some instances may require pushing back inside the anus once you’ve finished your toilet.
- A discharge of mucus once you’ve finished passing stools.
- Inflammation and discomfort in the anal area.
What causes haemorrhoids?
The precise cause of haemorrhoids is not known, however it is suspected that the majority of cases are the result of undue straining when passing stools. The factors that are believed to contribute to developing stools include:
- Being over 45 years’ old
- Being overweight
- Family history of haemorrhoids
When to see a doctor
In many instances haemorrhoids will disappear after a few days without any intervention. If you have a mild case of haemorrhoids that causes only minor discomfort you can purchase over-the-counter creams and pills from am pharmacy.
Remember that haemorrhoids are something that most doctors deal with regularly so there is no need for any undue embarrassment. You may however have to undergo a brief internal examination will determine the diagnosis.
Once diagnosed the doctor may prescribe a Corticosteroid cream if the discomfort is severe.
If you are suffering from a more severe case of haemorrhoids causing significant pain and bleeding you should see you GP, or, if you live and/or work in London, you can make use of the private walk-in services of Broadgate Clinic London Wall; something that some people find more palatable than going to see their family GP.