Colorectal and Piles

Although it can be an uncomfortable subject to broach, a comprehensive approach to complete healthcare includes education and awareness about colorectal cancer and rectal hemorrhoids (piles).


Rectal Hemorrhoids

Often called “piles” in common speech, rectal hemorrhoids can either develop internally, where they are difficult to detect, or externally. The term hemorrhoids refers to a condition in which one part of the body is stretched or strained until it breaks through its normal containment area and extends outwards.

Internal rectal hemorrhoids are usually difficult to detect without a medical diagnosis, as they present very few symptoms. External rectal hemorrhoids are more easily distinguished, with symptoms such as:
• Leakage of feces

• A swollen area near the anus which can be tender or painful

• Discomfort in or around your anus

• Itching in or around your anus

• Passing small amounts of (bright red) blood during a bowl movement

In some cases, the symptoms of an external hemorrhoid can be extreme pain and discomfort. If you suspect that you may have developed rectal hemorrhoids, it’s essential to seek medical attention right away.

winslow_rm_illustration_of_colorectal_cancer_stagesColorectal Cancer

Cancer can develop in both the colon (lower part of the digestive system) or the rectum. Many times, the first sign of cancer is indistinguishable from that of hemorrhoids: itching, discomfort, and/or bleeding around the anus. While panic is a counterproductive reaction upon noticing the first signs of rectal discomfort, it is essential that you seek medical attention right away to fully diagnose the problem and swiftly begin a corrective course of action.

Only a doctor can diagnose your symptoms to determine whether you have colorectal cancer. It should be noted, however, that difficulty with bowel movements, in particular straining related to constipation, can worsen the problem, increasing the urgency to seek medical treatment.

Experiencing the symptoms of anal bleeding, rectal itching, and/or severe discomfort does not necessarily mean you have cancer. An intestinal obstruction may cause similar symptoms, and (benign) polyps in the colon can similarly cause pain and/or bleeding from the rectum.

CDR415507-750Treatment Options

Regardless of the ultimate source of your rectal discomfort, it is possible for medical treatment to successfully address the ongoing issues.

Piles treatment can vary depending on the severity and cause of the ongoing problem. Many people develop hemorrhoids as a result of poor diet, particularly a failure to adequately consume enough fiber. Your doctor may recommend that you eat more natural whole foods like fruits and vegetables, as well as consume fiber supplements, in combination with adequate hydration.

Additional treatments may include the use of soothing creams or substances such as witch hazel to sooth and calm inflamed and irritated tissues. These forms of treatment may be buttressed by the use of suppositories and/or medicated pads.

In some cases, piles surgery may be necessary to correct the problem. If your external hemorrhoid has been caused by a blood clot, this can usually be quickly resolved by a simple incision to release trapped fluids, providing instant relief for your symptoms.

In more severe cases, piles surgery involves rubber band ligation, a medical term for when the doctor attaches one or more small rubber bands around the base of the hemorrhoid in order to disrupt the blood supply to the affected area. Within a week, the piles will naturally shrivel up and fall off. While effective, this therapy may be somewhat uncomfortable during the interval. Your doctor may also inject a special solution into the hemorrhoid tissue in order to cause it to shrink, a process known as schlerotherapy.