Haemorrhoid Surgery

What are haemorrhoids?

Haemorrhoids or 'piles' are very common. They are lumps that occur inside and around the anal passage (back passage). They consist of engorged blood vessels covered by the lining of anal canal.

What are the symptoms of haemorrhoids?

Bright red blood on the toilet paper or in the toilet when you have a bowel motion (poo). There may be some itchiness, discomfort or pain around the anus. Sometimes there can be a noticeable lump that sticks out of the anus. Haemorrhoids are classified into 4 different types based on their size and how severe they are:

  • First degree haemorrhoids often bleed a little bit when you pass a bowel motion, but stay inside the anus and are not usually very painful
  • Second degree haemorrhoids bleed and stick out of the anus when you pass a bowel motion
  • Once the bowel motion is over, they disappear back inside the anus by themselves
  • Third degree haemorrhoids must be physically pushed back inside the anus after passing a bowel motion
  • They may be painful if they are large
  • Fourth degree haemorrhoids are larger lumps that stick out of the anus permanently and cannot be placed back inside. The blood inside these haemorrhoids may clot and the lumps can become very painful.

What causes haemorrhoids?

Haemorrhoids are usually caused by chronic constipation (having hard bowel motions that are difficult to pass). Constipation causes you to strain when you go to the toilet. This puts pressure on the blood vessels in the anus, making them swell. Other things can increase the chance you will get haemorrhoids:

  • ageing
  • being overweight
  • having diarrhoea
  • spending long periods of time on the toilet
  • regularly lifting heavy objects

Haemorrhoids are particularly common during pregnancy. This is because constipation is quite common in pregnancy, but also:

  • the growing baby places pressure on the abdomen
  • there is more blood flowing through the body
  • Progesterone hormone produced during pregnancy enlarges the blood vessels

These haemorrhoids often disappear after pregnancy and might not need treatment. Haemorrhoids may also be more common in some families than in others.

How are haemorrhoids diagnosed?

Diagnosis of haemorrhoids usually involves an examination of the anal passage to look for any swollen blood vessels. Your doctor may conduct one of the following tests.