Piles are hemorrhoids that become inflamed. Hemorrhoids are masses, clumps, cushions of tissue in the anal canal – they are full of blood vessels, support tissue, muscle and elastic fibers. Although hemorrhoids are thought of as unpleasant inflammations, we all have them. It is when the hemorrhoidal cushions become too big or inflamed that problems occur – when this happens they are called piles or pathological hemorrhoids.

The board-certified colorectal surgeons and gastroenterologists at La Peer Health Systems’ Hemorrhoid Center of Excellence are experienced at treating piles. If you think you may be suffering from inflamed hemorrhoids, feel free to make an appointment by calling (888) 742-2032.

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What You Should Know About Piles

Piles can be of various sizes and may be internal (inside the anus) or external (outside the anus). Typically, internal piles occur from 2 to 4cm above the opening of the anus. External piles occur on the outside edge of the anus. The internal ones are much more common.

In the vast majority of cases, piles are effectively treated with OTC medications, a good fluid intake, and by following a diet high in fiber. In severe cases the piles may have to be surgically removed. Approximately 10% of patients who go and see their doctor about piles eventually require surgical intervention.1

1. “Hemorrhoids: Expanded Version” published 2011. American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons. Accessed 9 December 2013.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Piles?

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA, symptomatic hemorrhoids affect at least half the US population at some time in their lives before the age of 50. An individual with piles may experience the following symptoms:

  • A hard lump may be felt around the anus. It consists of coagulated blood, called a thrombosed external hemorrhoid. This can be extremely painful.
  • After going to the toilet, a feeling that the bowels are still full.
  • Bright red blood after a bowel movement.
  • Itchiness in the anus area.
  • Mucus discharge when emptying the bowels.
  • Pain while defecating.
  • The anus area may be red and sore.
  • When passing a stool the person may strain excessively.

What Causes Piles?

Hemorrhoid swelling occurs when there is an increase in the pressure in the small vessels that make up the hemorrhoid causing them to swell and engorge with blood. This causes them to increase in size leading to symptoms. Increased pressure may be caused by a variety of factors including:

  • Chronic constipation
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Lifting heavy weights
  • Pregnancy
  • Straining when passing a stool

Contact Our Hemorrhoid Specialists in Los Angeles

If you think you may be suffering from internal or external piles, feel free to contact the board-certified colorectal and gastrointestinal doctors at the Hemorrhoid Center of Excellence for a consultation. We can be reached at (888) 742-2032 or by filling out the contact form on this website.