Haemorrhoids or piles are quite different from hernia in almost all aspects. The symptoms of piles are different from the hernia symptoms, and the treatment options are quite different too. There are key differences between the two, which are mainly that piles is the protrusion of inflamed veins while hernia is protrusion of fatty tissue or intestines.
Haemorrhoids mostly affect people in the second decade of their life. It is a painful and embarrassing condition, which results in many people not seeking help when they need it the most. The symptoms of piles can be quite severe but due to the personal nature of them, some people tend to not want to seek medical help.
What are they?
Haemorrhoids is an anorectal disease that can be extremely painful, depending on the type of haemorrhoids. Also known as piles, it refers to the sac of swollen blood vessels either inside the rectum or protruding from the rectum.
Piles presents with similar symptoms in everyone but it is important to rule out other similar conditions before making the diagnosis of haemorrhoids. Piles symptoms are often itchy anus, rectal bleeding, discomfort while sitting, and sensation of hard or soft lumps near the anus. Pain is another symptom that may be present.
There are two main types of haemorrhoids; internal and external, which denote the location of the haemorrhoids. There is another type of haemorrhoid known as a thrombosed haemorrhoid.
The internal haemorrhoids are inflamed rectal veins in the anal canal, on the walls of the canal. They are generally painless and are divided into categories I, II, III, and IV. As the inflammation gets worse, the pain increases, and the categories progress.
External haemorrhoids protrude from the rectum and appear as a sac of lumps. The protruding veins are wrapped in a mucous membrane that is extremely sensitive to pain. This type of haemorrhoid is generally painful and uncomfortable.
This type of haemorrhoid is the most painful to touch and appears purplish-blue. Thrombosed haemorrhoids refer to haemorrhoidal veins that have developed a blood clot. They require urgent treatment as the complications are severe.
There are many causes of piles but they all have the same starting point; trauma to the anal canal. Pressure from trauma can cause the veins in the wall to become inflamed and eventually thrombosed.
The most common causes of piles are:
- Weight gain during pregnancy putting pelvic pressure on the anal canal
- Straining to defecate due to constipation
- Pushing to defecate
- Straining to lift heavy objects
There are some people who are prone to get haemorrhoids:
- Obese or Overweight
- Pregnant women
- Those who eat low-fibre diets
- Chronic constipation or diarrhoea patients
- Heavy lifters
It is not possible to discuss the treatment of piles without mentioning the home remedies for piles relief. Some of these remedies include:
- Using toilet papers or wipes with lotion for wiping after defecation
- Eating more fibre either in form of fruits and vegetables or supplements
- Aloe vera gels
- Soothing wipes with aloe vera or tea tree oil
- Tea tree oil that has been diluted
- Epsom salt bath
Treatment options also include:
- Over-the-counter medications such as lidocaine
- Sitz bath
Hernias are also as common as piles, but they mostly affect men. There are different types of hernias and out of them, only a few affect women. Moreover, the symptoms are less severe in women than in men.
What is a Hernia?
A hernia occurs when an internal organ in the abdomen or the groin pushes through a weak spot in the abdominal wall and protrudes outward. Hernia often appears as a bulge that may become prominent with straining or coughing.
Some of the other hernia symptoms include:
- Dull, aching sensation
- Pain while lifting or with other strenuous activities
- Increase in size of the bulge
Types of Hernia
There are several types of hernias but the three major types are:
- Inguinal Hernia: This type affects men more than women and refers to the protrusion of intestine or fat tissue into the groin and upper thigh.
- Femoral Hernia: This type affects older women and is not common in men. It is similar to an inguinal hernia but the anatomic position of internal protrusion is different and slightly lower than an inguinal hernia.
- Umbilical Hernia: This hernia appears as a bulge near the belly button and is the protrusion of intestines through a gap in the abdominal wall, next to the umbilicus.
Causes of Hernia
Some of the common causes of hernia are:
- Obesity or overweight
- Long-lasting cough that puts a strain on the abdominal wall
- Constipation, causing constant straining
Treatment of Hernia
Hernia can become strangulated meaning that when the intestines protrude, the gap in the wall becomes tight and constricts the intestines, blocking off their blood supply. The complications of hernia are dire.
Hernia often requires surgical treatment as the intestines or fatty tissue won’t go back on its own. The surgery can be open, laparoscopic, or robotic depending on the hospital you choose and your specific case.