A – Z of Illnesses & Conditions

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Piles, Haemorrhoids

Piles, Haemorrhoids:  Haemorrhoids are structures in the anal canal which controls the evacuation of stools. These structures become piles when inflamed or swollen. The symptoms of haemorrhoids depend on the type present. Internal haemorrhoids are usually present with painless rectal bleeding, while external haemorrhoids may produce few symptoms.

Most haemorrhoids are mild and sometimes don't even cause symptoms. When there are symptoms, these usually include: 
  •     bleeding after passing a stool (the blood will be bright red)
  •     itchy bottom 
  •     a lump hanging down outside of the anus, which may need to be pushed back in after passing a stool
The exact cause of haemorrhoids is unclear, although they are associated with increased pressure in the blood vessels in and around your anus. Most cases are thought to be caused by excessive straining on the toilet, due to prolonged constipation, often resulting from a lack of fibre in your diet. Things that can increase your risk of haemorrhoids include:
  •     being overweight
  •     being over the age of 45
  •     being pregnant
  •     having a family history of haemorrhoids

You should speak to your doctor if your symptoms don't get better, or if you experience pain or bleeding.


Always seek the advice of your doctor before taking herbal remedies

Health Issues

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UK-based trade group the Health Food Manufacturers Association (HFMA) has written a formal letter of complaint to the BBC about a controversial BBC2 Horizon programme about the food supplements industry.