Is It piles or Something Else?

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An alarming situation is when you see blood in your stool. The first thing that comes into mind is colorectal cancer! Although colorectal cancer can cause similar symptoms to those of piles, they are completely two different conditions. Keep in mind that piles are easily treatable and do not lead to cancer.

Causes To Know

The most common reason for rectal bleeding from the anus can be due to piles, fistulas or fissures. But the other reasons for rectal bleeding could be-

  • Diverticulosis-Diverticulosis is a condition in which small pouches or diverticula have formed around the walls of the large intestine that causes bleeding.
  • Polyps-Polyp is a cancerous condition that rises from hemorrhoids in a serious case. This causes the stool to change color to blackish red.
  • Crohn’s disease-This is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. This causes inflammation of the tissues of your small intestine. People who have lower immunity or whose family has a history of Crohn’s disease, are more likely to suffer from this disease. You might get this disease due to environmental factors also. Some of the common symptoms you may experience include chronic diarrhea, loss of weight, abdominal pain and even severe cases of rectal bleeding also.
  • Diverticulitis-In this type of disease, there is the formation of pouches along the walls of the intestines. These pouches can get inflamed or infected. This can cause small abscesses in one of the pouches to major infections or perforations of the bowel. You will feel severe abdominal pain and extreme fever if you suffer from this.
  • Mesenteric ischemia– This occurs when the blood flow to your small intestine is restricted by the narrowing or blocking of the arteries.  This can be both acute as well as chronic. If you have acute mesenteric ischemia then you’ll have continuous abdominal pain. While if you are suffering from chronic mesenteric ischemia, you’ll feel pain after half an hour after eating. This can only be treated with surgery.
  • Small Bowel ulcers-These are nothing but ulcerations of the walls of the small intestine. These occur when you ingest certain medications. The treatment of small bowel ulceration involves surgery.
  • Colon cancer- You should lookout for a change in bowel habits or rectal bleeding as these symptoms of colon cancer. This usually begins as a small polyp. This is detectable through a colonoscopy.
  • Radiation to the abdomen-If you have undergone a treatment in which you have received radiation in the abdominal area, then you are at risk of developing complications in your bowel.
  • Colon Cancer-Colon cancer is a rare type of cancer that initially starts in the large intestine.

So how exactly are these conditions and piles different from one another? Colon cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the colon (large intestine) caused due to aging, smoking, hereditary factors or other gastrointestinal diseases. While piles are swelling and enlarging of the veins in the lower part of the rectum and the anus due to increased pressure in this region.

Symptoms To Look Out For

Now that you know that these are absolutely two different conditions, let’s have a look at the different signs and symptoms of piles as well as colorectal cancer so that you know when it’s time to visit the doctor.

Symptoms That Are Different

Now you know about similar symptoms, let’s see the symptoms of colorectal cancer that are exclusive-

  • Change in bowel habits-This is a very clear warning sign of colorectal cancer. Change of bowel habits is defined as any change from the normal- from frequency to consistency of your bowel movements.
  • Persistent abdominal discomfort-Colorectal cancer can cause abdominal pain or pain which doesn’t go away. Other signs are gas, bloating and cramps. Piles do not cause any such symptoms.
  • Unexplained weight loss-You’ll be surprised to know that 38 to 51 percent of people with colorectal cancer experience sudden weight loss, depending on the location and stage of cancer.
  • Feeling that bowel doesn’t empty- Even though your bowels are empty, the sensation of having to pass stool is a typical symptom of colorectal cancer.
  • Weakness/fatigue- Feeling weak is another common symptom of cancer.
  • Rectal pain- Pain in the rectal region is more likely to be caused by mild piles while colorectal cancer usually doesn’t cause any pain.

Symptoms That Are Common 

Although these two conditions are completely different from one another, these cause some of the same symptoms. Hence, look out for these symptoms and get professional help if you feel the need.

  • Rectal bleeding-Some of the signs of rectal bleeding include blood on the toilet paper, in the toilet, or mixed with the stool after a bowel movement. Piles is the most common cause of rectal bleeding but anorectal cancer can also cause bleeding.
  • Rectal and anal itching-Itching is caused by the mucus and stool from inside the rectum which can irritate the sensitive skin inside the rectum and around the anus.

If you are feeling any of these symptoms, especially those of colorectal cancer, then seek medical help without wasting any time.

If there’s blood in the stool it means there’s some bleeding in any part of the digestive tract. The bleeding occurs generally at the end of the digestive tract i.e the anus. You should immediately see a doctor who can provide you immediate care.

Lifestyle Modifications To Get Some Relief

If you are one of those whose job requires them to sit in a posture for long hours or leaves not much time to have a balanced diet, then it is time you change these and incorporate some healthy habits in your daily routine.

  1. Eat a fiber-rich diet

A diet that is high in fiber is essential to keep the digestive tract healthy. Eating a fiber-rich diet ensures that you have a smooth, regular bowel movement that doesn’t need excessive straining. This also decreases the chances of constipation, which is one of the main causes of piles.

  1. Drink lots of fluids

Drink at least 1.5-2 liters of water daily. This helps to keep the stool soft and ensures no extra pressure is put on the bowel movement. This results in a regular and easy passing of stools and causes less irritation to the hemorrhoids.

  1. Wear loose, cotton clothes

Avoid wearing tight uncomfortable undergarments as this will make the affected part sweaty and cause more problems. Wearing loose-fitting, cotton, breathable undergarments help in reducing symptoms and prevents irritation also.

  1. Practice good bathroom habits

Some good bathroom habits you can try are-

  • Don’t strain and push unnecessarily
  • Whenever you feel the need for a bowel movement, go for it
  • Use damp toilet paper after a bowel movement
  • Don’t sit for long on the toilet

These simple tips can help you decrease the pressure you put in the anal region.

Although these home remedies have proven to be effective for curing piles, they take a long time to show results. In this fast-moving life, you may don’t have enough time for following all the above-mentioned tips. Worry no more you can opt for the most-advanced laser-based procedures for curing piles.

Treat Piles with Laser treatment

 Laser treatment for piles is considered to be most-effective as this is absolutely painless as well as lowers the risk of recurrence to almost zero. Apart from being pain-free, this treatment ensures minimum bleeding. There is absolutely no major blood loss which in turn, lessens the chances of any infection. You’ll be able to recover within two days if you don’t show any complication. It is performed on an outpatient basis which means after the piles surgery, you’ll be discharged on the same day itself. There is no need for any daily dressings also! So wait no more and visit a laser clinic today!

Also Read: Why you should not go for piles treatment at home?

Aisha Aggarwal
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