As a surgeon, I was asked to write a blog on the most common health problem my patients come up with. My reflex response is...Piles! Believe it or not, almost 40-50 % patients coming to me suffer from this 'embarrassing' problem. While I firmly believe there is nothing to be embarrassed about any disease, but honestly speaking, being a female, I would also have thought twice before consulting a male doctor regarding an issue like this, had I been suffering from the same. In this short article, I will emphasize on why it is always better to take timely help of a qualified person, rather than wasting time worrying and hiding, hoping it'll get better on its own.

Here are 5 Reasons why you should never hide Piles:

1. What you think is piles, may not be piles at all.

'Piles' has become a general term for any problem related to the perianal region, the area from where we pass motions. Depending on the symptoms and examination findings, you may be suffering from haemorrhoids, fissure, fistula, perianal abscess or rectal prolapse. All of these are totally different illnesses, with totally different management altogether.

When you visit your doctor, be sure to tell him/her about your symptoms, which are different in all the above-mentioned diseases.

  • If you are suffering from bleeding while passing motions, with little or no pain, chances are that you may be suffering from haemorrhoids, which are dilated blood vessels in the anal region. 
  • If you have severe unbearable, burning pain during or after passing motions, with little or no bleeding, chances are that you may be suffering from a fissure.
  • If you have unbearable pain along with swelling and high fever, you may be suffering from a perianal abscess.

2. Careful examination is a must before starting medicines.

I get patients who have finished many courses of various OTC medicines for 'piles', without any benefit. I often ask them whether they got themselves checked before starting the commonly available medicines. And the answer is usually a 'No'! Until we know what we are dealing with, how can we treat it?

3. Most perianal problems get treated with proper medicines.

A simple problem like a fissure or haemorrhoid can respond very well to medicines if detected timely and treated properly.Diet plays a very important role too. Most patients who come to me, are following a wrong diet. Your food must include a high amount of fibre, which is found in salads, vegetables and fruits. Fibre food contains roughage and makes motions soft and free. Oily and spicy food makes motions hard. Through proper diet charts and lifestyle changes, most surgeries are avoidable.

4. Surgery for piles is safe and effective.

Surgery is reserved only for those cases who do not respond to medicines. In case you require surgery, it is a daycare procedure for most perianal problems. Stapler hemorrhoidectomy is an advanced procedure which is painless, bloodless and most satisfying for patients with only a single day admission. You can even get your surgery done on a weekend and get back to work from Monday!

5. What you think is piles, maybe cancer.

Not that I want to scare the reader, but it is true that an early anal cancer may present as a bleeding mass per rectum. Hence, it is always recommended that a careful and gentle per rectal examination be done by your proctologist to rule out cancer. And even if it is cancer, the earlier we deal with it, the better are the results. After all, as they say, 'a stitch in time saves nine'!