Courtesy of THIS Quarterly magazine  
 
 
Common Myths About Piles  
 
   
     
 

PILES OR HAEMORRHOIDS ARE VERY common, affecting at least 50 per cent of populations around the world, including Singapore. Piles were known and treated as far back as 1700 BC by Eygptian physicians. It is not surprising that there are many myths and folklores about piles. The following are commonly expressed by patients in Singapore.

Piles are cause d by sitting on hot seats or eating too much chillis.

Untrue as piles are caused by a combination of genetic factors, age, constipation, straining at stools, sitting on the toilet for a long time, pregnancies and natural deliveries. Treating constipation is a very important part of treating piles.

All lumps from the anus are piles.

Other causes of “lumps” are blood clot or haematoma, fibro-epithelial polyp, wart, abscess and rectal prolapse. Blood clots are usually caused by straining and they are most commonly confused with piles. It is important to make a correct diagnosis by careful examination before treatment.

All bleeding from the anus are due to piles.

This is a dangerous assumption. Other causes of bleeding are anal tears or fissures, infection, inflammation and cancer. The most depressing situation is to find a big and late cancer of the low rectum in an elderly patient who had been bleeding for over a year thinking that it was just piles.

Piles can turn into cancer.

No, piles will not turn into cancer but cancer can be confused with piles because they both bleed.

Piles are painful.

Most piles are painless. Painful fresh bleeding is usually caused by an anal tear or fissure.

 

Piles are best treated by Traditional Chinese Medicine.

There is no single treatment that is effective for all piles which come in different forms and degrees of severity. Piles can be internal, external, or both; Grade I, II, III or IV; acute or chronic.

The range of treatments include medications and suppositories; office procedures like injection and rubber-band ligation; surgical operations like traditional operation, Transanal Haemorrhoidal Dearterialisation (THD ) and Stapled haemorrhoidopexy. The essence of piles treatment is to choose the right treatment for the right patient.

Piles operation is very, very painful.

Conventional surgery can be extremely painful but newer methods with circular staples or THD is much less painful. Ninety three per cent of patients say there is surprisingly little pain with staple surgery.

Piles surgery leads to loss of control or incontinence.

This is extremely rare because experience and knowledge of the anatomy has taught us to avoid cutting too much anal cushions or damaging sphincter muscles.

Piles will recur after surgery.

Only five per cent will recur. It depends on the operation and as to whether the patient continues to have constipation, straining at stools and sitting at the toilet for a long time.

 
 
 
DR GOH HAK SU | Colorectal Surgeon
MBBS, FRCS, FAMS

Address
 
Goh Hak-Su Colon & Rectal Centre
6 Napier Road #04-08
Gleneagles Medical Centre
Tel : (65) 6473 0408
Website : www.gohhaksu.sg