Rectal disorders are so universal and so important, that I shall take this opportunity to answer the many questions that have come to me by mail in the past few years on this subject.
Of all the diseases of the rectum the condition that causes trouble the most often is haemorrhoids or piles. The word “piles” comes from the Latin “pila”a ball or rounded mass.
A well-known surgery starts the chapter on this subject by the sentence, “Haemorrhoids are common to all mankind. First and last, few persons escape them.”
Essentially they are enlargements of the blood vessels of the veins in that region. This enlargement is due sometimes to straining, sometimes to pressure, as by the enlarged womb in the expectant mother, Both constipation and diarrhoea may be factors in their production.
A haemorrhoid may undergo a number of different changes, which produce various symptoms. Sometimes the wall of the blood vessel becomes so thin that it bursts, producing so-called “bleeding piles.” Again, the blood inside the vessel wall may become clotted on account of stasis, an extremely painful condition called “acute piles.” In other cases, simply protrusion and congestion cause inflammation and discomfort and soreness.
Treatment may range in severity from local applications to surgical operation. Just exactly what treatment is advisable can only be determined by the individual case. Sometimes suppositories alone, of which there are many varieties, are sufficient to mitigate the discomfort and create ease for many years, until recurrence. If suppositories do give relief, they should, by all odds, be used without further treatment.
Surgical operation for removal is so simple and gives so much relief and is, with modern technique, so safe and painless, that it is a pity all sufferers do not take advantage of it. At the present time it can be done under local anesthesia, with a maximum of four or five days in bed. To quote from another modern surgery: “The average patient is back at work in a week, and is completely healed in ten days to two weeks.”
The amount of pain the average sufferer endures in order to escape the infinitesimal discomfort of operation is pitiful.