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Video

Dr Christian:

Loads of you have been leaving messages on the Embarrassing Bodies website about haemorrhoids. It seems that you’re confused whether you actually have them and what the symptoms are. Well it’s very simple; haemorrhoids are basically distended blood vessels that occur around the opening of the anus and the common symptoms are itching, having to strain when you go to the loo, some discomfort, some pain, some mucus and even some bleeding when you wipe afterwards. And it is possible that you might feel small tender lumps around the opening of your anus. Haemorrhoids really are that simple and if you’re in any doubt whatsoever, go and ask your GP.

A common question that I’m getting a lot is: Is itching a sign of Haemorrhoids? Well yes itching is a sign of haemorrhoids but it’s also a sign of all sorts of other things as well. Haemorrhoids commonly itch because the skin is irritated, cleanliness isn’t very easy when you have external haemorrhoids, but worms and other skin conditions around the anus can also cause itching so do go and ask your GP to get it properly checked out and get a diagnosis.

A question that’s cropping up quite a lot is does anal sex give you Haemorrhoids? Well the jury is still out, research hasn’t shown it either way, but thinking about it mechanically and biologically there is no real reason why anal sex should give you haemorrhoids. If you have anal sex when you have haemorrhoids however, this will almost certainly irritate them and cause pain, so do be careful and always use protection.

Some of you have written in worrying about whether pregnancy can cause haemorrhoids. Well the honest answer is I’m afraid yes it can indeed. Because you’re carrying a large baby down in your pelvis this increases the pressure down there, which can distend the vessels around your bottom, which are haemorrhoids. The good news is your GP is well prepared for this and can offer you treatment so do go and see them.

A lot of you have written in complaining that the creams that you’ve tried over the counter for haemorrhoids don’t seem to work very well. Well the truth is there are creams and there are creams. Some creams are simply designed for symptomatic relief so they can help with pain and itching and others are designed to actually shrink the haemorrhoid themselves. So do talk to your pharmacist and find out the whole range available to you.

There are lifestyle changes that you can make that should help you. It’s important that you are not constipated so include lots of fibre in your diet and drink plenty of water, and if you are constipated, consider getting a laxative to help you. Suppositories can help, as can certain painkillers, otherwise it’s a trip back to your GP.
For those of you with severe haemorrhoids, or whose haemorrhoids haven’t responded well to over the counter treatments and medications, surgery may be the next step. They can offer you various different forms of treatment including banding, which involves putting a very, very tight elastic band around the haemorrhoid which will help it shrivel and fall off, or sclerosing injections which cause the haemorrhoid to shrivel up and scar away, or full-on surgical removal by various techniques. A good chat with a surgeon, who can examine you and help you decide which the best option for you will be.

Some of you have been asking whether a mucus discharge could be caused by haemorrhoids. Yes it could, they can cause increased mucus production from your bottom, but mucus can be a symptom of all sorts other things as well. Inflammatory bowel conditions like Crohn’s Disease can cause increased mucus, simply eating a very hot, spicy curry can cause mucus as well anal infections, so if there’s any doubt, get a proper diagnosis from your GP.

A lot of you have left comments worrying about experiencing a little bit of bleeding from your bottom. It’s something that really terrifies patients but rarely terrifies doctors, and the reason for that is that bleeding very rarely is a sign of cancer; it’s more commonly a sign of a small crack, a tear, a fissure or even a haemorrhoid. Cancer rarely causes significant bleeding; it’s more likely to cause you a change in your bowel habit, altering between constipation and diarrhoea. If you’re experiencing this please see your GP.

Read the video transcript

Doctor Responses: Haemorrhoids

Dr Christian has been scouring the Embarrassing Bodies website collecting the most common queries from viewers about piles. In this short video he gives answers to your most burning questions.

The majority of questions were found in the comments section of our condition guide to piles.

Explore Am I Normal? >

Am I Normal?: Sex And Relationships >
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Comments and Questions

Comments & Questions are now archived, but if you see anything on the site that worries you, please report it and one of our moderators will look at it as soon as possible.
Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

I have severe IBD. (CD) I have thumb sized skin tags around the entirety of my rectum from almost 8 years of my IBD. Is there anyway to get rid of them, and make my rectum look normal again?? Literally- it's so unsightly, and embarrassing.





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I am 43 and I have internal piles wot come down every day and I have to push them bk up this is painfull and also embarrassing is there any creams are tablets I can take wot can reduce them it is really bad after I have been for a number 2 thank you !!!! Desperate for help





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I am 43 and I have internal piles wot come down every day and I have to push them bk up this is painfull and also embarrassing is there any creams are tablets I can take wot can reduce them it is really bad after I have been for a number 2 thank you !!!! Desperate for help





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I have this little lump next to my bum hole. If hurts when I sit down and also walk. I have not gone for a poo in 4 days and I do eat a lot of food. I normally poo each day but now I don't. What do you think I should do ??





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Last year i had piles and at the end of the year I had them banded. It took a while but everything seems to have settled down now. Is it ok to have anal sex or is this likely to cause the problem return ?





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im a 40 and gay man, I have found that in the past few years I keep getting small rips around my anus. I have stopped having any kind of sex as I can not get rid of them. is there anything I can do or buy to help.





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I have had piles for over 10 years now internal and external, I've had the surgery to remove them and it's worse than what it was before. The surgery was the most painfull thing I have ever been through in my life. Sometimes I get good weeks other times are bad. I lose a fair bit of blood and it can happen at random times . I'm so over this stress ,Pain and embassment , I don't want surgery again any ideas on what I should do ?





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Have you had HALO treatment on them? It's a new type of surgery to treat them. It sorted mine out

Hi, I am 13 and when I went to the toilet it had some blood in and it took a while for anything to come out. It is uncomfortable when I walk. I havent started my period yet. I haven't experienced it before and I am really worried. I want to try and not get my mum involved because it is an awkward topic to share. Can any one help or relate to what I am experiencing?!?!?!?!?! X





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Hi Megan. Honey I am a mum of three. Please talk to your mum about this. If you really don't want to, ask her if she can drop you off to your local doctor for a chat. Don't feel embarrassed please. :)

Iv been bleeding quit alot today went docs this morning she said if no change go to hospital but im affraid of what they may do or say can you olease adivise me asvto what may happen if i go to hospital today :(





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I am 20 yrs young I got hemmoriods after having my son who is Now 4 I have been dealing with them for 4 years I have 4 external and very conscious of my body because of them I feel ugly and un normal they don't corse me any pain after I had my second son who is now 11 months for about 1 week after I have birth to him I couldn't walk sit rol over in bed use the toilet nothing I was bed ridden on my back .... I have been giving creams but nothing works my doctor advised to see if I could push them back up but did not work he has offered surgery but I am a complete sook and too sceard is there anything I can do about removing them I feel un clean and disgusting please help





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get the surgery, they band them, they fall off and the pain goes away, so does the anal leakage.


More Information

  1. Quick Health Advice: Piles

    In Videos - Dr Jessen passes on some advice about the causes of piles and the p…

  2. Consultation: Haemorrhoids

    In Videos - A patient is diagnosed with haemorrhoids by Dr Jessen

  3. Prolapsed Rectum

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  4. Consultation: Vaginal Prolapse

    In Videos - Dr Harper examines a woman who has suffered a prolapsed vagina afte…

  5. Consultation: Second Adult Circumcision

    In Videos - Dr Jessen examines a patient in need of a new circumcision

  6. Haemorrhoids

    In Conditions - Also known as 'piles', this is a condition where the blood vessels…

  7. Dr Christian Jessen

    Doctor Info - Find out more about Dr Christian

  8. James Russell

    Doctor Info - Find out more about James Russell.

  9. Dr Priya Manickavasagar

    Doctor Info - Find out more about Dr Priya.

  10. Body Check: Urine

    In Videos - Dr Christian talks about potential health problems that can be spot…

  11. Quick Health Advice: Penis Spots

    In Videos - Dr Christian discusses how to check for penile spots and what warni…

  12. Consultation: Soreness on the Penis

    In Videos - A patient is examined for soreness around his penis

  13. Body Check: Stools

    In Videos - Dr Christian describes what different shapes and colours of poo can…

  14. Body Check: Semen

    In Videos - Dr Christian discusses the importance of semen and what it can tell…

  15. Body Check: Moles

    In Videos - Dr Christian talks about how to check your moles for potentially da…


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