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What causes piles to sometimes swell up?

Piles or if you prefer – haemorrhoids – are regularly described as lumps or masses of tissue that are on the inside of your bottom, in the case of internal piles, or on the outside of your bottom (external piles).

It is a common misconception that they always hang like grapes outside your anus. This may be true under certain conditions but generally speaking, when you first notice that you have piles, they would rarely be so bad as to be described as ‘grape like’.

what are piles?

Haemorrhoid swelling causes

External piles lie underneath the skin around the anus. If these become irritated by pressure from over straining when going to the toilet or itchy and sore causing you to scratch the area, then they can become inflamed and swell up. When this happens they can look like little pink lumps around your anus.

External piles can also become clotted with blood giving them a bruised look. This clotting is associated with swelling and can cause a lot of discomfort, but there are creams and ointments that can reduce the swelling and the pain. The medical name for this type of pile is a thrombosed haemorrhoid.

Internal piles can become “prolapsed,” which means that they extend outside of your anus. This may sound pretty nasty, but it happens when the internal piles are filled with blood, often brought on by continuous straining when opening your bowels. This really highlights the importance of a high fibre diet, drinking plenty of water and taking regular exercise, to make sure that your body and bowel movements are functioning well.

If you do find that your internal haemorrhoid has prolapsed, you can find that sometimes they retreat back on their own or you can gently push them back in yourself. If you find that neither of these options is successful then you may have developed a grade 4 prolapsed haemorrhoid, which can be one of the most painful types.

How to reduce haemorrhoid swelling

The use of creams with hydrocortisone may help reduce haemorrhoid swellling. This ingredient not only comes in the form of creams but is also found in ointments, suppositories and foams that are readily available from your pharmacy.

Does ice reduce the swelling of haemorrhoids?

The cooling sensation that you get from ice packs has been known to bring some much needed relief to piles. There are in fact ice gel products available that are specifically designed for cooling the area. These products are kept in a freezer and when needed, you simply place them inside your underwear, held between your buttocks.

If these fail to bring as much relief as you’d hoped, then an appointment with your doctor is probably your best step.

If you would like to see an eXroid consultant, then our advisors can usually make an appointment for you to be seen within two weeks. There is no need to suffer in silence due to embarrassment as our advisors are very discreet and know exactly what you are going through.

What are the grades for internal haemorrhoids?

There are four grades of internal haemorroids (the ones inside your anus).

Grade 1 – These are always described as NOT prolapsed and remain inside.

Grade 2 – These are described as prolapsed but retreat on their own after a bowel movement.

Grade 3 – These are described as prolapsed but can be pushed back in.

Grade 4 –  These are described as prolapsed but CAN’T be pushed back in.

Is there a permanent fix for haemorrhoids?

No treatment can claim to cure you of ever getting haemorrhoids again but there are a number of surgical and non-surgical treatments that can clear you of the haemorrhoids you may have now.

eXroid electrotherapy is one such non-surgical treatment. It’s safe, effective and one of the least invasive treatments available. This useful at a glance guide will give you an idea of the benefits.


eXroid Electrotherapy Treatment


eXroid electrotherapy is NOT a heat treatment

No preparation (e.g. no enema)
No anaesthesia and no hospital stay
Non-invasive – no cutting or needles
Walk-in, walk-out
Each treatment takes 10-30 minutes
Usually painless/causes minimal or no discomfort.
Nearly all patients resume normal activities the same day
50% of patients cleared with one treatment, 80% with two
Approved for reimbursement by all major insurance companies
Appointments usually within two weeks of booking
Positive NICE guidance

Speak to one of our experienced advisors. All enquiries are handled with complete discretion.

eXroid COVID-19 Update

Elective treatments suspended for the next 3 weeks
Following the Prime Minister’s national address at 20:30 on Monday 23rd March, it is imperative that we do our utmost to restrict the spread of COVID-19 and safeguard our patients and their communities, our staff and our clinics. Whilst we will always aim to do all we can to help and bring relief to our patients, we are bound by the greater cause to limit this highly infectious virus. We are therefore, as of now, re-scheduling all of our clinics and appointments to over 3 weeks into the future in line with the government guidance.

We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience and we will speak to everyone of our booked patients individually and do all we can to provide support.

We do, however, understand that there are some extreme cases and where patients feel there is an extreme detriment to their quality of life and / or they are suffering excessive bleeding, we will continue to provide our service on an emergency basis, where possible. This will be preceded by a triage call with myself initially, to ascertain what the issues are and to try to help remotely with a prescription, if possible, in the short term. If you have any concerns please contact us on 0800 999 3777.

We will continue to keep all of our patients directly informed and fully intend to treat everyone as planned, once the current restrictions have been lifted, presently scheduled for after the next three weeks.

The latest information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

Again, if there are any questions or support we can offer, our team will remain working and available to support.

Kind Regards,

Dr Mark J. Hudson-Peacock,
Chairman and Medical Director