Causes of piles

Also referred to as haemorrhoids, ‘piles’ are a common issue for men and women across the UK. Causing a range of unpleasant symptoms, most cases of piles can be improved with over-the-counter treatments. However, sometimes they may become large and painful and need to be removed either surgically or non-surgically.

What are common causes of piles?

If you want to avoid developing piles, it helps to know what causes them in the first place. While not all cases of piles can be completely avoided, here are some of the main culprits to be aware of…


The leading cause of piles is over-straining on the toilet. When you strain too much while trying to empty the bowels, it can increase pressure in the rectum. The small collections of vessels in the anus become more engorged, causing swelling and bleeding. You are more likely to strain on the toilet when you have constipation.

Another reason you might develop piles is spending too much time on the toilet. These days, it is common to take a smartphone device to use while on the toilet. This increases the amount of time you sit on the toilet, increasing the risk of piles.


Like over-straining, obesity places extra pressure onto the veins and blood vessels. It is also linked to a lack of exercise, which can further increase the risk of piles. If you want to prevent them from forming in the first place, exercising for at least 30 minutes each day is recommended.

Obesity can be a sign of a poor diet, which can further increase your risk of piles. Healthy digestion is crucial in the prevention of the condition as it reduces the risk of constipation.

A lack of fibre in the diet

A lack of fibre in your diet is a big contributor to the development of piles. Fibre gives our stools a softer consistency, helping it through the intestines and preventing constipation. Make sure you add plenty of fibre to your diet to help prevent over-straining on the toilet.


Pregnancy in women is a common cause of piles. They can occur before birth when carrying the baby and then become worse during delivery. Often piles associated with pregnancy will improve once the pregnancy is over, but sometimes treatment is needed.

How are piles treated?

These are the main causes of piles. By eating a healthy diet packed full of fibre, and reducing your time on the toilet, you’ll greatly reduce your risk of developing piles. If you do develop piles, there are effective treatments available. Most will clear up with over-the-counter treatments and rest. However, in some cases you may need a surgical or non-surgical treatment.

Some treatments can be performed in a clinic without sedation and carry low risk of complications, including banding and injection sclerotherapy. In more serious cases, a haemorrhoidectomy can be performed under general anaesthesia, normally as a day case. There are several different types of haemorrhoid removal surgeries all with varying pros and cons.

If your piles aren’t going away with over-the-counter treatments, book an appointment with Mr Michael Stellakis today. He will discuss the treatment options available and help you decide which is the right option.