Piles, also known as haemorrhoids, are swollen veins and muscle around your anus or in your anal canal.
Your anal canal is a short, muscular tube with blood vessels that connects your rectum (back passage) with your anus.
Piles can develop when this tissue becomes swollen, possibly as a result of straining on the toilet.
Sometimes, piles can be painful and bleed if they become damaged. You can get piles at any age, but they’re most common in people aged between 30 and 65.
Piles don’t always cause pain or other symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they can include:
bleeding when you have a bowel movement – you may see blood on toilet paper or drips in the toilet or on your faeces
a lump in or around your anus
a slimy discharge of mucus from your anus, or leaking faeces
a feeling that your bowels haven’t emptied completely
itchy or sore skin around your anus
pain and discomfort after a bowel movement (if you have external piles)
These symptoms may be caused by problems other than piles, such as inflammatory bowel disease, anal cancer, bowel cancer and an anal fissure (tear).