Piles are swellings on the inside of the anal canal, the short, muscular tube that connects the rectum (back passage) with the anus, in areas known as the anal cushions. They are round swellings that can reach the size of a grape. Piles are varicose veins.
Types of piles
Although piles develop from inside the anal canal, they can hang down out of their normal place.
Piles can be described as follows.
- First degree piles are swellings on the inside lining of the anal canal (dental line). They bleed but can’t be seen from outside the anus.
- Second degree piles are larger and can stick out (or prolapse) from the anus when someone open his/her bowels, but return on their own afterwards.
- Third degree piles are similar, but hang out from the anus and only return inside when pushed back in.
- Fourth degree piles permanently hang down from the anus and can’t push them back inside. They may become extremely swollen and painful if the blood in them clots.