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What are piles?

Andrew Bellingham

Andrew Bellingham

Pharmacist | 20+ Years | BPharm | Dip Clin Pharm

Piles, also known as haemorrhoids, are a common condition where the veins around the rectum and anus become swollen and inflamed.

In the UK, around 50% of people over 50 will experience them at some point, with about 1 in 20 seeking medical treatment each year.

Older adults and pregnant women are more at risk, along with those who have chronic constipation, obesity, or lead a sedentary lifestyle.

If you think you might have haemorrhoids, don’t wait to see your doctor. Book an online consultation with a pharmacist to get the care and treatment you need.

What are piles symptoms?

If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have piles: 

  • After having a poo, you see bright red blood in the poo or toilet paper


  • You feel a persistent itching around the anus


  • You feel like you need another poo just after going


  • You find mucus on your toilet paper or in your underwear


  • You can feel lumps or swelling around your anus


  • You feel pain or discomfort around your anus.

Frequently asked questions about piles

What are the symptoms of piles?

Symptoms of piles include rectal bleeding, itching around the anus, and lumps or swelling.

What colour are piles?

Piles often appear red or purple due to swollen blood vessels. However, the colour can vary.

What happens if piles are left untreated?

Untreated piles can worsen, causing increased pain, bleeding, and discomfort. In severe cases, complications like thrombosis or prolapse may occur.

A man holds his bum through his jeans in pain due to haemorrhoids, the affected area is highlighted red

Do you have haemorrhoids?

Don’t wait for a GP appointment.

Get advice & prescriptions from a trusted pharmacy now:
Complete an easy online questionnaire
Book a free video consultation with a pharmacist
Get medicines delivered to your door

What is Pharmacy First?

Pharmacy First is a new NHS-funded scheme that helps you quickly get the advice & treatment you need from a pharmacy, without needing to see a GP.

The conditions covered by Pharmacy First are:

Video consultations & advice are free of charge. If you pay for prescriptions you will be charged the prescription rate of £9.65 per prescription item.