Problems of piles, fissure in anus, and fistula were increasingly seen in people amid the pandemic, said experts, adding that sedentary lifestyle during the lockdowns, which in turn led to an increase in various gastric problems are some of the reasons. This, coupled with a low-fibre diet and excess consumption of ayurvedic kadhas, lead to severe burning of the anus and conditions like piles and fissures in the age group of 15-50 years, experts added.
Dr Laxman Salve, consultant proctologist and laparoscopic surgeon, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Mumbai, said, “Sedentary lifestyle led to indigestion, bloating of the abdomen, gastritis, flatulence, nausea, vomiting, constipation and dehydration. Likewise, an intake of a low-fibre diet and having ayurvedic kadhas which mainly contains different spices, without the supervision of an expert leads to loose motions, burning and swelling of the anus and even bleeding in some cases. Self-medication and mis-diagnosis over online consultation can lead to a wrong treatment and patients may suffer from drug-induced diarrhoea or constipation. Furthermore, this can also aggravate piles. All these conditions led to a spurt in the number of cases of piles, fissures and fistula in the age group of 15-50 years,” he said.
Hemorrhoids (piles) causes the veins in the anus and lower rectum to swell up, while fissures can be termed as a tear in the lining of one’s anus leading to pain while passing motion. Coronavirus lockdown led to three times rise in piles and fissures, says Dr Roy Patankar, director and gastroenterologist, Zen Multispecialty Hospital Chembur.
“Piles and fissures problems were commonly seen among patients amid pandemic. While chronic constipation, lifting heavy objects, straining during bowel movements, and eating processed foods can worsen one’s condition, even eating spicy food can irritate your anus causing rectal bleeding. Lack of physical exercise and inadequate fibre consumption are other possible causes. Around 10 per cent of those affected underwent surgery. One needs to stay away from spicy foods, cheese, laxative, alcohol and caffeine,” said Dr Patankar.
When compared to men, women in the age group of 15 to 30 years were found to have more incidences.
Females are naturally more prone to such conditions because the female pelvis is less well supported than the male pelvis. Younger females mostly suffer because of lack of water and fibre in their diet, while women in later years suffer mainly because of pregnancy and parturition, as per Dr Salve. “The ratio of females suffering from these conditions is 60 per cent to 40 per cent of males. Those patients having suffered piles or fissures saw a recurrence of their problems during the lockdown owing to improper diet and inactivity. Delay in seeking treatment can result in worsening of such conditions,” he explained.
However, doctors said that the good part is 70 per cent of such people can be treated with lifestyle and dietary modifications, with only about 30 per cent likely to require surgery to manage the condition.
“Drink enough water to avoid dehydration, constipation, flatulence. Eat fermented foods like idli, dosa in moderate portions, curd and even buttermilk as they contain good gut bacteria which promotes a healthy gut. Have dinner early by around 8 pm, exercise daily or walk around the house after dinner or go for early morning walks to avoid indigestion, acidity and constipation. Say no to maida products like biscuits, cakes, khari, pizza, pasta and even noodles,” said Dr Salve.