Pardon the pun, but hemorrhoids can be a real pain in the butt. While it’s not the most popular conversation topic, hemorrhoids are an extremely common issue – and if you are someone who suffers from them, you’re not alone. Over 10 million Americans have hemorrhoids, and the causes behind them are many. Genetic can play a part, where any hereditary weakness of the veins in combination with extreme pressure in the anal region during defecation, may result in the formation of hemorrhoids.
This is because the venous system that supplies blood to the rectal area doesn’t contain any valves, and because of this there’s risk of venous congestion that can lead to hemorrhoid formation. This is increased when there’s intra-abdominal pressure due to defecation, pregnancy, coughing, sneezing, vomiting, physical exertion, portal hypertension, or over-straining during bowel excretion caused by a low-fiber diet. Diarrhea, standing or sitting for long periods of time can also increase the risk.
Hemorrhoids can be either internal or external. However, either location can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. External hemorrhoids appear below the anorectal line, and internal hemorrhoids form above the anorectal line. It’s also possible to develop mixed hemorrhoids that are a combination of external and internal, developed adjacent to one another which appear as baggy swellings.
Symptoms may differ from person to person and are dependent on the type of hemorrhoid you may have. Burning, pain, inflammation, irritation, swelling, seepage and especially bleeding are all common. It’s important to be conscious of this because constant bleeding due to hemorrhoids can lead to anemia resulting from the blood loss.
Although hemorrhoids can be uncomfortable to deal with, there are natural ways to aid in the healing process. There are a variety of herbal remedies that can be used in order to tone the blood vessels and ease any discomfort. Pilewort, Which Hazel, Periwinkle, and Tormentil are all great options to help tone the blood vessels in order to prevent and aid in the healing process.
Pilewort may also be applied as an ointment for relief of irritation and swelling. If constipation is causing the problem, herbs such as Barberry, Dandelion Root, Golden Seal and Yellow Dock may be used as they each have a gentle laxative effect that can help ease bowel movements.
In order to prevent hemorrhoids, it’s important to maintain a proper diet. Consuming high-fiber foods on a regular basis while avoiding refined foods can help decrease their risk of developing. Those who don’t consume enough fiber in their diet are more likely to strain the blood vessels during defecation, since stools are smaller and harder, making them more difficult to pass and therefore increasing the risk of hemorrhoid formation.
Overall, a high-fiber diet consisting of a variety of vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains and adequate amounts of water all enhance peristalsis and aid in digestion. The fiber content of these foods attracts water in the body and helps to keep the stool bulky, soft and gelatinous, making it easier to release. In addition, natural bulking agents such as psyllium seed or guargum may be used to reduce straining. These natural bulking agents also attract water, creating a soft bulky stool that making it easier to pass.
Sitting in a warm bath may also help relieve some of the discomfort. The temperature should be between 100 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit in order to help soothe any irritation. Lastly, topical treatments may also help ease any irritation. Witch hazel, cod liver oil and cocoa butter are all great natural options to apply topically to the affected region. Although these are great options for relief, their effects are only temporary. Therefore, maintaining a well-balanced diet high in fiber and water and free of refined foods is vital to prevent hemorrhoid formation and to speed up healing time.