What Is Hemorrhoids

Often called piles, Hemorrhoids are inflamed or swollen veins in the lower rectum or anus.  Whether they are induced by straining during bowel movements or increased pressure during pregnancy, roughly half of adults may experience Hemorrhoids by age 50.  Hemorrhoids can be internal or external with external Hemorrhoids being the most common and troublesome.  

Signs Of Hemorrhoids

While Hemorrhoids can be painful, they are not life-threatening and can usually go away without treatment.  The symptoms will depend on the location.  Internal Hemorrhoids inside the rectum are commonly unnoticeable and don't cause the person discomfort.  External Hemorrhoids in the anus are usually swollen and can cause irritation.  Symptoms can be:

  • Painless bleeding during bowel movements
  • Intense itching around the anus
  • Fecal leakage
  • Itchy lump or swelling near anus
  • Painful bowel movements
What Causes Hemorrhoids

The veins around the anus will stretch under pressure, and can bulge or swell as a result.  When there is an increase in pressure in the lower rectum or area around the anus, the veins may swell.  This is very common during pregnancy because the uterus presses on the vein in the colon and causes it to swell.  Common causes for Hemorrhoids are listed below. 

  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Complications from chronic constipation
  • Family history of Hemorrhoids
  • Low-fiber diet
  • Anal intercourse  

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • Apple cider vinegar is a superstar in the world of home remedies, and it is a popular natural treatment to help reduce Hemorrhoids. Soak a cotton ball in 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and apply it directly to the Hemorrhoids, taping it on overnight.  Repeat this process until the inflammation dies down. 
  • Squatting as opposed to sitting can help you properly and fully eliminate your bowels.  When you sit down to poop, your knees are at a 90-degree angle to your abdomen.  That can pinch your anal canal and prevent full bowel elimination, which means you strain harder to eliminate bowels.  Squatting straightens the rectum, allowing easy passage of stool.  You may want to look into a Squatty Potty to allow gravity to do most of the work, which helps to avoid colon build up.  You don’t want to strain to eliminate because that can cause Hemorrhoids or pelvic issues. 

  • If you have Hemorrhoids, it may be beneficial to add more fiber to your diet.  This can relieve constipation and put an end to straining or built-up pressure in the rectum and colon.  You can add fiber to your diet by eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  It is best to avoid processed foods, meat, dairy products, sugars, and fried foods because these can be rough on the digestive system, lead to colon build-up, and even constipation.  Flax is a great source of fiber, and omega-3s can help get things moving as well. 

  • To help decrease pain or irritation, you can soak in a warm bath every day for at least 10 minutes.  You can also add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the bath for additional remedying properties. To help reduce pain and swelling of external Hemorrhoids, you can sit on a hot water bottle or ice pack .  

  • If the itching or burning is intense around the anus, apply coconut oil or aloe vera to the external Hemorrhoids because they both have anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties.  These can help decrease swelling, much like apple cider vinegar, as well as soothe itching. 

  • Stress can be a major contributing factor to the development of Hemorrhoids because it can cause constipation and tension in a lot of areas in the body.  It may be beneficial to start participating in mind/body connection activities such as yoga, Tai Chi, or even meditation.  Massage therapy and acupuncture can also be helpful treatments in relieving stress. 

  • To promote healthy bowel movements, it can be a good idea to exercise for at least 20-30 minutes every day. Mild exercises are best because heavy weight lifting or other strenuous exercises may contribute to the development of Hemorrhoids.  Aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming, biking, or using a stair-climber are all good for promoting healthy circulation. 

Things you should eat
  • Blueberries
  • Figs
  • Dark Leafy Greens (spinach, kale, & chard)
  • Okra
  • Beets
  • Papaya
  • Prunes
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Avocados
  • Artichokes
  • Peas Broccoli
  • Beans
  • Winter Squash
  • Almonds and Walnuts
  • Sesame, Sunflower, & Pumpkin Seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Watermelon
  • Kiwis
  • Oranges
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