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Haemorrhoids

General characteristics

General characteristics

Haemorrhoids, 'piles' or 'figs' are varicose veins around the anus. The walls of the veins around the anus become slack and lose their structural integrity due to higher than normal pressure in the blood vessels. This causes blood to pool in pockets within the veins and leads to the partial protrusion of the veins either inside or outside of the anus.

Causes include constipation, lack of fibre in the diet, straining, over-exertion (e.g. lifting heavy weights), excess of refined carbohydrates in the diet, general weakness in the blood vessel walls, pregnancy and childbirth, chronic diarrhoea, worms or parasites and being overweight. The symptoms can include blueish grey soft lumps protruding from the anus, itching and pain around the anus and bright red blood on toilet tissue after bowel movements.

Often haemorrhoids will resolve after a few days without treatment but they can become larger and present problems such as thrombosis in the veins of the rectum and anus so should not be ignored.

Healing objectives are to correct any contributing factors relating to diet or lifestyle, encourage the veins to regain their tone and soothe any symptoms.


Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Plant fibre is crucial in both the prevention and resolution of haemorrhoids. Include plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds daily in the diet. Eat a good whole grain based muesli for breakfast with dried fruit and seeds in it.

Avoid eating large meals and chew your food thoroughly.

Eat plenty of berries and citrus fruits for their high bio-flavonoid content. Bio-flavonoids are great for the blood vessels.

Eat some live yoghurt (unsweetened) with fresh fruit in it daily.

Eat 2 organic apples daily. Apples are an excellent source of fibre and contain substances which help to soften the stool.

Drink several glasses of water daily or herb teas or fresh juices. Water softens the stool and makes passing it easier with less straining.

Avoid refined carbohydrates such as pastries, commercial cereals, sugary foods and white flour products like white bread and pastas.

Limit your intake of fatty foods, meats, coffee and alcohol.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

The astringent herbs can shrink the piles back to normal size if applied regularly. Herbs that have astringent properties include oak bark, red raspberry leaves, elder leaf, yarrow, mullein flowers, horse chestnuts (crushed), pilewort and figwort. Soak equal parts of each herb in a pint of hot water and leave to stand for several hours. Whizz in a blender, strain off the liquid (discarding the herbs) and apply it to the anus regularly.
To soothe painful and bleeding piles use comfrey root or leaf as a paste, applying to the anus twice daily.
Apply distilled witch hazel regularly for its astringent and soothing effects.
A cup of dandelion root tea daily will also help by acting as a deigestive tonic and toning veins.
Try drinking a cup of chickweed tea daily and using the spent cooled herbs as a poultice over the piles.
Take a teaspoon of chilli powder (cayenne) in a little water every day to provide circulation boosting effects that often resolves and prevents piles. Start with a pinch and work up slowly.
 
Prickly ash increases circulation in a similar way to chili and has more lasting effects.
Ginkgo can be added to other formulas.
Regular nettle and oatstraw tea will help to tone up blood vessels and shrink the piles.
Psyllium seeds (Plantago ovata) can be taken daily to provide an excellent source of bulk fibre to soften the stools and make their passage far easier. Start slowly with half a teaspoon of seeds in a full glass of water and drink it down, increasing over the days to up to 2 teaspoons per glass. Drink plenty of water in the days that you are taking psyllium as the seeds swell and absorb large amounts of water.
Occasional use of cascara bark can help with constipation and bulk up and soften the stools if straining is causing the piles.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Dab some neat cider vinegar on the haemorrhoid to provide relief from itching and to help shrink them. Drink a teaspoon in water also, twice daily.
An old Russian remedy is to gently insert a peeled clove of garlic into the rectum and leave in overnight. Scrape the clove of garlic gently with a knife before inserting to release the healing oils and juices. It stings for a little while but sufferers swear by its swift effectiveness.
Insert a vitamin E capsule into the rectum morning and evening.
Avoid sitting for prolonged periods. If your lifestyle or job involves hours of sitting, break regularly for a brisk walk or some vigorous movement of some kind.

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