Painful bleeding hemorrhoids can make your days and nights difficult! Often the discomfort and pain is so severe that you want to get rid of the hemorrhoids fast. While, it is possible to treat hemorrhoids and find permanent relief from the sharp pain; you should know that the quick remedies do not give lasting results.
Hemorrhoids is a lifestyle disorder, it arises and becomes worse due to poor diet and lifestyle choices. That’s why if you are looking to bid farewell to hemorrhoids, you should be ready to adopt a healthy lifestyle that supports your digestive system and uproots hemorrhoids for good!
This way you will not need to worry about suffering endlessly from hemorrhoids pain and hiding yourself in the bed.
The holistic and natural medicine system of Ayurveda can help you to treat and get rid of hemorrhoids permanently. And in this post, we will look into how you can find relief from hemorrhoids pain, inflammation and bleeding. Let’s begin!
What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are tissue cushions present in the anal canal. They contain the blood vessels and the surrounding support tissues, muscles and fibers.
While hemorrhoids are present in everybody, the condition in which the hemorrhoidal veins and capillaries get inflamed is considered to be a health concern. It is commonly known as Piles or Arsha in Ayurveda.
Inflamed hemorrhoids (piles) is one of the most common health issues of the rectum. It affects nearly 50% of the population at one point or the other by the time they reach 50. Piles are more common in elderly and during pregnancy in women.
However, with sedentary lifestyles and due to increased intake of processed foods, piles is becoming common in healthy youngsters as well.
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
Piles result from chronic and increasing pressure on the veins of the rectum and the anus. There can be several factors for this increased pressure ranging from lifestyle (constant sitting or fiber deficient diets), job requirements (heavy weight lifting) to life stages such as pregnancy and old age.
Additionally, there are other factors that as irregular meal timings, improper diet & lifestyle and mental stress that disturb the bowel movement. This results in constipation, dried stools and inflamed hemorrhoids in the anal region.
Risk Group, Causes and Triggers of Hemorrhoids
Here are some causes and triggers that lead to swollen veins in Hemorrhoids:
- Chronic constipation and frequent straining of the muscles to evacuate the bowels
- Constant straining or stretching of the muscles due to irregular bowel habits
- Staying in one position such as long hours of sitting or standing can also trigger piles
- Pregnancy – the pressure from the fetus and hormonal changes cause the hemorrhoidal vessels to enlarge. Also, straining during delivery may also cause the same, however, it can be reversed after some time as the body comes back to normal
- Obesity – which triggers an overall inflammatory response in the body
- Fiber deficient diets such as heavily processed foods and excessive intake of meat products
- Repeated diarrhea & dysentery
- Lifting heavy weights for long periods
- Old Age – as the tissues that support the veins in the rectum and anus get weakened and stretched.
- Psychological factors such as depression that affect the digestive system and assimilation of nutrients. This leads to development of piles in the long-term.
Types of Hemorrhoids
Piles occur when the tissues enlarge, get weakened and are free of their supporting structure. Hemorrhoids are classified according to the position of the inflamed area and by the degree of symptoms.
These occur inside the rectum. The person usually can’t see or feel these hemorrhoids and they hardly cause any discomfort.
But these may cause straining or irritation when passing of stool damages hemorrhoids surface and then bleeding starts.
Sometimes internal hemorrhoids come out through the anal opening due to excessive straining. This is called as a protruding or prolapsed hemorrhoid, which can also cause pain and irritation.
Types of Internal Hemorrhoids
According to the severity of symptoms, internal hemorrhoids can be graded below. For grade 1, 2, and even 3 hemorrhoids, they generally get cured with time once one changes the diet and lifestyle.
Also, some treatments can help reduce problems like uneasiness and itching, which many people experience with piles.
No mass is visualized, veins become congested during defecation and bleeding occurs.
As the veins enlarge, they are extruded from the canal on defecation, but return at the end of the act.
With further elongation, the veins prolapse on defection and require manual reduction.
In long-standing cases piles mass remain incarcerated.
External hemorrhoids form below the dentate (pectinate) line and create a mass around the anus. These are under the skin around the anus. Most of the time external hemorrhoids itch or bleed after they get irritated.
Symptoms of Piles
Most of the time itching in and around the anus, bleeding, and minimal pain can suggest hemorrhoids or piles. Usually, early symptoms of piles are not severe, it can come and go based on your diet & lifestyle practices.
There can be periods of flare-ups when you are exposed to hemorrhoid triggers. This can lead to sudden pain and bleeding. However, it can normally be cured by changing your diet & lifestyle.
People having piles may experience the following symptoms:
- A hard, painful swelling may be felt around the anus. It may have coagulated blood. These types of piles are called thrombosed external hemorrhoids.
- Painless bleeding occurs during and after a bowel movement in internal hemorrhoids.
- After passing a stool, the person suffering from piles may experience that the stools are still present.
- The area near the anus is itchy, red, and sore – can happen in both internal and external
- The bowel movement is painful – usually internal
- Presence of mucus in defecation – internal
Health Complications of Hemorrhoids
In some cases, there will be a clot known as thrombosed hemorrhoid, which can cause bleeding and severe pain. This kind of hemorrhoid usually needs to be operated or drained.
• Too much anal bleeding can cause anemia.
• It can give rise to infection. Piles can cause an anal fistula, in which a new hole is created between the surface of the skin near the anus and the inside of the anus.
• Fecal incontinence occurs in which the bowel movements cannot be controlled.
• Strangulated hemorrhoid occurs, in which the blood supply to the hemorrhoid is stopped, and it gives rise to complications like infection or a blood clot.
Medications and Allopathic Treatment for Hemorrhoids
The treatment of piles via medicinal plants and lifestyle changes is usually more effective, permanent, and cheaper than the allopathic treatment.
Majority of the medications and allopathic treatments as available have multiple side effects and work on alleviating the symptoms rather than removing the cause.
Additionally, the surgical procedures when applied can lead to recurrence or incontinence in a majority of the cases.
1. Pain Relievers
Several medicines are available to soothe redness, reduce inflammation and swelling around the anus. Use of painkillers, corticosteroids, ointments, creams and pads can help to reduce the painful symptoms of piles.
However, these alternatives do not cure piles. They only help to reduce the symptoms and intensity of pain.
Additionally, there may be side effects (skin thinning and irritation) and health complications due to continuous use of pain relievers. That’s why you should always take medicines according to the instructions of your doctor.
2. Laxatives and Stool Softerners
Hemorrhoids usually come about when you are pushing too hard, and too long. When your stool is soft, it irritates your bottom less because you are not pushing longer or hard.
Natural and synthetic laxatives are also prescribed to support digestive system, loosen the stools and relieve constipation. This can prevent further scar building due to hard and irregular stools.
Sometimes, injection is given to shrink the piles and ultimately it dries up. However, when there is excess bleeding in the piles’ tissue (thrombosed hemorrhoid) then it needs to be removed by surgery.
A thrombosed hemorrhoid is treated by removing the blood clots that are interfering with blood circulation within the rectal and anal tissues. Sometimes a skin tag remains after healing, which requires surgical removal.
An Ayurvedic View of Hemorrhoids
In Ayurveda, hemorrhoids is included in the eight great diseases that cause huge discomfort and are difficult to manage. It can arise as a result of vitiation of all three dosha and disruption of the digestive fire.
Here’s what happens:
- Digestive fire becomes weak leading to irregular bowel movement. Additionally, vata dosha imbalance leads to dryness, constipation and hard stools.
- The strength of muscles, blood vessels and nerves of the anal region are affected due to vata dosha vitiation.
- Pitta and Kapha Dosha imbalance leads to inflammation and growth of hemorrhoids.
- Hard stools further irritate the anal area. This aggravates the hemorrhoids.
Types of Hemorrhoids per Dosha
- Fleshy swelling (Mansaankura): This leads to obstruction to the passage of gases, pain during elimination, low appetitite and constipation.
- Sravi Arsha (Raktarsha): It involves imbalance in Pitta dosha and Rakta (blood tissues). This causes inflamed hemorrhoids that bleed with bright red blood in the stools. It can lead to anemia.
- Shushkarsha: It involves Kapha and Vata dosha and absence of bleeding. Kapha can cause large light colored hemorrhoids, while Vata causes constipation and painful black colored hemorrhoids.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Hemorrhoids
In Ayurveda hemorrhoids are treated according to the severity of symptoms, dosha involved and per the location of hemorrhoids. Physical therapies, herbs, diet and lifestyle provide a holistic approach to treat hemorrhoids at the root cause level.
Ayurvedic treatment for hemorrhoids focuses on improving the digestion, reducing the inflammation, balancing the dosha and improving blood circulation throughout the pelvis to help heal the hemorrhoids.
1. Ayurvedic Herbs for Hemorrhoids
Lajjalu (Mimosa Pudica)
It can be used externally and internally for its astringent and bitter properties. It helps to relieve the pain, inflammation and bleeding in piles. Lajjalu also helps in rapid wound healing.
Ghritkumari or Aloevera is a bitter tonic that rejuvenates, detoxifies and balances Pitta Kapha dosha. It is highly effective for bleeding and enlarged hemorrhoids. Aloe vera gel can also be applied to soothen the inflammation of the anus.
It is one of the best herbs for hemorrhoids. It is effective in fistula-anorectal and hemorrhoidal conditions.
Guggul helps to balance Vata, Kapha and Pitta Dosha and relieves the pain, itching and inflammation that accompanies piles. It acts as a laxative and astringent agent too.
Haritaki balances the three doshas, improves digestion and supports detoxification. It is used in piles treatment to ease the bowel movement and relieve pressure on the excretory system.
Amla helps in relieving the symptoms of heat intolerance, headaches, and blood in the stools due to their Pitta Dosha alleviation properties. It is used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine and acts as an antioxidant, immunomodulator, anti-inflammatory, astringent and laxative.
It acts as a mild laxative and allows the deepest tissues and organs of the body to release toxins. Despite its powerful cleansing quality, it enhances absorption and balances the doshas in the body especially supporting the digestive system.
Triphala is a combination of three herbs: Amla, Behada, and Harad. Here are some health benefits:
- Boosts metabolism
- Improves bowel movement
- Detoxification of body cells
- Boosts immune system
Turmeric is a well-known blood purifier and anti-inflammatory herb It comes packed with an abundance of health benefits:
- Reduces inflammation and prevents infection.
- Strengthens the immune system against various pathogens.
- Turmeric improves the function of the digestive tract and removes toxins from the blood.
2. Lifestyle Tips for Prevention and Cure of Piles
The best way to check piles is to decrease constipation and keep the stools soft, so that, the bowel movement can be smooth. You can prevent and reduce the symptoms of piles by following these tips:
- Drink enough fluids. Drink around six to eight glasses of water and other liquids such as coconut water and herbal teas.
- Use the toilet in the SQUAT position. If there is no squatting toilet available, use a stool to elevate your feet and bend your knees in the position of squatting. This helps to straighten the lower rectum region while passing the bowel, hence reducing the strain on the veins in the region.
- Do not suppress the urge to defecate. When you feel the need to pass a bowel movement, go immediately. If you ignore this, the stool may become dry and will be harder to pass.
- Don’t strain while sitting on the toilet seat. Straining and exerting more pressure to pass a stool during constipation can create greater pressure in the veins in the lower rectum. So avoid this.
- Reduce weight! Excess weight may exert pressure on the hemorrhoids, hence weight loss helps to relieve the strained veins.
- Reduce extended periods of sitting. Constant sitting makes the muscles weak, severely impacting all motions related to the digestive system. Always make sure to move a little during prolonged sitting periods such as office hours, long flights, and anywhere possible.
- Avoid sitting for too long on the toilet as it can add more pressure on the veins in the anus.
3. Natural Remedies for Hemorrhoids
1. Sitz bath
Sitting in warm water at least for 15 minutes daily. It will clean the bowel as well as reduce inflammation. These Ayurvedic medications can be added to the bath – Tankan bhasma, Sphatic bhasma, Triphala kwath, Panchawalkal kwath.
Daily consumption of Ayurvedic formulations as Triphala, or Psyllium Husk, or Haritaki that work as a laxative and provide essential fiber to soften the stool and nourish the gut flora.
It involves application of a sclerosing agent such as apamarg kshar and snuhi kshar into the hemorrhoid. The kshar shrivels the hemorrhoids and collapses the inflamed vein walls. It has been noted that the success rate of this treatment after four years is ~70%.
4. Kshar sutra ligation
This treatment is applied when the lifestyle and dietary changes do not work overtime or if the patient is suffering from acute peripheral conditions requiring immediate treatment.
In this method, a medicated herbal coated thread is applied onto internal and external piles mass. It has been observed that the piles mass withers down and falls off within 5-7 days.
It has a cure rate ~ 97% with the following additional benefits:
- Simple safe and sure treatment
- No complications with no recurrence
- Economical with a very high success rate
- No antibiotics required
- Daycare surgery
- Useful in all age and cardiac patients
Apart from this, there are some surgical treatments as Chedan Karma and Agni Karma, which are intrusive and applied only when other methodologies fail.
They have not been observed to be fully effective on the recurrence rate, however, they are used in extreme cases.
4. Your Diet and Foods for Hemorrhoids
- Fiber-rich foods: Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are rich in fibers. Eating of more such foods can soften the stool and reduce the straining that can cause hemorrhoids.
- Antioxidants: Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in starch. Fruit and vegetables contain flavonoids, which are mostly antioxidants that help to heal the wounds and reduce inflammation in the body.
- Healthy Fats: Omega 3 fatty acids act as antioxidants and essential nutrients for our body. Include foods as seeds, nuts, fatty fish and whole grains.
- Minerals: Green leafy vegetables, pomegranate, amla, dried figs and dates are dense sources of required minerals as iron, calcium, zinc and copper that stimulate blood circulation and strengthen the muscles.
- Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Consume foods that promote your digestive fire and help you to reduce inflammation. Some examples are: apple, berries, mangoes, oranges, avocados, asparagus, zucchini, cucumber, cabbage, celery, garlic, onions, sprouts, barley, oats and wheat.
Worst Foods to Avoid for Piles
- Avoid excessive meat and do not eat processed meat products.
- Do not consume of heavy to digest, excessively spicy and fried foods. Include light meals that go easy on the digestive system.
- Eliminate foods with a hot potency and hot temperature such as chili and cayenne pepper.
- Lower your intake of foods that have a high glycemic index.
- Avoid excess salt, chilies, spices, sour foods, and pickles.
- Reduce the use of caffeine, stimulants, refined sugar, and cold drinks.
- Stop consuming junk food, and carbonated drinks.
- Avoid untimely meals, multiple meals, late night foods, and snacks.
- Stop the consumption of processed foods and packaged foods.
- Remove and avoid smoking, alcohol and nicotine.
5. Yoga for Hemorrhoids
Regular practice of yoga and pranayama supports natural healing of hemorrhoids. Include yoga asana in your exercise routine to improve blood circulation and muscle tone and strengthen the tissues of blood vessels around the abdomen and rectum.
Yoga practice also supports normal functioning of digestive system and reduces the risk of constipation. This prevents hemorrhoids from occurring in the first place. Additionally, various flexion and stretching exercises of yoga can improve circulation in the pelvis. This helps to reduce the inflammation, swelling and pain.
Do not practice yoga asana or sequences that put excessive pressure on the abdomen and anus, thus creating discomfort and pain.
Here are helpful yoga poses for hemorrhoids:
6. Exercise for Hemorrhoids
Regular physical activity induces multiple chemical and biological reactions in our body releasing several hormones that support the digestive activity. It also increases blood circulation, decreasing the capillary pressures in the veins.
Additionally, physical activity makes our muscles strong, hence making them robust against all the harmful effects of piles.
Physical activities that strengthen the sphincter are helpful. Include activities such as stretching and loosening the buttock muscles while standing or sitting.
Ayurvedic treatment is not based on testing your willpower but it nurtures you to develop “self love” and switch on your body’s natural healing mechanism with the right diet and lifestyle.
Painful hemorrhoids is one of the symptoms of imbalanced digestive fire. That’s when you support your digestive system, you can also find relief from pain, bleeding and unease that piles has been causing to you.
Now we want to hear from you. Do write to us for any queries and feedback. If you have tried any of the above natural approaches for hemorrhoids, then do share your experience with us. We will get back to you the soonest.
Wishing you vibrant health!