Hemorrhoids or Piles: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments
Piles are commonly known as hemorrhoids or hemorrhoidal disease in medical terminology. Hemorrhoids are very common in both men and women. They are caused due to the excessive swelling or inflammation of blood vessels in and around the anal canal. The anal canal helps in controlling stool excretion. Under normal conditions, hemorrhoids provide a cushioning effect and also help in the smooth passage of stool.
Some of the treatments and home remedies for piles or hemorrhoids include the use of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and herbs that are easily available in most parts of the world. Other remedies include the use of cotton clothing and enema. These treatments for piles are regarded as effective and safe due to the use of all natural ingredients with no side effects.
Types and Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
Pathological hemorrhoids are generally broken into two types called internal hemorrhoids and external hemorrhoids. Symptoms include:
- For Internal Hemorrhoids: Itching and rectal bleeding
- For External Hemorrhoids: Anal pain and inflammation
One may also experience pain during bowel movements and the stool may contain blood.
Causes of Hemorrhoids
Some of the main reasons associated with the occurrence of piles include:
Irregular Food and Bowel Habits: Irregular food habits are one of the basic reasons for constipation and eventually hemorrhoids or piles. People who strain or push excessively during bowel movements are prone to piles.
Constipation or Diarrhea: Constipation is another cause of piles in many cases. Constipation can be controlled with changes in diet and the use of natural laxatives. Sometimes one may also experience constipation due to depression or anxiety.
Lack of Fiber in the Diet: Fiber is the undigested bulk in the food that can absorb water in the intestines and ease the process of movement of undigested waste in the large intestine. Lack of fiber in the diet can affect bowel movements and may cause piles.
Amount of Water in the Body: Another important element that helps to ease bowel movement is drinking water – lots of it. The human body consists of almost 70% water and it is the main ingredient in our waste products as well. A lack of sufficient water in the system will make the waste harder and more difficult for bowel movements to take place.
Abuse of Laxatives: Prescribed laxatives can be used while suffering from chronic constipation, but using them regularly over a period of time causes lazy colon syndrome. In some cases, side effects have also been noted, including damage of muscular function of the large intestine, as well as drainage of water, minerals, and vitamins from the body, formation of kidney stones, and possible kidney failure.
Pregnancy: During pregnancy, many women experience piles or hemorrhoids. Piles are caused due to the pressure of the fetus and hormonal changes. Mostly, the piles that are caused due to pregnancy disappear after childbirth.
Other Causes: Some other reasons for hemorrhoids include obesity, remaining in a sitting posture for long periods of time, aging, and lifestyle.
Medical Treatments for Piles
If following a fibre-rich diet and proper exercise doesn’t help, then you will have to resort to a medical treatment. A medical treatment includes the use of painkillers like paracetamol, etc. Your doctor may also prescribe you laxatives to relieve constipation, but these should be used with certain precautions, and should not be continued for more than 7 consecutive days. Point to note here is that these medicines only treat the symptoms and do not cure piles.
If the condition of your hemorrhoid is very severe, then your doctor will either treat you with sclerotherapy, banding or through means of a surgery.
Banding: For banding, the doctor uses an elastic band to cut off the blood supply to the pile area inside the anus. This makes the hemorrhoids give away. This treatment is usually undertaken in Hemorrhoids grade 2 and 3.
Sclerotherapy: In this treatment, a medicinal injection is used, which shrinks the size of hemorrhoid. This treatment is prescribed to people suffering from hemorrhoids grade 2 and 3.
Surgery: For grade 3 or 4 hemorrhoids, surgery is suggested by the doctor, in which they remove the excess tissue that results in bleeding. A local anesthetic is used for the surgery because it is usually quite painful. Side-effects may include difficulty in passing stool and urinary tract infections. This procedure is known as hemorrhoidectomy.
Home Remedies for Hemorrhoids or Piles
The treatments include simple home remedies, use of natural medicines, and also a few changes in lifestyle that help in treating piles. Smooth passage of stools without any irritation, pain, and/or bleeding is an indication of the disappearance of piles.
Drinking Water: Drinking sufficient amounts of water, which can be between 2 to 3 liters a day, can not only hydrate our bodies but also help in easing and smoothing bowel movements. Certain techniques for smooth bowel movement can be practiced at home. Drinking at least one liter of water early in the morning helps in stimulating smooth bowel movements. The sudden flow of water into the stomach puts pressure on the intestines and helps in creating peristaltic movement and the water rushing inside the intestines moves the waste out in smooth movements.
Fiber-Rich Diet: A fiber-rich diet helps in creating softer stools and easy bowel movements. This, in turn, lessens the irritation caused by hemorrhoids. A high-fiber diet includes consuming the majority of vegetables, herbs, fruits, and unpolished cereal.
Enema: An enema is a very easy and effective remedy for piles. Enemas can be given with lukewarm water. The water entering into the intestine loosens the stool for easy and effortless bowel movements.
Cotton Clothes: Simple cotton clothes that loosely fit are better because tight clothes can aggravate the irritation in the hemorrhoid area. They can also absorb sweat, which keeps the area dry and helps to avoid any bacterial infection.
Radishes: Radishes are considered to be one of the best home remedies for piles or hemorrhoids. A half cup of radish juice consumed twice daily will help to cure piles. The local application of radish paste mixed with honey can also ease the associated pain of piles.
Figs: In Ayurvedic medicine, figs have been used to treat many diseases, including hemorrhoids. Dried figs must be soaked in water overnight and then consumed the next day along with the water to give positive results towards reducing piles.
Yogurt: Hemorrhoids may be treated with the help of probiotics or friendly bacteria. The best source for such probiotic bacteria is none other than yogurt! You should consume yogurt every day because the bacteria found in yogurt promotes the smooth functioning of gastrointestinal organs.
Mango Seeds: Mango seeds are known to be a good home remedy for piles. These seeds have to be dried, powdered, and stored. This powder must be taken (1-2 teaspoons) twice a day. The powder is known to relieve swelling, pain, and the itching sensation.
Horse Chestnuts: Horse chestnuts or Aesculus hippocastanum are known to contain a saponin compound called aescin. Aescin has anti-inflammatory, anti-edema properties, and veno-tonic effects. It eases inflammation and strengthens blood vessels.
Java Plums: The Java Plum fruit is known to relieve bloody stools that are associated with internal piles. This fruit must be eaten early in the morning for a period of about 2-3 months for better results.
Butcher’s Broom: The use of Butcher’s broom, also known as Ruscus aculeatus, has shown good results in controlling piles. It has Ruscogenins, which are known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Pomegranate Seeds: Take some pomegranate seed peels and soak them in water for some time and then boil this mixture. Strain this concoction and take this twice a day in the morning and evening. This will help in relieving the symptoms and pain of piles.
Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera has been used for many centuries for treating burns because of its emollient, demulcent, and anti-inflammatory properties. Aloe Vera secretions should be applied locally for external hemorrhoids to relieve pain and swelling.
Witch Hazel: Witch Hazel, scientifically known as Hamamelis virginiana, has properties of shrinking swollen blood vessels back to their normal size and therefore acts as a natural remedy for hemorrhoids. A paste of witch hazel can be applied locally to ease the swelling.
Sesame Seeds: Make a paste of boiled sesame seeds and add a very small amount of butter to it and consume it every day. According to Ayurveda, sesame seeds act as a very good medicine for a spectrum of diseases ranging from blood production, dental problems, and burns to regulating the menstrual cycle of women and curing hemorrhoids.
Cumin Seeds: Cumin seeds can be used in a number of ways to cure hemorrhoids. Black cumin seeds are especially useful in dealing with hemorrhoids. Mix black cumin seeds with equal proportions of cane sugar (2-3 teaspoons) every day. After taking this mixture, one has to drink at least 3-4 glasses of water for best results.
Bitter Gourd: Bitter gourd is known for its health benefits, such as fighting against diabetes, possible cancer prevention, and cholesterol control. Its leaves are also used to provide relief against piles. Make a juice of bitter gourd leaves and add it to buttermilk which must be taken every morning. Apart from the juice, a paste of leaves can be prepared and applied onto external piles.
Ginger, Honey, Lime, and Mint: Take two tablespoons of ginger juice, lime juice, and mint juice and mix with 2 – 4 tablespoons of honey. Take this mixture every morning. It is believed to be a good cure for hemorrhoids.
Turnips: Turnips are another plant that is used as a home remedy for piles or hemorrhoids. Take the juice of turnip leaves and add the juices of radish, watercress, and carrot in equal proportions. Drink a glass of this juice every day to get rid of hemorrhoids.
Indian Gooseberry: Amla, or Indian gooseberry, is yet another wonderful fruit from India. It is believed to possess the highest concentrations of vitamin C of any fruit, as well as many medicinal properties, and it is eaten in either fresh or preserved form. Indian gooseberry is good for many gastrointestinal problems, including hemorrhoids.
Yoga: There are different poses/asanas in Yoga that can help in conditions such as hemorrhoids. Sarvanga asana, malasana, viparita karani, and balasana are some of the yoga poses that can be practiced to cure hemorrhoids.
Turmeric: Turmeric is one of the ancient herbs that have been extensively mentioned in Ayurveda to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, antioxidant, and anti-allergic properties. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it very effective in curing piles or hemorrhoids.
Other Remedies: Some other remedies include the use of simple and soft tissue paper instead of fragrance-filled tissues. Fragrant tissues may contain chemical sprays that can increase the irritation and worsen the condition. The high itching sensation prompts patients to scratch uncontrollably. Scratching can rupture those healing wounds or scars and bring wounds back to their original painful levels.
For any unforeseen complications, it is advisable to consult a doctor.