Hemorrhoids are actually varicose veins in the anus and rectum. They occur when blood vessels that are either inside the anus or around it become swollen. The more swollen they become, the more painful they are. Hemorrhoids may cause bleeding, and their constant irritation could lead to itching. However, most often itching is a sign of pinworms or an overgrowth of Candida albicans.
The following can cause hemorrhoids: constipation, chronic diarrhea, straining when you go to the bathroom, and any pressure that contributes to congestion in veins in that area (like coughing, sneezing, or sitting or standing for long periods of time). But let’s face it, if you have strong blood vessels, sneezing and sitting won’t give you hemorrhoids.
Traditional Hemorrhoids Treatment:
The first step in most doctors’ approach to treating hemorrhoids is to suggest a high-fiber diet and bulking agents, such as Metamucil. Next, they typically suggest taking laxatives for constipation. The problem is that some of the herbs used in laxative formulas, such as senna leaf, are harsh and irritating. Instead, eat a higher fiber diet and take ground flaxseed if your intestines need a little help.
Daily sitz baths can reduce inflammation. Get a large plastic basin and put it in your bathtub. Put two to three inches of hot water (110-120 degrees) in the basin and sit in it for about 20 minutes. If possible, add some hotter water in the tub so your feet are warmer than your bottom. Bring a cold washcloth with you so you don’t get too warm. Afterward, take a cool shower or splash the area with cool water and gently dry well.
Topical anti-inflammatory suppositories (such as Anusol and Preparation H) may give temporary relief. But they don’t address the problem like some herbal formulas.
Ligation is a more drastic therapy where your doctor ties a small rubber band tightly at the base of an external hemorrhoid. This cuts off circulation and the hemorrhoid falls off. Sometimes, it’s necessary to repeat this treatment.
Finally, surgery may be an option if your hemorrhoids are particularly large or painful, or if bleeding won’t stop. If you and your doctor think you have time to try other therapies, I have some safe suggestions.
An Integrative Approach To Healing Hemorrhoids:
Improve your sitz baths by adding a cup of strong anti-inflammatory chamomile or comfrey tea to the water. If you have spasms, try adding a dropper of valerian root tincture.
Two citrus bioflavonoids, diosmin and hesperidins, accelerated healing and reduced pain in a French study of 120 people with hemorrhoids. A high amount of hesperidins is in the Hot Flash Formula I helped create (800-728-2288). If you have both hot flashes and hemorrhoids, this formula would be ideal. It won’t hurt you if you don’t have hot flashes. Or take 1,000 mg of mixed bioflavonoids along with 500 mg or more of vitamin C.
Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) is an herb I’ve talked about before. It, and all other herbs suggested for hemorrhoids, are approved by the American Botanical Council’s Expanded Commission E Monographs for safety and efficacy. The ABC suggests a standardized extract containing 20 mg escin, its active ingredient. Horse chestnut is often combined with other herbs that improve circulation, such as bilberry and gingko. Dose: Use according to label instructions.
Butcher’s broom (Ruseus aculeatus) is used for fragile veins and varicose veins, as well as acute attacks of hemorrhoids. It can both reduce pain and treat the source of the problem. Butcher’s broom is approved for the itching and burning from hemorrhoids. Dose: 7-11 mg of ruscogenin a day.
Witch hazel leaf (Hamamelis virginiana: This astringent herb has been approved both for inflammation and for hemorrhoids. You can use witch hazel both internally and topically. Drink an herb tea made from its bark and leaves two or three times a day between meals. Or apply an ointment or salve that contains witch hazel.