Hemorrhoids are sometimes referred to as piles. They are veins around the anus and rectum that become swollen and inflamed. Hemorrhoids that are external can become quite painful. Internal hemorrhoids may not cause pain but they can produce blood with a bowel movement.
Other symptoms of hemorrhoids can include a sensation of fullness that is usually described as feeling the need to have a bowel movement when you don’t have anything to pass. Hemorrhoids can also produce pain, itching and irritation. Sometimes a blood clot will develop in the hemorrhoid or it can become twisted. This can be serious and warrants a medical evaluation.
But if you are just suffering from run of the mill hemorrhoids, there are natural remedies you can use to reduce the pain and inflammation. These natural remedies should only be tried after you have had your hemorrhoids evaluated by a doctor. This is especially true if you have experienced bleeding with your hemorrhoids.
Fiber is a great way to decrease your hemorrhoid symptoms. Fiber will soften stool and increase the bulk which will reduce straining. Ways to get more fiber include eating more whole grains and vegetables. Psyllium is a powdered fiber supplement that is inexpensive and readily available. Just mix one teaspoon of psyllium in a glass of water and follow it with another glass of water. You may also want to try flaxseeds.
But with any of the fiber supplements, it is critical that you increase your water intake so that your constipation does not worsen.This is because the fiber will draw more water into the intestinal tract, essentially making the stool softer. However, if you are dehydrated and do not have the fluid to pull into the intestines, the body will draw the water out of the stool, essentially creating more constipation.
Bioflavonoids are a plant compound that can stabilize and strengthen blood vessel walls and decrease inflammation. They can reduce the anal pain and discharge during an acute hemorrhoid attack. The side effects of bioflavonoids are rare, which make them relatively safe for use during pregnancy. But you should always check with your obstetrician before you try them.
Witch hazel compress or witch hazel cream can help reduce the bleeding of hemorrhoids by acting as an astringent. It can also reduce the pain and swelling of the hemorrhoids. Witch hazel may be purchased at any drug store. It should not be taken internally. You can find medicated creams and pads that can be applied to the anal area.
Butcher’s broom is a plant that has a long history of alleviating the pain and swelling of hemorrhoids. Butcher’s broom contains a compound called ruscogen. This compound has anti-inflammatory and vein constricting properties. Therefore, it has been used for years to shrink swollen veins and reduce the inflammation of hemorrhoids.
These natural remedies for hemorrhoids should only be tried under the supervision of your doctor, especially if you are taking prescription medication. Sometimes natural medications can interact with the chemicals in prescription medication.
Dr. Weil: Hemorrhoids
Earthclinic: Hemorrhoid Remedies
Harvard Health Publications of Harvard Medical School: Hemorrhoids and What to do About Them