A virtually permanent source of discomfort, hemorrhoids are a dilation of the veins in the anal area (rectum and anus) and surrounding tissues.
This is quite similar to varicose veins that usually appear in the legs, which are also permanently dilated veins. For hemorrhoids, they often swell when the patient needs to release stools.
Today, in Western society, 50% of adults over age 50 complain of hemorrhoid problems.
This bothersome disorder of an intimate nature but very common is often difficult to talk about. However, “everyone has hemorrhoids” and the problem is when they get inflamed.
Can home remedies, self-medication, or over-the-counter drugs do the trick to alleviate the pain? If not, are there other alternatives? How about plants? Are they effective in soothing a bout of hemorrhoids? Which ones and how effective are they? Let’s have a look around…
Hemorrhoids, here is what you need to know…
Definition of hemorrhoids
Defined as being tumefied vascularized tissues situated in the lining of the anus and rectum, hemorrhoids often produce small blood clots or lead to minor bleeding during defecation.
Different types of hemorrhoids
These are the two types of hemorrhoids:
> External hemorrhoids
These are very sensitive because of the nervous fibers that cross around this area, they appear just under the skin of the anus opening and often swell.
Moreover, the patient often develops a blood clot in a dilated vein that leads to painful discomfort that is a hindrance to every day life.
> Internal hemorrhoids
Their denomination depends on how advanced they have become. This type of hemorrhoid forms either in the lower portion of the rectum or on the inside of the anus.
– 1st degree means the dilated vein is found on the inside of the anus.
– 2nd degree means that whenever the patient is releasing stools, the dilated vein pushes out of the anus. After defecating, when muscles are relaxed, it comes back to its normal place.
– 3rd degree means that the patient is able to put the hemorrhoid back “where it should be” after the defecation effort.
– 4th and most severe degree, the hemorrhoid stays outside of the anus and cannot be put back into place.
What are the symptoms and causes of hemorrhoids?
The symptoms of hemorrhoids appear in various forms.
Generally, a hemorrhoid bout lasts several days, and then the symptoms disappear.
The patient, in most cases, complains of:
- bleeding and superficial pain during defecation.
- feeling that the rectum feels swollen from the inside.
- feeling an itch, a burning sensation or discomfort around the anus.
- mucus is produced in the anal area.
- Lastly, sensitive growth in or around the anus.
Source and causes of hemorrhoids
Usually, certain risk factors provoke hemorrhoid inflammation.
The following may be marked as interesting:
– excessive weight or obesity
– the fact of often lifting heavy objects
– often suffering from bouts of diarrhea or constipation
– spending a long time on toilet, often,
– often practicing anal intercourse
Also, certain persons are simply more at risk than others, and fall more “easily” victim to bouts of hemorrhoids.
These are mostly persons who:
– suffer from liver cirrhosis
– are pregnant women
– women who gave birth naturally
– persons who have a close relative who is suffering from this type of ailment.
These risk factors would be incomplete if we didn’t also list dietary habits that tend to increase risks: persons who like eating dishes with lots of gravy, milk, meats, hot spices and pepper, alcohol, coffee, whole-grain rice and white chocolate.
Natural treatments to alleviate hemorrhoids
To soothes the itchiness and pain that is felt during a bout of hemorrhoids, some plants are loaded with well-known health benefits. What dosages must be prepared?
Indeed, some plants contain compounds such as flavonoids which have a beneficial protective activity on blood vessels.
These are among others:
- Horse chestnut tree from which the bark and chestnuts or conkers have substances that have good (stimulating and protective) effects on the veins and arteries through which blood is flowing. This includes aescin that also tends to control inflammation. These are thus recommended for less severe cases of hemorrhoids.
To alleviate pain due to hemorrhoids, it is a good idea to drink it in the form of:
– drops – 5 to 15 drops daily until pain disappears, this should be enough.
– infusion – For this, in 1 quart (1 liter) water, toss 1 2/5ths oz (40 g) crushed horse chestnut and boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for ten minutes or so. Drink 1 or 2 cups between meals for 3 weeks. Stop drinking then for 10 days, and then prepare a second 3-week course. You can add honey if you wish, to make it more palatable.
– whole fresh plant suspension – As regards dosage, one 5 ml measuring cap in a bit of cold water morning and evening is enough.
- Witch-hazel – Its bark and leaves contain substances (flavonoids and tannin compounds) that bolster strength of blood vessels. During hemorrhoid bouts, specialists recommend localized treatment (suppository or ointment) or oral ingestion of witch-hazel.
- Grapevine – Since grapevine leaves contain substances that have stimulating and protective effects on small blood vessels and veins, they’re recommended through folkloric use to alleviate pain due to a bout of hemorrhoids.
- Butcher’s broom or Pettigree – The rhizome of this plant is known for its properties that enhance blood vessel contraction and vessel lining protection. Also used in topical preparations (suppository or ointment) or through oral ingestion, it helps reduce the itch and burning sensation.
Thanks to the flowers that count flavonoids among their compounds, this plant is said to have properties that tend to close openings up, and also has a tonic action on blood vessels.
To make the list of hemorrhoid bout-soothing plants more complete, we can add:
– psyllium seeds (to soften stools and lessen bleeding provoked by hemorrhoids);
– aloe vera gel to fight against inflammation.
– great mullein,
– ivy, the climbing vine.
Good to know about hemorrhoids
One favored course of action is to recommend squatting when going to the toilet. Squatting is a more natural position than sitting on a seat. Sometimes devices exist to change the body position to a squat-like stance even when using conventional toilets.
In the case of some natural treatments against hemorrhoid bouts, some specialists recommend following Unani medicine guidelines, which involve pairing multiple plants together in the form of a hydrolate or essential oil to prepare a lotion boasting active, deep-penetrating functions.
Indeed, combining birch (antispasmodic, anti-infectious) with walnut (anti-inflammatory, wound-healing agent, antiseptic), witch-hazel (stimulates circulation) and smartweed (invigorating, haemostatic, astringent) results in soothing, wound-healing and especially reinforces vein linings.
In case of doubt or if symptoms persist, do get in touch with your consulting physician for advice, he will eventually prescribe a more adequate treatment.