by Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac ~
As a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, I have had great results treating hemorrhoids (piles) with my patients. Hemorrhoids are painful, swollen veins in the lower portion of the rectum or anus. If they stay inside the anus they are called internal hemorrhoids. Those that protrude outside the anus are called external hemorrhoids. This condition is very common, especially during pregnancy and after childbirth. Hemorrhoids result from increased pressure in the veins of the anus. The pressure causes the veins to bulge and expand, making them painful, particularly when you are sitting.
The most common cause is straining during bowel movements. Hemorrhoids may result from constipation, sitting for long periods of time, and anal infections. In some cases they may be caused by other diseases, such as liver cirrhosis.
Differentiation between anal fissures and hemorrhoids should be taken into consideration. An anal fissure is simply a physical tear in the anal sphincter that causes pain during bowel movements (like stool contains sharp objects) and leave blood-streaked toilet paper. These are generally caused by constipation, straining, and large stools. Anal fissures are stubborn long narrow sores that re-open and get irritated every time one has a bowel movement.
Symptoms of hemorrhoids include:
* Anal ache or pain, especially while sitting
* Bright red blood on toilet tissue, stool, or in the toilet bowl
* Pain during bowel movements
* One or more hard tender lumps near the anus
Chinese Medicine divides hemorrhoids into 3 stages:
1st stage– small hemorrhoids which do not go protrude to the exterior, fresh bleeding upon defecation.
2nd stage– protrusion of tissues from the anus with bleeding, although the tissue retracts into the sphincter within a short period of time.
3rd stage– bleeding with large protruding hemorrhoids that require physical pushing to place back into the interior of the anus. They may exit the body with coughing, sneezing. laughing, when fatigued, or when standing for a long period of time.
– keep stool soft. Include plenty of water, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fiber in you daily diet.
– regular exercise promotes smooth bowel movements.
– try to breath through your bowel movements (do not hold your breath), DO NOT STRAIN. Take your time, relax and it doesn’t hurt to enjoy it.
– try to not sit or stand for prolonged durations too often. Take short walks, stretch, and contract your mid-section to get the blood flowing through that area.
– keep the anal area clean, although one should be gentle with cleansing. Try to use chemical free soaps such as pure olive oil soaps, or baby wipes.
– squat during defecation, the toilet seat may make it more difficult to pass the feces by compacting the anal canal. Try platforms on either side of the toilet to raise yourself up if your knees are higher than you buttock when sitting.
– anal exercises, tighten and hold sphincter/anal muscles while contracting the abdomen, do not hold your breath, contract and repeat as often as possible.
– keep emotions smooth flowing, do not let them run your life! Anger in particular can aggravate hemorrhoids.
My Favorite Remedies
1. Wipe from front to back with witch hazel pads. Witch hazel can also be apply as a compress (with these pads) to the affected area 3-4 times per day. Liquid witch hazel can be found at any drug store. The same treatment can be done by soaking a few cotton balls with witch hazel and using this as a compress.
2. Apply Ching Wan Hung (also written as Jing Wan Hong) This Chinese herbal ointment, considered a burn cream, acts to relieve pain, decrease inflammation and infection, and aid in the regeneration of the damaged tissues. Apply this ointment 2 to 3 times a day to the affected area.
3. Add more whole green, fiber rich chlorophyll to your daily diet.
Things to try at home first
– take warm baths. They are soothing and cleansing, especially after you have a bowel movement. Although sometimes too much bathing may worsen anal itching (pruritis ani).
– wear cotton underwear and loose fitting clothes to decrease moisture in the area.
– apply a cold compress to the area for 10 minutes, 4 times per day.
– apply an herbal compress of Dandelion (Pu Gong Ying), or Jiu Hua Gao, or Wu Bei Zi San to the area for 10 minutes, 4 times per day.
– external wash or steam with sea salt water or Fu Feng Jing Xi Ji, Ku Shen, Pu Gong Ying, Huang Bai.
– add psyllium husks to the diet daily to aid bowel movements (the husk of the seed `Che Qian Zi’) or use wheat bran.
-check your diet intake of fatty, raw, cold, pungent and hot food, or drinking of too much alcohol, or improper foods for you, which irritate your stomach, and bowel movements should be avoided.
Western Herbal Treatment
– Bovine Cartilage– taken via rectal route to soften stools, 2.2 grams in the form of a 2% suppository administered at least 3 times daily.
– Butcher’s broom– make a decoction and apply topically (wash or compress) to relieve itching and burning
– Camphor– a solution of 0.1-3% Camphor can be applied topically (wash or compress) 3-4 times daily.
– Diosmin– (citrus bioflavinoid) 1350mg plus Hesperidin 150mg twice daily for 4 days followed by Diosmin 900mg and Hesperidin 100mg twice daily for 3 days. Also for prevention of relapse, take Diosmin 450mg plus Hesperidin 50mg twice daily for 3 months.
– Hesperidin– (citrus bioflavinoid) used together with Diosmin.
– Peru Balsam– preparations of 5-20% can be used for daily application. If being used over large areas of the body it is advised to keep the solution under 10%.
– Poplar– 5 grams of the dried buds per day made into a topical application daily.