It is estimated that 50 to 75 percent of Americans will suffer from hemorrhoids at least once, and nearly one-third of the population has an ongoing problem with this often painful condition. Hemorrhoids are usually caused by increased pressure on the veins of the anus and the rectum. This pressure inflames and swells and veins, much in the same way that pressure on the veins of the legs creates varicose veins. Increased pressure on the anal veins can occur for many reasons but is most commonly the result of constipation, especially straining to pass stools, and pregnancy and childbirth. There may also be a genetic component to this disorder.
Hemorrhoids can be divided into three categories. Internal hemorrhoids develop inside the rectum, where they cannot be seen. Because they are usually painless, you may not even be aware of them unless they bleed. External hemorrhoids are located at the lower end of the anal canal, at the opening of the anus and under the skin. They are likely to become inflamed; when they do, they turn blue or purple and feel tender to the touch. Because of the high number of nerves in the anus, these hemorrhoids can be quite painful.
If an internal hemorrhoid becomes enlarged, it may collapse and descend so that it partially protrudes outside of the anus. These lumpy-looking masses of tissue are called prolapsed hemorrhoids. They usually appear after a bowel movement and produce both mucus and heavy bleeding. Prolapsed hemorrhoids can be excruciating painful.
Most cases of hemorrhoids are linked in some way to a lack of dietary fiber. They are best treated at home with increased fiber intake, detoxification, and soothing treatments for the pain and the itching. If your hemorrhoids don't improve with these conservative strategies, see a doctor about more aggressive treatments. In rare cases, surgery is required to remove large and very painful hemorrhoids. If you have any rectal bleeding at all, consult with a doctor so that he or she can rule out a more serious underlying condition.
All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; level of
effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when taking
any and all supplements.
The top 7 vitamins and supplements shown to help Hemorrhoids:
Prescription for Natural
Cures by James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.M.D.
#1 Butcher's broom (Ruscus aculeatus)
Take a standardized extract that gives you 200 to 300 mg of ruscogenins
daily. Ruscogenins are constituents within this herb that are believed to
constrict and reduce inflammation of hemorrhoidal tissue.
Super Prescription #
Chestnut - LifeSource Products
Take a standardized
extract that contains 100 mg of aescin daily. This herb improves circulation
and reduces swelling.
#3 Collinsonia (stone root)
Take 500 mg three times daily. Collinsonia reduces hemorrhoid swelling.
#4 Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Apply as a gel or a cream to external hemorrhoids, or add 1 ounce to a sitz
Seed Oil - LifeSource Products
Take 3 capsules
daily. Flaxseed oil improves regularity and reduces straining. It also
contains essential fatty acids that promote tissue healing.
Super Prescription #
6 Bioflavonoid complex
Take 1,000 mg two to three times daily. Various flavonoids, such as rutin and
hesperidin, have been shown to be effective in treating hemorrhoids. They
reduce swelling and prevent bleeding.
#7 Bilberry (Vaccimium
myrtillus) - LifeSource Product
Take a standardized
extract 160 mg twice daily. Bilberry improves circulation and strengthens
capillary walls. Or try liquid extract.
here to see all products, articles and studies for Hemorrhoids
- Pain, itching, burning, or bleeding in the anal area
- Blue or purple patches of hard skin near the anus
- Lumpy tissue protruding from the anus
- Constipation and straining
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Lifting heavy objects
- Inactivity, especially standing or sitting for extended periods
- Food allergies
- Portal hypertension and poor liver function
- Poor anal hygiene
Almost everyone who suffers from hemorrhoids-even people who aren't constipated-willbenefit from dietary changes.
If you're unaccustomed to a high-fiber diet, incorporate these suggestions incrementally. If you try to introduce too much fiber at once, you'll only place more pressure on your digestive tract.
The best way to relieve hemorrhoids is to consume more fiber. Eat lots of whole grains, raw or lightly cooked fruits and vegetables, and beans, nuts, and seeds. Rather than sitting down to three large meals every day, plan on several smaller meals.
To allow stools to pass more easily, drink a glass of clean water every two waking hours.
Add prunes or figs to your breakfast to speed up a sluggish intestine.
Have a tablespoon of flaxseed oil every day to encourage elimination, or sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds onto cereal or salads.
Vitamin K will help stop or prevent bleeding. Green leafy vegetables, especially kale, are a good source of this nutrient, as are kelp and alfalfa sprouts.
An overgrowth of candidiasis is an often-overlooked aggravator of hemorrhoids. Consume soured food like unsweetened live yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut to increase the numbers of friendly bacteria that inhibit this fungal growth. These products will also help you absorb vitamin K.
Eat wheat germ for its high level of vitamin E. You'll promote circulation and prevent blood clots in your already-stressed circulatory system.
Bioflavonoids have been shown to significantly reduce inflammation and to strengthen capillaries, so enjoy some berries a few times daily.
If you're pregnant, you have another reason to eat your leafy greens. These vegetables are high in B6, a vitamin that many pregnant women lack; a deficiency may contribute to hemorrhoids. Brewer's yeast and wheat germ are also good sources.
Foods to Avoid
Fats and oils slow down the digestive system. Stay away from foods that are fried or otherwise high in saturated fat.
Caffeine and alcohol are dehydrating and worsen hemorrhoids.
Avoid sugars and spicy foods, as they also tend to worsen this condition.
Some cases of hemorrhoids are caused by food allergies. Try the elimination diet to determine whether you need to remove certain foods from your diet. The most common ones that lead to hemorrhoids are cow's milk, wheat, citrus fruit, tomatoes, and peanuts.
If hemorrhoids result from constipation or straining on the toilet, go on a three-day juice fast to cleanse accumulated waste matter from your digestive tract. If you are constipated when you begin taking the fast, add psyllium husks or flaxseeds to your juices for fiber.
- If you're constipated, do not strain when sitting on the toilet. Try to relax and breathe deeply.
- Do not use laxatives. They only address the surface of the problem and can cause your bowels to become dependent on them.
- Get regular exercise. Any kind will do, but a daily walk is always a good idea.
- For temporary relief of pain and itching, use any of the following as a topical lotion: cocoa butter, zinc oxide, olive oil, or calendula gel.
- If you must stand or sit for long periods of time, take frequent breaks to stretch and move around.
- Special foam-rubber pillows known as "doughnuts" are helpful when you need to sit. They have a hole in the middle so there is less pressure on the hemorrhoids.
- If you're obese, losing weight will reduce or even eliminate your hemorrhoids. The dietary suggestions in this section should help you take the weight off safely.
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