A diet rich in refined foods, a sedentary life or abdominal sagging can cause hemorrhoids. How to prevent and treat them?
Hemorrhoids are a very common condition in the West: at least 5% of the population has symptoms related to hemorrhoids and 50% of people over 50 usually have them.
WHAT ARE HEMORRHOIDS?
Hemorrhoids appear as varicose veins in the anus, specifically as vascular dilations of the venous plexuses of the anal canal.
These plexuses come to be like a series of highly vascular pads, made up of connective tissue, muscle, and blood vessels. There are three main ones, which coincide with 3, 7 and 11 o’clock (seen from the front). With the distal sliding of these pads, hemorrhoids appear.
WHAT FACTORS FAVOR HEMORRHOIDS?
- Its appearance is related to constipation due to a lack of fiber in the diet.
- They also occur during pregnancy and childbirth, influenced by increased intra-abdominal pressure
- They can occur, among other reasons, due to efforts, such as vomiting.
- They also appear more easily in case of portal hypertension or cirrhosis.
SYMPTOMS OF HEMORRHOIDS
The main sign of hemorrhoids is a hemorrhage, which is usually detected because drops or a stream of bright red blood are lost in the sink when you defecate, or because blood appears on the toilet paper when you clean the anus.
Other symptoms are perianal discomfort or pain, prolapse or leakage of the anus, mucous discharge, and anal itching.
But even if you have rectal discomfort, swelling, pain and bleeding when you have a bowel movement, you should be cautious before deciding that it is hemorrhoids.
The rectal area must be visualized as well as possible and processes such as:
- Anal or rectal carcinoma, or anal fissures. In these cases there may also be pain after defecation, usually described as burning or tearing, accompanied by bleeding.
- Abscesses in the area near the rectum are less common in the general population, but should be considered in diabetes or immune disorders, diseased mucosa – such as ulcerative colitis proctitis or Crohn’s disease – or perianal condylomata. They cause itching, local irritation, pain and bleeding.
- A rectocele (posterior vaginal prolapse) can cause a sensation similar to an internal hemorrhoid – rectum full despite having a bowel movement.
- It is also worth considering causes such as an allergic reaction, perianal dermatitis, microorganisms, parasites, oral antibiotics, poor hygiene or systemic diseases (such as diabetes).
HOW TO TREAT AND PREVENT HEMORRHOIDS?
Medical treatment is essentially hygienic and dietary.
A diet rich in fiber, with fruits, vegetables, cereals and legumes favors peristalsis and the uptake of more water in the stool. Psyllium or psyllium seeds, guar gum, flaxseed, and agar-agar are ideal. It is convenient to suppress garlic and hot peppers, as well as what overloads the liver: coffee, tea, alcohol, tobacco, overeating, spices, condiments, salt and fried foods, repressed anger or overwork…
Exertion should be avoided, defecating only at the moment when you feel the urge to do so.
It is advisable to clean with cotton or wet wipes, or bath or shower toiletries after defecating and then remove excess moisture in the perineal area.
It is important to exercise regularly, without getting tired. Lack of exercise and prolonged sitting can be risk factors. Prolonged and intense exercise or straining when having a bowel movement can also trigger hemorrhoids.
Early intervention with non-invasive therapies such as hydrotherapy or herbal medicine can prevent complications from varicose veins and hemorrhoids. Bathing in the bidet with hot water, followed by cold water for a few seconds, or a warm sitz bath are ideal for treating hemorrhoids.
EFFECTIVE PLANTS TO TREAT HEMORRHOIDS
The plants are used either taken in infusion or as ingredients of ointments or ointments, for which a base of lanolin or cocoa butter can be used. The most used to combat hemorrhoids are:
- Oak or holm oak bark: it is astringent and anti-inflammatory. The extract is used for anal fissures and hemorrhoids in external application. To prepare the extract, two liters of water are poured over 500 grams of oak bark, boiled until only half the liquid remains, and strained. For baths, calculate two tablespoons of oak bark extract per liter of water.
- Gotu kola (Gotu kola): can improve connective tissue integrity, capillary permeability and antioxidant level in wound healing.
- Butcher’s broom: the extract increases venous tone due to its anti-inflammatory and astringent properties.
- Horse Chestnut: It is safe and effective in the short-term treatment of chronic venous insufficiency.
- Witch hazel or witch hazel: The leaves of this North American deciduous shrub contain abundant tannins and volatile oils. They are used mainly for their astringent, anti-inflammatory and local hemostatic effect. They have been indicated in hemorrhoids and varicose veins. For local relief, suppositories of witch hazel and cocoa butter can be used.
HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES FOR A THOROUGH TREATMENT
- Arnica Montana 9 CH, if you have a bruised sensation that cannot bear friction, with or without bleeding. 3 granules every two hours in acute cases the first two days, and after 3 to 5 granules, between 2 and 3 times a day.
- Aesculus hippocastanum 5 CH, if the rectum is pricked and the rectal mucosa “burns” and is dry. 3 to 5 granules, 2 or 3 times a day.
- Aloe socotrina 5 CH, if the hemorrhoids protrude like grapes, with involuntary expulsion of stool. Between 3 and 5 granules, 2 or 3 times a day.
- Collinsonia canadensis 7 CH, in hemorrhoids with a tendency to bleed and constipation with thick stools. 3 to 5 granules, 2 or 3 times a day.
EMERGENCY PLAN FOR HEMORRHOIDS
In an acute crisis, the following treatment is recommended:
- Stop eating routinely and habitually.
- Take an orange (or other peeled fruit) every three hours, as well as numerous small meals or vegetable or fruit juices.
- When the discomfort has disappeared, have fruits for breakfast; at noon, a hearty salad of raw foods; in the evening, one or two non-farinaceous vegetables and a nutritious food such as legumes, cereals or nuts.
- One or two days a week, fasting or semi-fasting.
- Sit inside a bucket full of hot water, until you get complete relaxation. Smear the anus with oil or petroleum jelly and push the hemorrhoids inward. It can also be achieved by resting on your knees on the floor, resting your chest on your thighs.
- Relax lying on an inclined board, with the head on the bottom, for 10 to 30 minutes, to raise the abdominal organs and relieve pain (hemorrhoids are nothing more than the fall of the terminal part of the intestine). You can also do gymnastics on the inclined board at sunset, when the body is most tired.
When this conservative treatment is insufficient, you can resort to other treatments (always with the help of a professional):
- Ligation with elastic bands: consists of placing an elastic band around the base of the hemorrhoidal nodule tractioned by means of a special instrument
- Sclerotherapy: a sclerosing solution is injected submucosa over the internal hemorrhoids; but sclerosing injections can eventually cause ulcers.
- Hemorrhoidectomy – hemorrhoid surgery – is reserved for uncontrollable prolapses with pain or bleeding. The hemorrhoid operation temporarily relieves but shortens the mucous membrane. This results in a scar that is often very annoying, and in many cases this operation reduces the caliber of the rectum, in such a way that the patient’s condition is worse than before. The only operation that can be justified is in those cases in which the blood coagulates within the hemorrhoids, becoming hard and painful. The intervention would consist of making cuts in the membrane in such a way as to allow the hardened blood clots to be removed. No part of the mucous membrane should be cut.
OTHER CAUSES OF ITCHY ANUS AND HOW TO FIX IT
Improper habits or infection can cause itching, burning, irritation, thickening, redness, or swelling in the anus.
Zinc oxide ointments relieve anal itching, but figuring out the cause is the first step in remedying this discomfort.
It may be due to:
- The excessive use of toilet paper rough or wipes with alcohol, dyes, antibacterial or antifungal.
- Waxing also alters the bacterial flora.
- Synthetic or very tight underwear ;
- A change of soap, detergent, bleach, food coloring, or perfume.
- Chronic diarrhea or loose stools.
- The worm infections and candida cause similar symptoms. Perianal itching, especially nocturnal, suggests worm infestation, common in children. In case of pinworms, clothing and bedding should be washed in warm or hot water to remove the eggs deposited by the parasite outside the rectum overnight.
- Some foods aggravate the problem: peanuts, coffee, cola drinks, beer, spices, acids, allergens.
- Psoriasis, contact dermatitis, or cancerous or precancerous lesions should be ruled out and tests performed if infection is suspected. If confirmed, a topical treatment against fungi, yeast and bacteria should be applied.
- It begins with a wash with 3% hydrogen peroxide.
- A mixture of medicinal plants such as hydrastis, oregano and tea tree oil is applied, and allowed to dry.
- Afterwards, the skin’s defensive barrier is restored by applying a healing balm with calendula, comfrey and vitamins E and A.
The problem should be resolved in 7-10 days.
A LITTLE HISTORY
- The word “hemorrhoid” derives from the Greek haema –blood– and rhoos –flowing–, and was first used by Hippocrates to describe the flow of blood from the veins of the anus.
- It has been treated with poultices, ointments, bedding, and rest and, in extreme cases, applying a red hot pot.
- There have even been those who have chosen to pray to Saint Fiacre, the patron saint of gardeners, an Irish monk who lived in France and became famous for his cures.
- One of the pharmacy remedies that have traditionally been used to relieve hemorrhoids, made from poplar or black poplar and belladonna, was dispensed for a long time under two different names: poplin ointment, when those who suffered in silence belonged to the common people, and the queen’s ointment, if it was a noble who requested it.