While no one likes to talk about hemorrhoids, about 75% of all Americans experience them at some point in their lives. Out of shame and embarrassment, many people attempt to relieve their symptoms on their own without seeking guidance from medical practitioners. These strategies rarely meet with success. There are, however, home remedies for hemorrhoid relief that you can employ on your own that may actually help resolve the problem, particularly if addressed at an early stage.
Hildegard’s 5 Home Remedies for Hemorrhoid Relief
Hildegard of Bingen and other pioneers of monastic medicine recommended natural herbs and home remedies for hemorrhoid relief. Some of these remedies are discussed below, but first, for a better understanding of the problem, a bit more about hemorroids.
In a literal sense, hemorrhoids are “blood-filled veins”, and their presence is normal. They serve a useful digestive function, assisting with the elimination of waste.
The purpose of Hemorrhoidal cushions
Hemorrhoidal cushions are made up of blood vessels and supporting tissues above the anal sphincter to control the release of feces through the anal canal. Healthy tissue is generally ring-shaped beneath the rectal mucosa. Hemmorrhoidal cushions fill with blood to help close the anal canal and prevent leakage. Alternatively, when emptied of blood, hemmorrhoidal cushions allow for the clear passage of feces.
Hemmorrhoidal tissue can become a problem when there is swelling and enlargement in these blood vessels, which can impair the natural functioning, and cause swelling to become trapped or displaced. The blood vessels dilate under significant pressure from bowel movements. In some cases, increased pressure may deform of the walls of the anal canal resulting in small blood deposits, similar to varicose veins. These areas of inflammation and trapped blood vessels are what is commonly referred to as hemorrhoids.
Two Types: External and Internal Hemmorrhoids
In medicine, a distinction is made between external hemorrhoids (lower end of the anal canal) and internal hemorrhoids (upper end of the anal canal). Symptoms of both external and internal hemorrhoids can be acute or chronic in nature.
Hemorrhoids most often develop for those who generally have sedentary lifestyles, spend significant time seated (on hard chairs), or strain during bowel movements.
Typical symptoms include:
- Itching and burning around the anus
- Sensation of a foreign body in the rectum
- Painless, bright red bleeding
- Oozing around the anus
- Stabbing pain during bowel movement
- Node in the outer area of the anus
The following risk factors contribute to the formation of hemorrhoids:
- Low fiber diet
- Low fluid intake
- Lack of exercise
- Poor personal hygiene
- Abscess in connective tissue and vein weakness
- Age-related slacking of vascular elasticity
- Pregnancies and births
5 Basic Home Remedies for Hemorrhoid Relief
1. Maintenance and Cleanliness
In the early stages of hemorrhoids, thorough personal hygiene is recommended after each bowel movement. Herbal ointments can also be applied to soothe swollen tissue. In some cases, a medical toilet stool may serve to support efficient, residue-free bowel movements.
2. Healthy Living
Chronic constipation is the most common cause of inflammation of hemorrhoidal nodes. A fiber-rich diet of vegetables, fruits, spelt, flax seeds, and psyllium accelerates bowel movements and prevents the formation of hemorrhoids.
Remain conscious of your water intake; adequate fluid supply of at least 2.5 liters (8 eight ounce glasses) of water per day is important. Fiber is made more effective with water. For example, if you’re using psyllium husk for weight loss or purely for its fiber content, the mucilage expands with water. This combination stimulates intestinal activity and softens the stool but requires an ample water intake to be most effective. Psyllium and water can also help reduce pain during bowel movements and promote the healing process.
3. Limiting Inflammation
In the early inflammation stages select medicinal herbs with anti-inflammatory properties and astringents to help tone and tighten the skin. Finally, consider herbs that heal hemorrhoids naturally through vein-toning effects to stimulate and strengthen the veins.
4. Movement and Cold Temperature
Move daily, including walking after dinner for at least 30 minutes. Depending on your individual preference and constitution, consider swimming, cycling, jogging and yoga. Even moderate, limited physical activity can greatly enhance your digestive process thereby improving digestive efficiency and the elimination of waste.
Also targeted exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles help to combat hemorrhoids. For example, contract your anal muscles 20 to 30 times, allowing intermittent slacking. Each contraction should last about two seconds, with three seconds of relief.
If you perform this exercise several times daily, your sphincter strengthens rapidly. The blood circulation is stimulated and you avoid blood congestion.
Cold temperatures stimulate blood flow. Though awkward, putting a bag of ice cubes on the anus stimulates circulation and causes hemorrhoids to shrink.
5. Advanced Stage
In the advanced stage of hemorrhoids, medical attention or surgery may be necessary for effective treatment. If you do have bleeding, chronic pain or inflammation, fever, or other digestive distress, consult your physician immediately, as Hildegard’s home remedies for hemorrhoid relief may not be appropriate.
Find effective remedies and herbs to heal hemorrhoids naturally in our post.