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Causes

Hemorrhoids, also known as "piles," are enlarged veins located in the lower rectum or anus that are caused by blood blockage in the veins of the hemorrhoidal complex. The hemorrhoids begin above the internal opening of the anus and may become large enough to protrude. The subsequent squeezing of them while sitting brings on pain.

Hardened stools or constipation, is one of the primary causes of hemorrhoids. Constipation may be due to diet, lack of fluids or medication, among other things. When someone has constipation, the wave-like motion (peristalsis) that moves the bowels through the intestines, is nearly non-existant, and the straining to have a bowel movement causes hemorrhoids. For more information see our Constipation section.

Some other causes:

Diarrhea

Pregnancy

Heavy lifting

Long periods of standing or sitting

Traditional Treatments

Standard conventional medical treatment consists of lubricating the surface of the veins with medication to kill the pain and shrink the hemorrhoid, sitz baths, and hot and cold packs put on the vein to soothe the irritated area. In conventional allopathic treatment, the hemorrhoids may sometimes be hardened by injection, tied off (the preferred method), or removed by surgery.

Remedies

Folk

Alum To relieve itching hemorrhoids, make a solution of a teaspoon of powdered Alum in a glass of water. Apply frequently.

Apple cider vinegar Bleeding hemorrhoids will stop if you take two teaspoonfuls of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water at every meal.

  • To stop itching and burning, soak a cotton ball in vinegar and dab on the affected areas as often as needed. Its astringent qualities will help shrink swollen blood vessels, too.

Calomel/lard Mix a half ounce of heated lard with a dram (teaspoonful) of Calomel and apply as a salve on a piece of cotton. This has cured obstinate cases.

Cayenne pepper Take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cayenne in a glass of water to stop bleeding hemorrhoids. Take cayenne for several days until the hemorrhoids are gone, then once or twice a week for a good maintenance dose. This will clear up hemorrhoids and keep them from reoccurring. The cayenne helps the blood flow better.

Cranberry A diet consisting of a lot of cranberries is supposed to be beneficial.

DHEA Take 25-50 mg daily (the larger dose for people over 200 pounds). For some reason that so far is inexplicable, this remedy works - at least for some people.

Echinacea Apply the extract of echinacea to the affected area with clean cotton; a teaspoonful in a pint of water may be injected into the rectum. This will help relieve itching and painful hemorrhoids.

Horse chestnut Studies done in Europe found that horse chestnut helped to increase blood flow, strengthen connective tissue, tighten up veins, and decrease redness and swelling. One of its compounds, Aescin, has been found to close the small pores in the walls of the veins, making them less permeable. This strengthens the vein walls and reduces leakage of fluid into the surrounding tissues. Take horse chestnut capsules containing 50-300 mg of aescin 2-3 times a day. Improvement should be within six weeks. CAUTION: Avoid horse chestnut if you have liver or kidney disease or if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Unlike diuretics, horse chestnut is unlikely to cause potassium deficiency or other side effects.

Iodine is very good at eliminating hemorrhoids. We recommend using a form called SSKI (saturated solution of potassium iodide). Since it can cause a burning sensation, use it with a carrier oil such as flaxseed or olive. Mix 20 drops of SSKI in an ounce of oil and apply the solution to the affected area at bedtime. Because iodine stains, wear bedclothes that you won't worry about (your skin will stain, but that will go away).

Lobelia Make a wash by mixing one ounce of lobelia extract, one ounce of Baptisia extract, one ounce of zinc sulfate, with 13 ounces of water; shake well and use frequently. Good for itching and painful hemorrhoids.

Sulfur Mix one teaspoonful of Flowers of Sulfur with one tablespoonful of Vaseline. Apply two or three times a day.

Thermotherapy This rectal heat therapy, given once a week for 2-4 weeks, has been very successful. The hemorrhoids shrink and stop bleeding.

Witch hazel will help soothe and shrink the hemorrhoids. Put extract of witch hazel on a wad of cotton and secure to the hemorrhoids at night. If you can't manage this procedure, wipe the affected area with witch hazel. Use until cured. Works like magic. Witch hazel has been used by Native Americans for its anti-inflammatory properties.

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