Hemorrhoid statistics: Hemorrhoids are very common. It is estimated that about 50% of all Americans over the age of 50 have hemorrhoids. Only a small number of people see medical treatment (half a million per year!) 10-20% require surgical intervention.
Physiological Considerations of Hemorrhoids:
What is a hemorrhoid? A hemorrhoid, more commonly called “piles,” is defined in medical literature as varicose dilatations of veins of the superior or inferior hemorrhoidal plexus. (Dorland’s Medical Dictionary, 24th ed.)
Hemorrhoids are sac-like developments filled with lymph and blood vessels, and always located in conjunction with the two rings of sphincter muscle tissue that guard the opening of the rectum to the outside. The sacs often extrude out of the anus which can be very painful. Sometimes hemorrhoids are located higher in the canal and stay inside. They often bleed, especially when the lining of the anal orifice is irritated and thinned. Hemorrhoids sometimes bleed into the sac and cause a thrombosed hemorrhoid which is the most troublesome of all types of hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are nothing more than varicose veins of the anus and rectum. Avoid sitting on the toilet too long as this may exacerbate the problem (so no reading on the toilet. Get in, do your business and get off.) Both constipation and diarrhea can cause hemorrhoids to develop. Even straining to pass gas can irritate and cause swelling and inflammation associated with painful hemorrhoids.
External hemorrhoids are bluish-red cherry color. External hemorrhoids pop up on the outside of the rectum.
Internal hemorrhoids are on the inside of the rectal area. Internal hemorrhoids cause intense pain and are often associated with bleeding which is bright red in color and can be seen on the outside of the fecal material. Small Intestinal bleeding (higher up the intestinal tract) causes black tarry stools which really stink.
Signs and Symptoms of Hemorrhoids:
- Blood during bowel movements
- Rectal blood after movement of bowels
- Bright red blood found in stool
- Mild burning during bowel movement
- Protrusion in the course of bowel movements
- Itching in the anal area
- Pain during bowel movements
- Sensitive or painful lump(s) on the anus
Hemorrhoids can be classified into one of four categories called degrees:
- Category 1 – Blood is the main symptom (with no anal prolapse).
- Category 2 – Prolapses during bowel movement but they retract inside the anus after bowel movement.
- Category 3 – After a hemorrhoid protrudes, it does not return inside without physically pushing it back inside.
- Category 4 – A hemorrhoid is always protruding outside the anus even without bowel movement.
Diverticulosis is a condition where the colon wall develops a pouch. The pouches can be the size of a raisin to that of a large grape and sprout up on weak spots of the gut. Straining increases your chances of developing diverticulosis. Straining increases the pressure within the veins lining the anus and rectum causing the hemorrhoids to bulge and be painful. Chronic constipation is a factor. Diverticulosis occurs when the colon pouch becomes inflamed. This is dangerous because it can lead to fistulas which are a tube, duct or passage resulting from injury or intra-abdominal abscesses. This can cause death in some cases.
Edgar Cayce (also called the “Sleeping Prophet” and one of my heroes) did 104 readings on 65 different individuals who had hemorrhoids. Gleaning this information, the Association for Research and Enlightenment (ARE) found that there is always an underlying core cause within the physiological balance of the person.
The four most common core causes of hemorrhoids according to Cayce were:
- Excess acidity in the body (superacidity) (See Alkalize Your Body) http://naturalhealthtechniques.com/BasicsofHealth/alkalize_your_body.htm
- Disturbance of the hepatic circulation and related autonomic nervous system imbalances (this can be due to a vertebrae being slightly subluxated);
- Nervousness, worry, emotions, anxiety, irritation – those things that we usually term “stresses”; and
- Constipation, which usually has its own set of predisposing factors.
Other Core Causes Include:
- Poor muscle tone
- Poor posture
- Genetic predisposition
- Chronic Diarrhea
- Poor bathroom habits
- Lack of fiber in the diet
- Excess alcohol in the diet (which messes up the liver!)
- Pepper, mustard and hot spicy foods
- Gravity (too much standing)
It seems as if the entire body is involved in the development of a hemorrhoid. When eliminations are decreased, the assimilation of foodstuffs into the body is lessened, the lack of nutrient elements creates glandular deficiencies, anxieties, and often an increased acidity. The lymph is suppressed, irritations arise; incoordinations develop between parts of the nervous system and the deep and superficial circulation; the hepatic circulation and the balance between the eliminatory channels are all upset.
Initially all that may show up in the body (because the body fantastically always goes towards balance when it can) is greater anxiety, perhaps loss of sleep to a degree, a slight weight gain and the beginning of hemorrhoids.
I recommend that my clients do the Edgar Cayce Exercise for hemorrhoids. Every person who had done them had gotten great results from the exercise and they continue to incorporate it into their lifestyle.
Here it is: Edgar Cayce’s Exercise for Hemorrhoids:
Standing erect, gradually rise on the toes, at the same time, raising the hands slowly from the side, arms extended, until they are high above the head. Then bend forward as if trying to touch the floor with the finger tips. This done several times each day, very slowly, will gradually lift the sphincter muscle and thus remedy the hemorrhoid condition. Do this for two or three minutes morning and evening.
General Care for Hemorrhoids according to the Cayce Readings is thus:
- Diet. An alkaline-reacting diet, including green vegetables, fruits, vegetable and fruit juices, fish, fowl and lamb. Avoid too much starch, fats, fried foods, pork and beef, spices and condiments, beer and liquor. These are the basic rules. Studying diet books helps to develop a new way of eating and thinking about foods.
- Manipulative treatments by osteopath or chiropractor-with special attention to the lumbo-sacral-coccygeal area. The rest of the spine may also need attention-this to be according to the need of the specific body and the capabilities of the physician. Abnormal relationships between the cerebrospinal and the autonomic nervous system need to be corrected.
- Correction of constipation, either through colonics given regularly, by having manipulations, or by using natural laxatives. Cayce recommends several products that don’t appear to be on the health food shelves readily, but can be purchased through the ARE Foundation such as Eno salts.
- Packs across the low back – hot Epsom salts or hot castor oil used either at home or prior to manipulative treatments would be helpful as long as the hemorrhoids persist. The packs aid in correcting the high acidity and lack of normalcy in the rectal area. Soaking a flannel pack in a strong solution of Epsom salts (two cups to a quart of water) or castor oil then applying hot over the lumbo-sacral area. Then, placing plastic over the pack and a heating pad over that will continue the heat for the next hour or hour and a half. These packs can be applied twice a week, if used at home.
- A general exercise program should be adopted (walking is the best, according to the readings), and then continued as a regular part of one’s life.
Edgar relayed: “Stresses are usually the result of one’s rebellion against what one has chosen to meet in this lifetime. Thus rebellion is really against oneself. There are many ways to work at the level of the mind and the emotions. Cayce always suggested the fruits of the spirit in one’s life as a way of facing oneself with gentleness, kindness, forgiveness, longsuffering, understanding and the like for the self.”
He also suggested that it helped not to judge others.
Products that I often recommend for people with hemorrhoids include:
- Lots of dark leafy green vegetables
- Whole Flax Seed (whole seeds act as a lubricant, ground seed acts as an antioxidant)
- Liver cleansers
- Vitamin C and Rutin to strengthen the blood vessels
- Collinsonia Root by Standard Process Labs
- Herbs such as Butcher’s Broom (Ruscus aculeatus), which doesn’t seem to test out strong often although I see it often recommended in the literature.)
- Bromelain (digestive enzyme from pineapple)
- Horse Chestnut (Capsules, Creams, Tinctures) (Aesculus hippocastanum ,good for those with spider veins, glaucoma, varicose veins and who are not allergic to walnuts as it is anti-inflammatory, anti-edema, and has venotonic actions. )
- Bilberry Bioflavonoid: Bilberry extract (Vaccinium myrtillus) to strengthen veins
- Witch Hazel and Aloe Vera (to take down the swelling—These are both astringent)
Other Helpful Herbs and Supplements used for Hemorrhoids and Diverticulosis:
- Fiber supplements both soluble and insoluble
- Gambir (Uncaria gambir)
- Grape seed extract
- Hyaluronic acid
- Quercetin (from onions) for allergies
- Silymarin (from milk thistle) for liver congestion
- Turmeric- penetrates dense tissue and is an antioxidant
- Zinc as a vein strengthener
Try not to use hemorrhoidal suppositories, creams or ointments containing steroids or cortisone as they weaken collagen tissue (which makes up veins so thins the walls of the vessels even further.)
I also refer people to my handouts on:
- What is a normal Bowel Movement: http://naturalhealthtechniques.com/BasicsofHealth/what_is_a_normal_bowel_movement.htm
- Life Purpose: http://naturalhealthtechniques.com/CoachingCorner/life_purpose1.htm
- Anger and Forgiveness: http://naturalhealthtechniques.com/HealingTechniques/anger_&_forgiveness_techniques.htm
- Moving Towards Values: http://naturalhealthtechniques.com/CoachingCorner/moving_toward_values.htm
- Moving Away Values: http://naturalhealthtechniques.com/CoachingCorner/moving_away_values.htm
Helpful Links and References:
- Videos of Hemorhoidectomies being performed: http://www.proctosite.com/video_atlas/video_atlas_hemorrhoids.php
- Pictures, Photos (Fotos) and Graphics of hemorrhoids: http://www.hemorrhoid.net/hemorrhoid_gallery.php (graphic photos of internal and external hemorrhoids, anal fistulas and prolapsed rectum)