The problem of piles is real, especially if it is chronic. If you experience lump formation, itchiness, or pain in and around your anus, you are probably suffering from it. In the worst condition, you may even experience bleeding during bowel movements. But this is an extremely common issue, which affects almost 75% of Americans at some point during their lifetime (1). In fact, piles are very much treatable, and using home remedies may help you shrink it down even fast and naturally. In this article, let us tell you everything that you should know about home remedies for piles along with its causes, symptoms, and other medical treatments.
What are Piles?
Piles, medically termed as hemorrhoids, are a health condition in which the veins in and around the lower rectum (mainly anus) area swell up and get inflamed. They typically vary in size and contain collections of support tissues, muscles, blood vessels, and elastic fibers. As said earlier, piles are very common in adults and they may lead to mild to severe discomfort as well as significant pain. In fact, they turn the passage of stool into a painful process and any pressure on the rectum ends up aggravating the situation. Though piles go away one their own within a couple of weeks, you can avoid them completely or at least make them tolerable by opting for certain home remedies.
Causes of Piles
When the lower rectum of the body is subjected to increased pressure, the blood vessels in its smooth walls as well as around the anus get stretched. This makes them swollen or bulgy, forming piles, which leads to inflammation and pain. Find below some of the most common triggers of this swelling:
- Consuming food with very little fiber content can cause a lot of strain on the blood vessels while passing the stool.
- Excess weight developed due to obesity and pregnancy can increase pressure on the rectum.
- Any injury in the spinal cord, which prevents it from being straight, may put pressure on the rectal muscles.
- It can be a secondary symptom of other chronic disorders, such as constipation, diarrhea, etc.
- Lifestyle-related issues like sitting for long periods of time, lifting heavy weights, high levels of stress, etc. may also cause the same.
Symptoms of Piles
Almost 50% of Americans experience noticeable symptoms of piles before they reach the age of 50 years (2). Although these may vary from one individual to another, we have mentioned below the most typical ones:
- Painless rectal bleeding
- Extreme irritation, itchiness, and redness around the anus
- Pain, soreness, and burning sensation in the rectal area
- A hard and painful lump near the anus
- Painful bowel movements
- Bright red blood on the toilet tissue
- Involuntary leakage of stool
- Difficulty sitting down
Most of the aforementioned symptoms of piles are mild to moderate and they subside in some weeks automatically. But if the condition turns severe, you may experience the following serious symptoms like too much anal bleeding (resulting in anemia), skin infections, fecal incontinence, anal fistula, strangulated hemorrhoids (leading to blood clots), etc.
In severe hemorrhoids, the hard and painful lump formed near the anus becomes larger in size and moves to the outer side of the anal canal. They may also develop blood cots and a blockage to the blood flow, thus causing excruciating pain. These are called thrombosed external hemorrhoids and need immediate medical attention.
Types of Piles
There are basically the following two types of piles (3):
- Internal Piles: When piles develop inside of the anus at a position of 2-4 cm. above its opening or within the rectum, it is called ‘internal hemorrhoids’. As this area contains very few nerve endings and pain receptors, this condition only causes bloody stools.
- External Piles: The piles developed on the outside edge of the anus or rectum is known as ‘external hemorrhoids’. The number of nerve endings and pain receptors are high in this part of the body, which results in multiple clear symptoms.
It has been found that internal piles are much more common than the external ones.
13 Most Effective Home Remedies for Piles
Certain home treatments are highly effective in shrinking down painful hemorrhoids. They are all simple, inexpensive, and easily available home DIY remedies. Here is what you can practice at home to keep the discomfort of piles away until they clear up on their own:
1. Sitz Bath
A sitz bath is a warm bath that is recommended by doctors as a great natural treatment for piles. It is usually available at local pharmacies as a small plastic tub, which can either be placed over the toilet seat for sitting nearly 15-20 minutes or used for taking a full-body bath in it. Doing it for 20 minutes right after every bowel movement or several times a day will reduce swelling and soothe the irritation in the troubled area in an easy and convenient way (4). Adding Epsom salt or apple cider vinegar (ACV) to your warm bath will give you even more relief from the pain.
2. Psyllium Husk
Made from the husks of the seeds of the medicinal plant Plantago ovata (popularly known as ispaghul), psyllium is a form of fiber and is commonly used as a laxative (stool softener). Though it does not cure piles at a local level, the increased amount of fiber in the body helps in reducing constipation, thereby easing the passage of stool (5). Available as a powder, capsule, and liquid, this fiber supplement should be used once to thrice a day in order to regulate bowel movements.
3. Radish Juice
Being full of fibers, radish juice is considered as a great remedy for piles. Start with about a quarter cup of juice per day in order to diminish the intensity of the problem. For this, you just need to grate a fresh radish and squeeze the juice out of it. Once you are comfortable with the taste, increase the quantity, and drink a glass of it every day.
4. Pomegranate Peel
Pomegranate peel infusion is another surefire remedy for piles. Boil a handful of fresh pomegranate peels in a cup of water. Strain the concoction and cool it down. Drink this concoction twice a day – once in the morning and again in the evening. When consumed over a few weeks consistently, this reduces swelling and inflammation to a large extent.
5. Mustard Powder and Goat Milk
Take a teaspoon of black mustard seeds and grind it into a coarse powder. Add it to a glass of goat milk and mix thoroughly. Drink this mixture every morning on an empty stomach. Practicing this regularly is known to provide relief from the pain and discomfort of piles as well as the inflammation associated with it.
6. Banana Milkshake
Drinking sugarless banana milkshake also helps in getting respite from the irritation of piles. All you need to do is whip up a milkshake with a ripe banana and a glass of milk. Drink two to three glasses of it every day. This will make your bowel movement easy and relieve pain efficiently.
Figs are very much helpful in reducing the inflammation resulted from hemorrhoids. Eat a few fresh figs directly or soak a handful of dried figs overnight in water. This is to be consumed as the first thing in the morning to enjoy the best results.
8. Wood Apple
Wood apple, commonly known as ‘Bael’ in India, contains a certain flavonoid called rutin. This relaxes the blood capillaries in the rectum area, promotes healthy circulation of blood through them, and ensures easy passage of stool. The fruit works as a gentle laxative too. You can consume half a wood apple daily or try the wood apple syrup, which is widely available in herbal stores.
9. Coconut Oil and Neem Leaves
Applying a paste of neem leaves mixed with organic coconut oil to external hemorrhoids will give you instant relief from inflammation and pain. Neem leaves have both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which help cure infections as well as control soreness. On the other hand, coconut oil is a wonderful natural moisturizer that reduces swelling by soothing irritation and itchiness in that area.
10. Aloe Vera Gel
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health, aloe vera is a very safe topical treatment for external hemorrhoids (6). Applying aloe vera gel to the troubled area of your body may soothe irritation, swelling, and the burning sensation to provide you with temporary relief. It has amazing anti-inflammatory properties that are also effective in treating a number of other skin conditions including scars and wounds (7). However, make sure that you are only using pure aloe vera gel for this purpose.
11. Green Tea
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of green tea are not only good for reducing irritation caused by piles but also useful in curing the swollen veins. All you need to do is place a green tea bag in the refrigerator for half an hour and apply that chilled bag to the hemorrhoids externally.
12. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel comprises tannins and certain other oils that play significant roles in slowing down bleeding and bringing down the inflammation in external hemorrhoids. When dabbed directly onto the affected area of the skin with a cotton ball, this natural anti-inflammatory agent may decrease swelling, itching, and pain until the lumps fade out completely (8), (9).
13. Epsom Salt and Glycerin
Take 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt and mix it with 2 tablespoons of glycerin to prepare a thick mixture. Apply it to a gauze pad and place it on the affected part of the skin for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Also, you need to repeat the procedure every 4-6 hours to experience the most promising results.
Other Natural Ways to Manage Piles
Making certain changes to the dietary practice and lifestyle may also help you manage piles efficiently and effectively. We have listed them below:
- Include more and more dietary fibers (fruits, vegetables, bran-based cereals, etc.) in your daily diet.
- Drink plenty of liquids (except caffeine) throughout the day (10).
- Exercise regularly and stay physically active to keep your body weight under control.
- Do not delay a bowel movement ever and go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge.
- Take a squatting position and do not force (push or strain) during a bowel movement.
- Choose loose-fitting clothing (especially underwear) made of ultra-breathable cotton (11).
- Swap regular soaps, perfumed toilet papers, and commercial baby wipes with soothing, alcohol-free wipes after a bowel movement (12).
- Apply cold compresses to large, painful piles for 15 minutes at a time to get rid of swelling and discomfort.
Treatments of Piles
If piles are severe and no home remedy works for them, consult a doctor immediately to try the best treatment available for the issue. Following are the options to choose from:
- Medicinal Treatments: There are lots of medicinal treatments available for piles and only an expert can help you find the best-suited one for your requirements. These mostly include OTC medications (painkillers, ointments, creams, and pads), corticosteroids, and laxatives.
- Surgical Treatments: Studies have found that 1 in every 10 piles patients end up needing surgery (13). The most common surgical treatments available for this purpose are banding, sclerotherapy, infrared coagulation, hemorrhoidectomy, hemorrhoid stapling, and so on.
Piles or hemorrhoids are a health condition in which the veins in and around the lower rectum (mainly anus) area swell up and get inflamed. It turns the passage of stool into a painful process and any pressure on the rectum ends up aggravating the situation. Fewer fibers in the diet, excess body weight, injury in the spinal cord, sitting for long periods of time, lifting heavy weights, high levels of stress, etc. may trigger piles by stretching the blood vessels in the area and causing inflammation and pain. Some common symptoms of piles are painless rectal bleeding, irritation, itchiness, redness, extreme pain, soreness, burning sensation, a hard and painful lump near the anus, painful bowel movements, bright red blood on the toilet tissue, involuntary leakage of stool, difficulty sitting down, etc. If these symptoms do not subside in a few weeks, try certain home remedies like a sitz bath, psyllium husk, radish juice, pomegranate peel, mustard powder, and goat milk, banana milkshake, figs, wood apple, coconut oil and neem leaves, aloe vera gel, green tea, witch hazel, Epsom salt and glycerin. Making certain dietary and lifestyle changes may help you manage piles efficiently and effectively. If nothing works, you can opt for medicinal or surgical treatments upon consultation with a doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Should I Not Eat in Piles?
Avoid foods with fewer dietary fibers like white bread, dairy products, meat, processed items, etc. as they may worsen the problem of piles.
Can I Pop a Hemorrhoid?
Popping a hemorrhoid will release blood, which may lead to serious infections as well as cause irreversible damage to your health.
Can You Push a Hemorrhoid Back in?
If the swelling of hemorrhoid reaches outside the anus (prolapsed hemorrhoid), it may either go back inside on its own or you may gently push it back inside too.
Can I Eat Curd in Piles?
Curd is rich in probiotics (beneficial bacteria), which promotes digestive health and prevents piles.
Which Exercises are Best for Piles?
Always avoid exercises that may put additional pressure on your lower rectum. Rather, opt for walking, swimming, and other similar light to moderate workouts.
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- “Antioxidant and Potential Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Extracts and Formulations of White Tea, Rose, and Witch Hazel on Primary Human Dermal Fibroblast Cells“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
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