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Hemorrhoids

What are Hemorrhoids?

A source of discomfort and pain for at least half the American population at some point in their lives, hemorrhoids are swollen, painful veins in the rectum and/or anus. A person with hemorrhoids may feel sharp pain when sitting and moving bowels, may experience severe itching in the anus, may have protrusions or swellings emerging from the anus, and may find blood on the toilet paper they use or in the toilet after having a bowel movement.

This condition is considered by Western medicine to be caused by strained bowel movements that are the result of hardened stool, chronic diarrhea or constipation, sitting on the toilet or on hard surfaces for long periods of time, inactivity and obesity, or anal intercourse and other forms of anal penetration. Hemorrhoids are also considered to be a common result of pregnancy.

Western treatment for hemorrhoids is varied. The sufferer may be advised to use pharmaceutical therapies (such as creams and ointments that claim to diminish pain and itching), pain-killers (such as Tylenol), and stool-softeners for hardened stool and constipation. When medication doesn’t work, a Western patient is often advised to undergo surgical procedures to remove the hemorrhoids. Western lifestyle recommendations for hemorrhoid sufferers include drinking a lot of water, eating a high-fiber diet, using a sitz bath, using moistened toilet paper, and wearing cotton underwear.

How Does Ayurveda View Hemorrhoids?

The fundamental Ayurvedic process for resolving disease in the body is to identify the root cause of the illness and eliminate it so as to prevent further disease from taking place. When addressing a vaginal yeast infection, and yeast overgrowth in general, an Ayurvedic practitioner will identify the imbalance of the patient’s doshas and prescribe a regimen that balances it through standard practices (dosha-balancing diet, herbs, etc.). In addition, it is the goal of the practitioner to specifically help the patient to relieve her of the fungus and harmful bacteria that are specifically causing the infection. Though identifying the root cause of the ailment is a necessary step, it is also important for the vaginal yeast infection sufferer to more precisely reliev

Ayurveda considers poor digestion to be the root cause of all disease, and hemorrhoids are certainly no exception. Poor digestion leads to undigested food, and undigested food can become directly lodged in the rectum, creating pressure on the blood vessels which will ultimately become afflicted.

When fecal matter isn’t properly removed from the body, its toxicity can spread and aggravate whichever doshas are most vulnerable to imbalance as based on the sufferer’s lifestyle and constitution. The dosha(s) that are imbalanced will lead to other symptoms that will accompany the hemorrhoids, and this general imbalance leads the sufferer to be more vulnerable to hemorrhoids than would otherwise happen.

 

If the hemorrhoids are Vata-related, then the most significant symptoms will be sharp pain when sitting and when moving bowels. The sufferer’s stool will likely be hard and difficult to move to the point that they will be constipated, and may experience dryness of the body, insomnia, tremors, and emotions like anxiety and fear.

 

If the hemorrhoids are Pitta-related, then the most significant symptoms will be a reddish or bloody stool, blood in the anus, and blood in the toilet. The sufferer may also experience burning sensations in the body, profuse amounts of sweat, diarrhea and other digestive complaints, fatigue, exhaustion, and emotions like irritability and anger.


If the hemorrhoids are Kapha-related, then the most significant symptoms will be severe itchiness in the anus, a mucus discharge from the anus, and dull pain more deeply rooted in the rectum that isn’t triggered by touch. The sufferer may also experience a general sense of heaviness or lethargy, obesity, respiratory complaints, or chest congestion.

 

 

How Does Ayurveda Treat Hemorrhoids?

Similar to other diseases, one of the main goals of resolving hemorrhoids with Ayurvedic techniques is to balance whichever doshas that appear to be causing the hemorrhoids and related symptoms. The other main goal is to resolve symptoms through both external treatments like herbal pastes and oils and through internal remedies like herbal formulas.

Lifestyle Changes for Hemorrhoids

When we neglect to establish the root cause of one illness, it can turn into another, stronger illness in the future.  The first step in resolving a specific ailment or disease in the body is to assess the nature of our lifestyle and make general modifications.  Living our day-to-day life with a deliberate intention to improve our health will help us to both resolve the disease we are suffering from and prevent further incidence of it and other diseases in the future.  The following remedies and lifestyle changes can be used in response to the various symptoms associated with hemorrhoids:

General

  • Apply a warm compress of barley, sesame seed powder, corn flour with sesame oil or ghee, or dry radish pulp to the affected area. Mix the ingredients with warm water and soak a clean cloth with this combination.
  • Make a paste of pomegranate rind with a little water and apply externally to the hemorrhoids.
  • Make a paste of cumin powder with water and apply externally to the hemorrhoids.
  • Avoid the suppression of bowel movements and other natural urges, as this will exacerbate related symptoms like constipation and gastrointestinal distress.
  • Craft a regular sleeping routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
  • Avoid constant eating throughout the day.
  • Avoid sweating too profusely.
  • Avoid activities that exert a lot of pressure on the body and make the breath erratic. 

Vata

  • Lightly fry a thin gruel of rice flour, pippali, chitrak, bilwa, and lassi in ghee or oil and take in eight times as much water (approximately 1.75 ounces in about 12 fluid ounces of water).
  • Obey all urges to move bowels as soon as possible.
  • Favor nourishing foods such as white basmati rice, barley, and cooked vegetables.
  • Avoid dry foods such as chips, cold cereals, cookies, crackers, granola, and nutrition bars.
  • Enlist the help of an Ayurvedic practitioner to administer oil enemas and other treatments so as to stimulate the functionality of the colon. Oil enemas are more effective than colonics, as they only use water and pressure. Therefore, this will not provide enough lubrication to combat the dryness of Vata like an oil enema does.
  • Create more stillness through the practicing of calming yoga postures.
  • Avoid being in the wind.

Pitta

  • Take a vegetable soup of green leafy vegetables.
  • Use a paste of turmeric mixed with a little water and apply to the hemorrhoids.
  • Eat foods with sweet and cold qualities.
  • Avoid eating spicy, hot, sour, and greasy foods.
  • Avoid using too many hot spices such as garlic, hot peppers, and onions.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol and other stimulants (like coffee).
  • Avoid frequent, continuous, and excessive amounts of eating.
  • Avoid eating fewer than three or four hours before going to bed.
  • Avoid rapid movements and aggressive exercise.
  • Avoid the hot sun and letting it shine directly on the head and body.
  • Avoid confrontations leading to anger or frustration.
  • Avoid excessive amounts of work and staying awake in artificial light.
  • Avoid sitting on hard surfaces for long periods of time.

Kapha

  • Mix basmati rice with pippali, lassi, and black pepper with about three or four times as much water (approximately 1.75 ounces in about 4 or 6 fluid ounces of water).
  • Fast one day a week on warm water to give digestion time to rest.
  • Wake at the time of Vata which is before 6am.
  • Eat light foods and soups.
  • Follow eating with a half cup of hot water.
  • Keep meals to once or twice a day, without snacking. This will quickly relieve the body of excess food to digest and bring it back into balance.     
  • Avoid eating dinner as it will create more imbalance in the system as food remains undigested until the early morning.
  • Avoid heavy foods and drinks at night, which will create more stress on the digestive fire.
  • Avoid food until later in the morning, after 10am. This will help digestion become stronger.
  • Avoid sitting around too much, which will make the body stiff.
  • Avoid being out in heavy, rainy weather.
  • Avoid sleeping in excess or lying down.
     

Better Foods For Hemorrhoids

 
Ayurveda teaches us that disease and sickness are derived from poor digestion and inappropriate food choices. We then have the opportunity to make deliberate and more conscious decisions as to what foods we do and do not put in our body which increases the chance of resolving the body’s imbalance.

Food needs to be in season, in moderate combinations of one or two food groups, not too hot or cold, in a modest enough quantity to allow for room in the stomach later, consumed without too much liquid which hinders digestive power, and should be fresh and not left over for more than a few hours. The following foods will help to balance whichever doshas seem to be associated with the specific symptoms of hemorrhoids:

 

 Ghee
Milk
Berries
Figs(Fresh)
Apricots
Peaches
Plums
Carrots
Beets
Zucchini
Sweet potatoes
Asparagus
Whole wheat (unbleached)
Rice (white basmati)
Mung beans

 Ghee
Apples
Pears
Mangoes
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Brussels Sprouts
Asparagus
Barley
Oats (cooked)
Rice (white basmati)
Milk
Coconut oil
Olive oil

 Prunes
Raisins
Cherries
Pomegranates
Figs(Dry)
Radishes
Onions
Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts
Vegetable soup
Barley
Millet
Mustard oil
Ghee

 

Foods To AVOID In Response To Hemorrhoids

While some foods can help to balance an aggravated dosha, other foods can cause further imbalance. Dry and cold foods as well as pungent, bitter and astringent tastes will dry out the body and aggravate the Vata dosha.Sour, salty and pungent tastes as well as spicy foods will add more heat to the body and aggravate the Pitta dosha.Sweet, sour and salty tasting foods will add heaviness to the body and aggravate the Kapha dosha. Avoiding the following foods will help the hemorrhoids sufferer to balance whichever dosha is associated with their particular symptoms:

 

 Apples
Pears
Watermelon
Cauliflower
Broccoli
Tomatoes
Celery
Eggplant
Corn
Oats (dry)
Barley
Most legumes including green lentils and garbanzo beans
Raw and cold foods
Dry foods
Dehydrated, packaged foods

 Grapefruit
Bananas
Cherries
Pineapple
Tomatoes
Garlic
Carrots
Spinach
Rice (brown)
Corn
Nuts
Lentils
Corn oil
Almond oil
Spicy foods
Sour foods (like yogurt, sour cream, and pickles)
Salt
Meat

 Bananas
Melons
Papayas
Avocado
Plums
Sweet potatoes
Zucchini
Cucumbers
Tomatoes
Wheat
Rice
Nuts
Seeds
Sweets and candies
Allergy-causing foods
Dairy products (except goat milk, in moderation)
Unnatural sugar
Cold foods
Meat

Beverages For Hemorrhoids

Generally, Ayurveda discourages the consumption of too many cold beverages, as doing so hinders the strength of the body’s digestive fire. Instead, favor room temperature or hot beverages to encourage the strength of the digestive fire.

  • Hot water, especially during meals and first thing in the morning.
  • Hot water with cane sugar, ghee, barley, gokshura, and lassi can help with hemorrhoids accompanied by constipation.
  • Herbal teas of ginger, black pepper, and pippali for Vata and Kapha-related hemorrhoids.
  • Herbal teas of turmeric, barley, triphala, and vidanga for Pitta-related hemorrhoids.
  • Avoid cold and frozen drinks.
  • Avoid sugary or fizzy drinks that blend with the digestive juice and make it weak.
  • Avoid alcohol, coffee, and black tea.

 

Herbs For Hemorrhoids


Herbs are used in the Ayurvedic system much like Western medicine utilizes drugs and vitamins and can be taken like tea 2 to 3 times a day. Herbs aid in the digestion of food, the breakdown and elimination of toxins, and help to strengthen the cellular structure of our system for greater vitality. Herbs become more potent once mixed with other herbs of similar properties. Mix together 2 to 4 different herbs from the below list by adding a quarter to a half teaspoon full of each, for a total of 1 teaspoon. Drink these in half cup of hot water.

Ginger
Black pepper
Pippali
Garlic
Sesame seeds

 Turmeric
Triphala
Barley
Vidanga
Golden seal
Raspberry
Yellow dock

Ginger
Black pepper
Pippali
Garlic
Golden seal
Raspberry
Yellow dock

 

Yoga Postures For Hemorrhoids

 

When applied therapeutically to specific ailments, yoga postures provide an opportunity to strengthen the body, rid it of toxic matter, and restore balance. The postures included in this section can be practiced as part of a more general sequence or can be focused on in short sessions. When first exploring yoga postures, it is best to only practice them for twenty minutes or so per day and buildup from there once the body becomes more flexible.

  • Cobra
  • Bow
  • Shoulder Stand or legs up the wall
  • Knee to chest
  • Fish
  • Corpse
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Aromatherapy For Hemorrhoids

Aromatherapy utilizes the fragrances of essential oils when applied to the skin.  Essential oils can burn the skin and therefore must be diluted with a base oil such as sesame, coconut, sunflower, canola, or mustard oil.  Mix 1 fluid ounce of base oil with about 12 drops of essential oil before applying to skin. You can also just mix 5 drops of base oil to one drop of essential oil if using on one spot.

Vata-related hemorrhoids can be treated with basil, camphor, cedar, eucalyptus, frankincense, ginger, lavender, lily, lotus, musk, myrrh, patchouli, sandalwood, or cinnamon oil.

  • Use a sesame oil base.
  • Apply oil on the forehead or on the back of the neck.

Pitta-related hemorrhoids can be treated with sandalwood, tea tree, rose, honeysuckle, gardenia, lily, iris, mint, lavender, or lotus oil.

  • Use a coconut or sunflower oil base.
  • Apply oil in the chest center in front of the heart, or on the location of the headache.

Kapha-related hemorrhoids can be treated with cinnamon, eucalyptus, sage, basil, musk, cedar, frankincense, or myrrh oil.

  • Use a canola or mustard oil base.
  • Apply oil on the skin between the navel and pubic bone, or on the location of the headache.

Burning arka root, vidanga, barley, ashwagandha, or pippali mixed with ghee can be used as a therapy for hemorrhoids in general. 

Mantra Therapy For Hemorrhoids

Ayurvedic tradition suggests that repeating certain words or sounds can help a person suffering from an ailment to restore subtle balance to nerve tissue and enhance one’s mental clarity.  Different sounds are prescribed to either repeat mentally or chant outwardly.  These sounds are also used and repeated in the mind for the purpose of spiritual growth.

For Vata-related hemorrhoids, repeat the syllable “Lam” for several minutes a few times a day and build more practice over time.

As a Vata-related disorder, it is helpful to inwardly repeat this syllable for the duration of time it is practiced.

For Pitta-related hemorrhoids, repeat the syllable “Aum” (pronounced ohm) for several minutes a few times a day and build more practice over time.

As a Pitta-related disorder, it is helpful to both outwardly chant and inwardly repeat this syllable for the duration of time it is practiced.

For Kapha-related hemorrhoids, repeat the syllable “Ham” (pronounced hahm) for several minutes a few times a day and build more practice over time.

As a Kapha-related disorder, it is helpful to outwardly chant this syllable for the duration of time it is practiced.

Breathing Practices For Hemorrhoids

 

Controlling the breath is a central practice toward developing peace and stillness in the mind and body. When the breath is under our control, we are no longer at the mercy of the senses that are stimulated by everything and lead to greater fluctuations of the mind. When applied to the context of resolving specific ailments, the breath is used as a tool for developing lung capacity, heating and cooling the body and resolving mental afflictions like anxiety and stress. Like with the yoga postures above, breathing exercises are likely to be of significant benefit to those who suffer from considerable amounts of stress.

General

 
 

Vata

 
 

Pitta

 

Kapha

 
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