Approximately 75 percent of people will have hemorrhoids at some time. They are common among the elderly as connective tissues in the rectum become weak with age. Pregnant women often struggle with hemorrhoids because of increased pressure in the abdomen, which enlarges the rectal veins. Poor dietary habits can be a factor as well, causing a person to strain to relieve himself. Natural remedies can help ease the discomfort of hemorrhoids.
A high-fiber diet is an important step in preventing hemorrhoids. For those who already have hemorrhoids, diet becomes significant to reducing flare-ups. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables help soften stool and ease its passage through the rectum. A diet of at least 25 to 35 g of fiber daily is ideal. Those who have difficulty consuming enough fiber should consider using flaxseed as a fiber supplement. Fluid intake is also important. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily to encourage good digestion and keep stools soft. Avoid high-fat foods and spicy foods, which can exacerbate hemorrhoids in some people.
Herbs for Hemorrhoids
Herbs are a widely used natural remedy for hemorrhoid relief. Herbs that decrease constipation and inflammation associated with hemorrhoids include slippery elm, ginger and marshmallow.
- Slippery elm contains mucilage that acts as a soluble dietary fiber. By promoting stool softness and coating inflamed tissues, the herb allows existing hemorrhoids to heal more quickly.
- Ginger supports hemorrhoid relief by stimulating digestion, reducing constipation and relaxing the muscles. It is a common remedy for gas and intestinal discomfort, often sipped in tea form.
- Marshmallow, similarly to slippery elm, contains a mucilage that acts as a soluble dietary fiber, thereby functioning as a bulk laxative and guarding against constipation. The herb is often used to treat irritable bowel syndrome and a host of gastrointestinal conditions.
- Gentle Move by Nature’s Sunshine is a herbal combination that provides mucilage.
Sitz Bath Treatments
Immersing your tender bottom in a shallow pool of warm water helps relax the sphincter muscles and soothe pain associated with external hemorrhoid protrusions. Do this by filling your bathtub with a few inches of warm water. Soak in the tub for up to 15 minutes, several times daily. Within a week or two, your hemorrhoids should shrink and the pain should lessen. If not, consider consulting a doctor about additional treatments. In some cases, surgical procedures are required.References: National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Hemorrhoids