How to get rid of haemorrhoids
Yes, I know…talking about piles and getting rid of haemorrhoids is not the most glamourous topic. But it affects a whole lot of people.
In India, they actually have an Arsha or Haemorrhoid/Piles day. The Indian Ayurvedic hospitals are very successful in treating both piles and anal fissures. I am quite sure that the photo below is from when I was apprenticing at an Ayurvedic hospital and about to observe such a procedure.
I use the words piles and haemorrhoids interchangeable. They are basically little lumps inside or around the anus. It’s tissues or veins that have become infected or inflamed.
Symptoms of piles and haemorrhoids
- Bright red blood on the tissue after bowel movement
- Feeling a swollen lump around the anus
- Mucus after wiping on the tissue or in underwear
- Not feeling like you finished or completed a bowel movement
- Itchiness around the anus
- Pain near the anus
If you think or suspect you may have piles or have any other bleeding please always check with a health care provider.
Prevention is always better than a cure. So the best way to avoid piles is to have a good digestion and good bowel movements. And that is what Ayurveda is all about. A healthy digestive system.
- Drink plenty of fluids. That is warm water or herbal teas.
- Eat easily digestible foods such as: warm casseroles, soup, kitcheri, cooked/roasted vegetables
- Have regular bowel movements with the perfect poo: eg soft, well-formed, not much odour, easy to pass. Preferable 1-3 times daily. Never strain. (Hence all the other recommendations)
- Use a squatty potty. Or a small step for your feet to raise your knees when having bowel movements.
- Move. Not just your bowels but your whole body, exercise, get the blood circulation moving (and the digestion). Sitting too long or even riding the bike for a long time can cause irritation.
- Eat plenty of fibre – but remember sipping plenty of water too.
- Never strain when having bowel movements. Relax the pelvic floor and breathe deeply and slowly.
- When engaging the pelvic floor for lifting heavy loads including exercising never bear down. Feel the pelvic floor lifting – and don’t strain! (Plenty of pelvic floor blogs here and in my Sacred Pelvis Course)
- Don’t wipe your bottom too hard – even if it’s itchy. Be gentle. Clean with water – something like these water sprays/travel bidets are excellent.
- Decrease any intake of astringent, “drying” or dehydrating qualities like coffee and alcohol.
The bottom line on piles
In Ayurveda we are obsessed with poo and with bowel movements because it says a lot about your health. You may think you have a healthy diet. But what is the response from your body and mind? How do you really feel?
In ayurveda we love easy to digest foods. But we acknowledge that everybody is different. So we adjust diet and exercise accordingly. Just like we adjust according to the seasons. Notice how you feel after eating, notice your hunger, notice your bowel movements.
If you are constipated* perhaps try triphala for a little while. Most constitutions respond well to this ayurvedic classic. Or enjoy warm herbal teas (or simply warm water) that support digestion such as ginger, cumin, ajwain, fennel, coriander… Please note that excess bowel movements in the form of diarrhoea can also cause irritation and haemorrhoids.
Aloe Vera juice is also wonderful for digestion and it’s cooling and healing. You can even apply it locally.
If it becomes painful you can use a cooling compress.
*Constipated in ayurvedic terms is when you don’t have a “satisfying” bowel movement. You don’t feel complete, or relaxed, you strain or the stools are hard and not well-formed.
Yoga for prevention of piles
Moving is so important. Yoga is excellent because your get the circulation going but you also learn to relax which is essential for our “rest and digest” part of the nervous system. Pelvic floor exercises especially Ashwini Mudra (engaging and relaxing the anal sphincter) helps circulation, strengthening and relaxing the area. But don’t practise if painful. It’s excellent for preventing – especially in pregnancy!
Bearing down such as squatting may be putting too much pressure so leave those out if not comfortable. Again – never strain…
Offer a bit of release and raise your pelvis and hips:
- Supported bridge pose – add cushion under your pelvis
- Puppy Dog – like Childs Pose but with your hips high over the knees
- Legs-up-the-wall pose – adding a cushion under the sacrum for added lift
- Shoulderstand if that is in your practice
- Learn to relax and breathe to soften the belly and the pelvic floor – and the mind!
Know that piles are fairly common in both men and women. Even more common during pregnancy and postpartum due to the stress on the pelvic floor. So keep regular and see your health care practitioner to get checked out or diagnosed.
Please note that is not medical advice. Always check with a health care practitioner and official sites such as the NHS for details.