What are hemorrhoids?
Affecting both men and women, hemorrhoids are the result of inflamed, swollen veins in your rectum and anus, that can form either internally or externally.
According the the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation, over 80% of Canadians will experience hemorrhoids at some point in their lives.
Men and women are equally affected. Women tend to be affected earlier due to pregnancy.
The classic symptom of internal hemorrhoids is rectal bleeding. Most often it is usually noticed as bright red streaks on toilet paper, but blood can also be found on the stool, underwear, or in the toilet bowl. External hemorrhoids are more frequently associated with pain, and if irritated from straining or excessive rubbing or cleaning
What are the causes?
- prolonged sitting
- straining to pass stool
- spicy foods
- coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and alcohol
- lack of fiber in the diet
- not enough water intake
- poor circulation / not enough exercise
What can you do?
- Switch to a more plant based diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes and shy away from processed and packaged foods as much as possible
- Probiotics – daily supplementation through fermented foods or probiotic supplementation improves intestinal health
- Slowly increase fiber intake
- Fiber can help soften stool and reduce the pain associated with hemorrhoids. Increasing fiber intake to 30 grams per day can help prevent constipation and the development of hemorrhoids. The recommendation is 30–35 grams of fiber daily coming from foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetable, squash, beans, lentils, nuts, flaxseed, chia seeds and quinoa.
- see chart below for ideas on how to increase fiber intake through food
- Stay hydrated
- Dehydration can lead to constipation because water or fluids are required for fiber to travel smoothly through the digestive tract.
- exercise regularly
- Witch Hazel has documented antiseptic and astringent properties which means it can be effective for shrinking hemorrhoids, alleviating the symptoms (especially itching and burning), and (to some extent) can help prevent a further deterioration of the condition.
- Work with a Holistic practitioner. It is important that you not be embarrassed to talk about this issue. Hemorrhoids is a much more common problem than we think.
If you suspect hemorrhoids, work with your Holistic Practitioner who can help you with diet changes along with proper supplementation and homeopathic remedies.