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Piles is a condition in which the veins and tissues in the anal canal or around the anus become inflamed. Also known as haemorrhoids, piles may cause reddish-brown masses to grow inside and around the anus. These masses can sometimes bleed, leaving blood on the toilet paper. A person suffering from piles may experience a lot of pain, especially during defecation (passing stool).

The symptoms of piles can include:

  • Pain
  • Burning sensation in the anus
  • Feeling like you have to poo even after you've just defecated
  • Itchiness around the anus

These symptoms usually go away within a few days, and some simple home remedies can help to make them more bearable in the meantime. However, if the symptoms persist, consult a doctor for intervention: in case there's another reason for the anal bleeding.

  1. Turnip leaves for relief from piles
  2. Onions to reduce the symptoms of piles
  3. Aloe vera gel for relief from piles
  4. Oils for piles relief
  5. Sitz bath or warm water bath for relief from piles
  6. Ice packs for piles relief
  7. Root vegetables like radish for relief from piles
  8. Figs for relief from piles
  9. Mango give relief in piles
  10. Witch hazel for relief from piles
  11. Piles home remedy: horse chestnut extract
  12. How to get rid of piles: tips

Turnips are widely available in India in the wintertime. They are typically used in dishes such as curries, salads and pickles. However, most people discard the leaves while preparing the turnips. These leaves are a "phytomedicine" (plant-based medicine) for piles.

Turnip leaves (and also the stem) belong to the same family as kale, cabbage and broccoli. They are rich in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B9 (folate), magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. They also have a high water content. The high fiber and water content helps in achieving smoother bowel movement and relieves some of the symptoms of piles. And the vitamin K - which regulates blood clotting - may help to reduce any bleeding associated with piles.

How to use turnip leaves:

  • You can blanch the leaves by placing them in boiling water for 30 seconds, and then add them to a salad.
  • You can also juice the leaves and consume 50-150 ml of this juice daily - however, taking the juice means taking out the fiber component.

Onions may help in symptomatic relief from piles, especially bleeding piles. Said to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help in relieving swelling and burning sensation in inflamed haemorrhoids, red onions have also been found to contain active compounds known as saponins which help in relieving muscle spasms.

Consuming onions and sugar in a 1:2 ratio helps provide relief from bleeding piles. Other than bleeding piles, onions also help improve the symptoms of dry piles. Just cut the onion into fine slices and gently rub it locally: you might feel a slight burning sensation on its application, don't worry about that, it's an inherent property of raw onion. However, if burning intensifies, stop its application.

When it comes to getting relief from the pain and burning sensation of piles, the soothing and cooling properties of aloe vera cannot be forgotten. It is like a wholesome package, which helps relieve almost all the symptoms of piles.

Aloe vera contains several bioactive compounds like vitamins, minerals, hormones, enzymes and fatty acids, which have antiseptic, analgesic (pain reliever), antioxidative, anti-inflammatory (reduce swelling) and healing effects. Not only will the aloe vera relieve your pain and burning sensation but also the pulp of this magical plant may promote the healing of your inflamed tissues, providing respite from the swelling.

In order to get the enormous benefits of aloe vera, take an aloe vera leaf, remove the pulp and apply the pulp directly on the affected areas.

If you don't have aloe vera growing in and around your house, you can also go for commercially available aloe vera gel - just make sure it is pure and free from additives.

Various oils are traditionally used to alleviate the obvious symptoms of piles. According to the journal, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, oils like sesame oil, olive oil and coconut oil are effective in the treatment of haemorrhoids. These oils are locally applied to the anal area to get relief from symptoms.

According to another study, topical application of olive oil, honey and beeswax on inflamed haemorrhoids can reduce the bleeding, pain and itching associated with piles. If the preparation and application of this mixture seem like a tedious task to you, you can simply opt for olive oil. Olive oil is commonly used nowadays to serve cosmetic and culinary purposes and is easily available in the market. Take a few drops of olive oil, rub it on your palm to heat it up slightly. Apply it to the anal area a few times a day until the symptoms subside.

Research done at the Harvard Medical School suggests that consumption of mineral oil with yoghurt as part of breakfast or lunch helps in the easy passage of stool through the lower part of the bowel. However, you should not take this home remedy for a prolonged period of time to avoid oil leakage.

A warm water bath is one of the most popular remedies for piles. It is especially effective for people who suffer from constipation along with piles. Studies suggest that a warm water bath relieves pain by relaxing the anal sphincter, a muscle inside your rectum. And the best part is that it does not require much effort. All you need to do is sit in a tub filled with warm water (not hot).

Alternatively, you can use warm water in a “sitz bath”. This is a therapeutic procedure that is often used to relieve piles symptoms and involves sitting in a shallow water tub for 10 minutes, twice a day, without any additives in the water.

When done regularly, it can provide relief from pain, itching and burning along with relief from symptoms associated with thrombosed haemorrhoids.

Some people prefer adding anti-inflammatory additives like tea tree oil, chamomile, witch hazel or arnica in their warm baths. Although, there is not much research on the effectiveness of these additives in getting rid of apparent symptoms.

If you are not fond of warm water baths you can always opt for cold compression. Just like warm baths, they are effective in reducing swelling in the haemorrhoid tissues. Ice packs slow down the inflammatory process in the affected area. They alleviate the burning sensation and contract local blood vessels in order to provide instant relief. The effects of an ice pack persist for 30 minutes even after cessation of application.

Application of ice packs also helps in reducing the size of the bulging growth temporarily and stops the leakage of blood from enlarged blood vessels (anal bleeding).

(Read more: Blood in stool symptoms, causes, treatment)

All you need to do in an attempt to bring all the above-mentioned effects is to wrap a few ice cubes in a soft, clean piece of cloth or wipes and apply it on the anal area. You can repeat this a few times a day to get symptomatic relief.

Root vegetables like radish and yams (called jimikand in Hindi) are nutrient-dense, in addition to being rich in fiber. They help to make the stool softer and improves the bowel movement.

Additionally, some root vegetables like potatoes and sweet potato (shakarkandi) contain resistant starch which is not absorbed in the small intestines. Instead, it ferments and improves gut flora, reducing the symptoms of digestive problems. This, in turn, makes it easier to pass stools.

If you have ever taken a few soaked figs with warm milk or water for relief from constipation in the past, then it might please you to know that this remedy is backed by science.

A study published in the International Journal of Drug Development and Research found that taking three to four soaked figs in water first thing in the morning daily also provides relief from piles symptoms. (You can also eat figs in the evening, if you like.) This may be due to the presence of dietary fiber in fig fruit. This fibre helps relieve constipation, which is one of the major reasons for the aggravation of piles symptoms.

Further, a study found that fig leaves can provide respite from piles due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Dried fig leaves can be brewed in hot water and consumed like green tea, without sugar or milk.

Mango contains lots of fibre - this is well-known. So consumption of mangoes may be effective in improving bowel movements and facilitating the easy passage of stools through the inflamed parts of your intestine.

But did you know mango seeds can also help provide respite from piles? Yes, the one you usually throw it away in the dustbin. Mango seeds contain various biological compounds that help heal bleeding piles. So, grab all the mango seeds you can during the season. Dry them and crush them to a powder and store in an airtight container as a medicine. Take 2 teaspoons of mango seed powder twice a day with or without honey to get the much-needed relief.

Witch hazel is a herb that is widely used as a home remedy to treat haemorrhoids. Though this plant is native to North America and rarely found in the Indian subcontinent, it is available in the form of liquids and dried leaves. Witch hazel is also an important ingredient in many topical applications used for piles treatment.

Witch hazel contains 10% tannins, which makes it an effective astringent - that is, it helps constrict tissues. According to an article published in the Journal of Inflammation, witch hazel exhibits potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. You just need to apply the extract of its bark on the concerned area and let it do its work.

However, there are no studies that ascertain the safety of direct application of witch hazel for piles. Talk to your doctor before using this remedy. In case you experience discomfort, immediately terminate use.

Medical researchers say that the extract of horse chestnut seeds helps to reduce inflammation and improve the health of our blood vessels. This is because of an organic compound called aescin in horse chestnuts which is said to be a "venotonic" - tonic for the veins. Aescin is also thought to reduce swelling as a result of oedema and have anti-inflammatory properties. For these reasons, horse chestnut extract is used in multiple alternative medicines and treatments for all kinds of haemorrhoids, including chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins.

Home remedies will provide you symptomatic relief as well as help in improving inflammation associated with haemorrhoids or piles. But, a change in diet and lifestyle will be extremely helpful in easing the extent of your discomfort by eliminating some of the root causes of this condition. Here is a list of the things you should definitely consider doing to get rid of piles:

  • Eat fibre rich foods: Dietary fibre can help to prevent and alleviate piles symptoms. Eating a lot of fibre has dual benefits for your gut health. It helps provide bulk to stools and facilitates their easy passage through the alimentary canal and it also improves gut microflora, improving the process of digestion, thus making the whole process more efficient. So, try to increase the consumption of fibre-rich foods. You can also take psyllium husk (Isabgol) or nuts and seeds like flaxseed to get your daily dose of fibre.
    According to the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, daily dietary fibre intake should be 20 to 35 grams, which should include fruits and vegetables as a major source. Some other fibre rich foods include cereals, oats, quinoa, nuts, seeds and pulses.
  • Drink plenty of water: Not drinking enough water can cause many health conditions - from bad breath (halitosis) to fatigue and constipation. Sure, you might have to go to the washroom more often, but drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day has many benefits that outweigh the effort of going to the loo. Just like fibre, water helps in regulating bowel movement and helps the undigested food to flush out of the large intestine easily. In fact, excessive intake of fibre will only worsen your stomach health if you don’t combine it with enough water. Water also promotes detoxification of the body by improving the function of your liver and kidneys, thus promoting overall health. (Read more: Benefits of drinking water in the morning)
  • Clean anal area: After the passage of stool, clean your anal area with moist toilet paper or moistened pads like facial or baby wipes. This will prevent bacterial accumulation and infections and help to soothe the burning sensation and pain.
  • Don't delay nature's call: Whenever you feel an urge to go to the toilet, don't delay it by engaging in other activities. Your body needs to discard the waste and it is signalling the same to you. Ignoring the bowel process might worsen constipation, thereby inviting active symptoms of piles.
  • Avoid alcohol and spicy foods: Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on your system, which eventually hampers bowel movement. Eating spicy food may aggravate the symptoms of piles leading to increased bleeding, burning sensation and pain. A study done on 1,033 patients, revealed that alcohol, spicy foods and constipation are major risk factors for haemorrhoids.
  • Elevate your feet: Another tip you can try while passing stools is to elevate your feet to a height. If you have a Western-style toilet at home, try placing a footstool in front of the pot and place your feet on this. Following this, your rectum will be positioned in a way which will allow easy passage of stool.

References

  1. National Institutes of Health; [Internet]. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Hemorrhoids.
  2. National Health Portal [Internet] India; Bawaaseer-e- Daamiya (Bleeding Piles).
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  5. InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Enlarged hemorrhoids: How can you relieve the symptoms yourself? 2014 Jan 29 [Updated 2017 Nov 2].
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  9. Al-Waili NS et al. The safety and efficacy of a mixture of honey, olive oil, and beeswax for the management of hemorrhoids and anal fissure: a pilot study. ScientificWorldJournal. 2006 Feb 2;6:1998-2005. PMID: 17369999
  10. Health Harvard Publishing. Harvard Medical School [Internet]. 6 self-help tips for hemorrhoid flare-ups. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  11. Rajani Chauhan,Km. Ruby,Jaya Dwivedi. Golden Herbs used in Piles Treatment: A Concise Report. Int. J. Drug Dev. & Res., October-December 2012, 4(4): 50-68
  12. Tamsyn SA Thring,Pauline Hili,Declan P Naughton. Antioxidant and potential anti-inflammatory activity of extracts and formulations of white tea, rose, and witch hazel on primary human dermal fibroblast cells. J Inflamm (Lond). 2011; 8: 27. PMID: 21995704
  13. Health Harvard Publishing. Harvard Medical School [Internet]. Help for hemorrhoids. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  14. Kellen V. Lambeau,Johnson W. McRorie Jr. Fiber supplements and clinically proven health benefits: How to recognize and recommend an effective fiber therapy. J Am Assoc Nurse Pract. 2017 Apr; 29(4): 216–223. PMID: 28252255
  15. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons [internet]; Hemorrhoids: Expanded Version.
  16. Am Fam Physician. [Internet] American Academy of Family Physicians; Hemorrhoids.
  17. Pigot F,Siproudhis L,Allaert FA. Risk factors associated with hemorrhoidal symptoms in specialized consultation.. Gastroenterol Clin Biol. 2005 Dec;29(12):1270-4. PMID: 16518286
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