| What Are Piles?
Piles are also called hemorrhoids. Piles are clusters of swollen veins located around the anal area. They are a form of varicose veins and are particularly common in people who suffer from constipation. They are also common in pregnancy and after childbirth. The classic sign of piles is passing blood with a bowel movement; or bright red blood may only appear on the toilet paper. Sometimes there may be itchiness around the anus and piles may break through the anus and protrude externally. When this happens you can feel the protrusion, it is soft to touch and can be pushed back inside the anus. If it hardens it means a blood clot has formed, this is painful and needs immediate medical attention.
10 Home Treatments For Piles
1. Sitz Bath
Use a sitz bath. Available at most pharmacies, a sitz bath is a small plastic basin which you fill with water and position over the toilet basin. Use it to soak your bottom in warm water for 10 minutes a day. Add a dash of witch hazel to the water. Alternatively you could soak in a bath once a day.
When you have a bowel movement, squat over the toilet seat rather sit. This will take pressure off the lower part of the bowel. When you have finished, squeeze the cheeks of your bottom together several times. This will encourage blood flow to the area and help prevent future piles.
3. Gentle Cleansing
After each bowel movement, clean the area using a peri-bottle. This is a special plastic squirt bottle available in most pharmacies. Additionally wipe the tender or itchy area with cold witch hazel. This will help shrink the swollen blood vessels.
4. Treat Constipation
If you suspect your piles are caused by constipation or straining at the toilet, consider taking a bulk stool softener which makes it easier for feces to pass out of the body. Drink at least 10 to 12 cups of water a day. While most of this liquid will pass out as urine, some will find its way to your intestines and soften the feces.
5. Pine Bark Extract
Also known as pycnogenol, pine bark extract is an antioxidant. Studies by the University of Munster in Germany shows that it significantly reduces pain and bleeding associated with piles. 300 mg should be taken daily while symptoms are acute and then reduced to 150mg for a further 4 days.
6. Gels, Creams And Pads
There is little evidence to support that any of the well advertised gels, creams and suppositories which claim to cure piles actually work. However they may ease symptoms like tenderness and itching. Medicated pads soaked with witch hazel under the brand name Tucks is one popular treatment. Another popular treatment is Preparation H, which contains phenylephrine, a vasoconstrictor which makes the veins smaller. Preparation H comes in an ointment, cream, hemorrhoidal gel and suppository form. Another non-prescription option is the medication Anusol.
7. Kegels Exercise
Practice kegels exercise. These easy to perform exercises help prevent and reduce the effects of hemorrhoids. See, what are kegels? and how do you do kegels?
8. Avoid Spicy Foods
Spicy foods can inflame a pile, so avoid hot curries until symptoms have passed. Instead, eat foods which contain Rutin. Rutin, found in buckwheat, apples and asparagus helps strengthen vein walls preventing hemorrhoids from bleeding. Rutin is also an antioxidant that helps protect your body against inflammation such as arthritis. If you don't fancy eating lots of buckwheat, Rutin is also available as a supplement.
9. Pilewort Suppositories
Insert one pilewort suppository (it looks like a brown bullet) into the rectum every evening before going to bed. This natural suppository is made from beeswax, pilewort, witch hazel leaf and oil/butter. It helps to soften the pile and reduce swelling.
10. Horse Chestnut
Studies show that horse chestnut seed extract is useful in the treatment of all types of varicose vein, including piles (it may be as effective as wearing compression socks for people with varicose veins). Take two standard horse chestnut supplements a day while symptoms last.
Are you pregnant? See piles in pregnancy.
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