Piles or haemorrhoids are referred to as arsh in ayurveda. Piles cause severe discomfort in, around or even outside the anal passage. These are tissues and veins that get swollen inside the anal canal, owing to a variety of reasons such as chronic constipation, chronic diarrhoea, pregnancy, stress, lack of fibre intake, less water consumption etc. Straining to pass hard stools is also a possible cause for piles.
Are my symptoms due to piles/haemorrhoids?
Piles can cause the following symptoms:
- Severe pain while passing stool
- Lump or a protrusion near the anus
- Rectal bleeding during or after passing stool. Blood is usually not mixed with stool.
- Redness and soreness around the anus, along with an urge to itch ever too frequently.
- Pain and discomfort in the anal region while sitting for long durations
If ignored for long, piles can lead to anal infection, faecal incontinence, development of fistulas and even anaemia, owing to the excessive bleeding. It might seem a little embarrassing for you to discuss this condition with your doctor, but piles are a very common condition, and hence there is no need for you to suffer in silence. The sooner you seek treatment for this condition, the higher are your chances of full recovery without surgery. If they are at the early stages, they usually go away in a few days after diet correction and treating the cause. Here are a few simple home tips and ayurveda remedies to treat piles.
The ayurvedic approach to treating piles
Generally piles may be either internal or external and this can be confirmed by your physician after a physical examination and also using an instrument called the proctoscope. Ayurveda indicates that there are five types of piles or the arsh roga.
- Born out of vitiation of vata dosha [air body humor]
- Born out of vitiation of pitta dosha [fire body humor]
- Born out of vitiation of kapha dosha [phlegm body humor]
- Born out of vitiation of any two doshas
- Born out of vitiation of all the three doshas—vata, pitta and kapha.
Home remedies and ayurveda advice for managing piles
According to ayurveda, the use of certain herbs, along with a combination of diet and lifestyle modifications can provide relief from the problem.
- Soak 1 tsp each of fennel and cumin seeds in 1 litre lukewarm water for 2 hours, strain and consume this water 2 – 3 times a day.
- Aim to drink one glass water per hour and at least 8 glasses per day. This would reverse any dehydration or constipation you could be suffering from, thus making your bowel movement smooth and comfortable.
- Make a detox drink by adding 1 tsp chopped ginger, handful of mint leaves, lemon wedges and 1 tbsp honey to 500ml water. Sip on this during the day to help flush out toxins.
- Eat green leafy vegetables, ghee and buttermilk daily.
- Consume foods that are high on fibre such as apples, papaya, oranges, sweet lime and cucumber to relieve the problem of constipation and hard stool.
- Dried, soaked figs are also known to be effective stool softeners.
- Including some raw garlic in daily diet helps prevent the bleeding associated with piles.
- Carrots are also known to reduce rectal bleeding. You can have fresh carrot juice or well-cooked carrot.
- You need to include some mild laxative in your diet like Triphala [Herbs combination of harad, baheda and amla], Gulkand [sweet jelly made from the rose flowers] and fennel or saunf.
- Fresh juice of amla taken on an empty stomach proves useful.
- If blood oozes out of the swollen piles, have ½ tsp sesame seeds mixed with some butter.
- Warm fomentation of the affected area with a warm poultice using the Haridra [Turmeric] helps.
- Sesame seeds paste may be applied on the piles for relief.
Most people with this condition swear by Sitz bath to give them relief. In this you sit in a tub of warm water for about 15 – 20 minutes. Soaking the anal region in warm water helps to relax the area and this should especially be done after passing stool. Do this at least twice a day.
Simple home hacks
- Massaging your abdomen area using tea tree oil or rosemary oil may help relieve the pain.
- Avoid using soap containing harsh chemicals around the anal region. After stools, gently wash it with clean hands using lukewarm water.
- Make sure to avoid using alcohol based wet wipes around the anal region. It only worsens the problem. You may try using a soft, moist cloth if you wish to.
- Taking oral pain killers or applying a local anesthetic cream can help relieve the pain to some extent, but only temporarily.
- In case, prolapsed piles becomes a permanent feature, surgery may be needed.
What to avoid
For someone who is suffering from the distressing condition of piles, soft and bland foods are usually recommended. Avoid chillies, hot and spicy foods, processed foods and caffeinated drinks. Also avoid foods that are high on starch, such as potatoes, and bakery items.