Piles: No easy way out

Piles? There is no need to sit tight or suffer silently.There are many things you can do right at home to get relief

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Piles [haemorrhoids] are swelling and inflammation of veins in the rectum and anus. They arise from congestion of the internal and/or external venous plexuses [a congregation of multiple veins] around the anal canal. Fissure is traumatic ischaemic damage to the anal mucosa resulting in a superficial mucosal tear, most commonly in the midline posterior.

Symptoms of piles

  • Pain and bleeding while passing stools and feeling of irritation after passing stools.
  • The patient cannot sit comfortably due to itching, discomfort, and pain in the rectal region.

Symptoms of grading

Piles vary in intensity.

First-degree piles bleed; second-degree piles prolapse but retract spontaneously. Third-degree piles are those, which require manual replacement after prolapsing.

  • Bright red rectal bleeding occurs after defecation.
  • Other symptoms include pain, pruritus ani [itching around the anus] and mucus discharge.

Symptoms of a fissure

Most common cause for a fissure is a tear in the anal mucosa caused by the passage of hard stools. Severe pain occurs on defecation and there may be minor bleeding, mucus discharge and pruritus.

Preventive measures

The most important contributory factor for the development of piles and fissures is constipation. Avoiding constipation not only prevents the development of piles and fissures, but also halts further progression of the disease.

Here's how you can avoid constipation:

  • Drink sufficient water.
  • Have plenty of fruits especially figs and bananas with milk daily in the morning.
  • Soak a handful of dried figs in warm water overnight. Next morning, take the figs along with the water on an empty stomach.
  • Include lots of fibre in your foods as it helps in loosening and softening the stools. Oat bran and other whole grains bran are also very effective in curing constipation.
  • Take caster oil with milk [one tsp castor oil to one glass of warm milk] at bedtime.
  • One tsp of isabgol husk with warm milk will help in softening the stool and cause easy and painless passage thereof.
  • Take one tsp of triphala with a glass of warm water at bedtime.

To prevent piles, it is also important that you empty your bowels as soon the urge occurs; keep the anal area dry and avoid irritating the rectum. To prevent anal fissures in infants, change their diapers frequently.

Simple remedies

Given below are some easy solutions to treat piles. Most of the essentials are readily available to us at home.

  • If bleeding and pain persists, use Krishna til [black sesame]. Take one tsp of black sesame seed paste, add it to one tsp of jaggery and ginger and consume it at bedtime regularly.
  • Lack of exercise, junk food and sedentary lifestyle favour development of constipation, piles and eventually fissure. Eat healthy, exercise regularly and avoid spicy foods. Follow a regular diet pattern.
  • To cure bleeding piles, boil one tsp of pomegranate bark in a glass of water till it is reduced to half. Drink this decoction once a day.
  • Include a salad of radishes, turnips and other fibrous root vegetables in your diet.
  • Avoid long rides, hard seats and sitting for long hours.
  • Apply a thick coating of petroleum jelly/oil inside the anus [at least half an inch upwards the rectum]. This must be done before each bowel movement. This practice causes soft bowel movement, is soothing to the anal canal, and avoids unnecessary straining and bleeding.
  • Apply neem seed oil locally as it has a laxative as well as emollient effect.
  • Apply paste of sesame seeds, neem leaves and castor leaves to relieve pain in both piles and fissures.
  • To improve local circulation, a sitz bath/tub bath would be suitable. Boil water with Panchavalkala Kvatha Churna or Triphala Churna [both are readily available in ayurvedic medical stores]. Use this medicated decoction for tub bath. It is an effective pain reliever and healer. Sitz bath/tub bath with decoction of liquorice and milk is very effective in controlling bleeding and acts as anti-inflammatory.
  • Look for risk factors which contribute to the development of piles and fissures. Pregnancy, chronic cough and other conditions, which lead to undue pressure on the abdomen and pelvic blood vessels hampering venous outflow will definitely cause haemorrhoids.
  • Take triphala powder added to buttermilk [one tsp to one glass of buttermilk] with a few drops of ginger juice is highly effective in relieving pain, discomfort and even constipation associated with piles and fissures.
  • Add a tsp of butter with equal quantity of sesame seed powder and have it regularly at bedtime if you have bleeding piles / fissures.? Include tubers like amorphophallus [commonly called elephant foot or suran] in your diet, and dishes prepared from barley, horse gram [kulthi], snake gourd [chichinda], garlic, onion, pepper, Indian gooseberry [amla], ghee, cumin seeds, winter radish, and pumpkin.

This was first published in the January 2010 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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