Did you know that in a sense, every single person on earth has hemorrhoids? Before you run to the doctor’s, hemorrhoids or piles are functional vascular structures found in the anal canal. In their normal state, they act as cushions that aid with stool control. But once they become inflamed or swollen, then hemorrhoids is used to describe this condition.
Hemorrhoids are a common problem experienced by over 10 Million Americans with only 1 in 3 seeking medical help yearly. The problems associated with hemorrhoids are still considered a taboo topic, forcing many individuals to delay their treatment and suffer needlessly for way too long.
Numerous natural treatments for hemorrhoids exist: some take care of the symptoms while others tackle the cause itself. The use of essential oils is highly recommended for the reason that they offer long-term relief without any side effects. With that said, here is all you should know about using essential oils for the treatment of hemorrhoids.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Also known as piles, hemorrhoids are pillow-like clusters of veins found beneath the lowest part of the rectum’s mucous membrane. The medical condition itself develops when these veins become swollen and distended.
Hemorrhoids can be internal or external and are characterized by pain, difficulty sitting, and severe itching. The condition is so common that almost half the entire population will have experienced symptoms of hemorrhoids by age 50. Fortunately, hemorrhoids are totally treatable and preventable.
Symptoms Of Hemorrhoids
Internal and external hemorrhoids tend to present themselves differently. However, 40 percent of people with the condition barely have any significant symptoms.
Internal piles are usually painless with bright red bleeding while external hemorrhoids tend to be very itchy and painful. But in most cases, many people usually have a combination of the two types. Here’s a list of all the symptoms associated with piles.
- Irritation and pain around the anus
- Extreme itching in the rectal region
- Painful lumps near and around the anus
- Difficulty sitting and passing stool
- Blood on tissue after bowel movements
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
By and large, the exact cause of hemorrhoids still remains unknown. However, there are several factors believed to contribute significantly to the condition.
The first is chronic constipation or diarrhea which could cause straining too hard or sitting on the toilet for long. Similarly, obesity and pregnancy both cause pressure on the anus which could lead to piles. Anal intercourse has also been known to irritate hemorrhoids.
Facts About Hemorrhoids
The two images below show 15 facts about hemorrhoids.
When To See A Doctor
Most people feel embarrassed when they notice a hemorrhoid developing. As a result a lot of people with piles will often seek medical help only when the condition has well progressed. When it comes to your health and wellbeing, don’t let something as small as awkward feelings get in the way of your treatment.
Once you realize you have hemorrhoids, it’s better to seek medical advice earlier on, especially if there is pain involved. Delaying could lead to severe itching, frequent anal bleeding, inability to sit, and dire complications like colorectal and anal cancer.
How Do Essential Oils Help With Hemorrhoids
Extracted from the flowers, fruits, bark, roots, leaves and seeds of plants, essential oils are highly concentrated oils rich in numerous medicinal properties. Just one drop of essential oil can have superlative benefits to your health and wellbeing.
It’s exactly because of these dozens of medicinal properties that essential oils are increasingly being explored and researched by the scientific community as all natural treatment regimens for a wide range of diseases.
When it comes to piles or hemorrhoids, there are literally hundreds of essential oils that could each contribute substantially towards treatment, recovery and prevention. So, what makes essential oils so beneficial for treating hemorrhoids naturally?
1. They reduce inflammation and swelling
Of all the medicinal components found in essential oils, being able to bring down swelling and inflammation has to be the most common. That’s why most essential oils are known for their potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Piles are caused when the veins around the anus get irritated and swollen. Used correctly, essential oils can both prevent and bring down any active swelling and irritation. Once the inflamed veins and capillaries have been restored to normal, then healing can occur at an improved rate.
2. They alleviate pain and discomfort
One of the key symptoms associated with hemorrhoids (and the most socially awkward) is extreme itching. As if that wasn’t enough, some piles come with a severe burning, stinging sensation that can leave you in the most uncomfortable, embarrassed situation of your life.
And be warned; hemorrhoids can get very delicate which means the more you scratch, the more sensitive, itchy and inflamed they get. Some essential oils are packed with analgesic compounds that not only relieve the pain and itching, but also reduce the hypersensitivity of the receptors around the anus to save people from unnecessary discomfort.
3. They reduce chances of infection
Let’s face it; the anus is not exactly the cleanest part of your body. It handles the bulk of waste products leaving your body. So if there’s even a single cut or injury around the area, then the chances of infection multiply tenfold.
In their advanced stages, hemorrhoids can rupture and start bleeding from an open wound. With your bowel movements still using the same highway, these hemorrhoids are prone to getting infected. Some essential oils contain antibacterial, antiseptic, antimicrobial and antiviral properties that all work to maintain a clean environment and prevent any instances of infection.
4. They promote faster healing
If we’re talking about the healing properties of essential oils, that’s literally the main job of these ethereal oils. Most essential oils actually have antioxidant properties that directly promote the growth and repair of damaged cells and tissues.
These anti-oxidant functions work wonders for piles, especially when you combine it with an oil which has stimulatory effects. This means that the resulting blend will promote blood circulation to the area leading to an even speedier recovery.
Further, bleeding from hemorrhoids can be responsible for causing anaemia. Essential oils can heal the torn skin and reduce the swelling, which consequently reduces the blood loss.
Recommended Natural Product For Hemorrhoids Treatment
If you prefer an all-natural alternative vs a painful surgery, no matter whether you have prolapsed or thrombosed or hemorrhoids with minor bleeding, do not look any further. You are guaranteed fast and permanent hemorrhoid relief without any pain with Amoils H-Hemorrhoids.
The 12 Best Essential Oils For Hemorrhoids
Essential oils are far more effective and offer longer lasting results against hemorrhoids than any OTC preparation out there. So, today we are going to talk about 12 such heavy-weights. These essential oils can pretty much do it all, from keeping the anal area clean and disinfected to shrinking the size of those hemorrhoids and helping with the pain. let's get started...
1. Tea tree
Did I hear you say, “Oh, tea tree oil again”. Well, what did I tell you folks, this is one green, mean germ and ailment killing machine that can help you to get a grip on most external issues of the body.
As far as hemorrhoids go, this is one of the few natural ingredient that is clinically proven to be effective against the condition.
So, why does this oil work as well as it does? For starters, you are looking at an extremely powerful astringent that tones and tightens the walls of the blood vessels as well as the skin and muscle layers. The net result is a distinct improvement in the structural integrity of the distended veins and a remarkable reduction in the swelling.
Now, add to this the anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory effects of the oil, and you get a substance that stops both the cause and the effect in their tracks.
But, that’s not all! Tea tree oil goes one step further and prevents the possibility of an infection in an area that is vulnerable to micro tears and is a hub of germs. How’s that for a complete hemorrhoid solution?
The inclusion of this fresh-smelling oil has nothing to do with the stinky business in that area. That’s just the ancillary benefit. Hemorrhoids respond particularly well to the soothing and the anti-inflammatory effects of lavender oil, so much so that many experts tend to use this oil in suppositories meant to treat both internal and external hemorrhoids.
Because the venous swelling is a result of irritation caused by the exertion of pressure during bowel movement, the calming nature of the oil helps to alleviate both the pain and the itching caused by the condition. Furthermore, lavender brings its own anti-microbial properties to the equation, which help to prevent the onset and spread of infections.
Moreover, the floral extract is gentle enough to be used in a multitude of ways, including in a sitz bath. In fact, I like to think of this oil as the hard-hitting solution that works right from the get-go. So, this is the oil to use the minute you start experiencing pain, itching or any other kind of discomfort in the anal area.
Like its predecessors in this list, cypress oil offers notable anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial benefits. But, what sets this extract apart from the others is its ability to have a direct bearing on the health of the blood vessels in the area. This extract offers a unique combination of astringent ad hemostatic properties.
Simply put, cypress essential oil not only helps to tone, tighten and contract the blood vessels, it also regulates the excess flow of blood to the area. This helps to greatly reduce the swelling of the blood vessels.
Because the extract boasts of tissue healing properties, it also aids in the faster closing of bleeding tears. Moreover, its ability to increase the speed of blood coagulation comes in handy when you are dealing with painful, swollen and bleeding hemorrhoids.
This one is an old world remedy that has stood the test of time and still works just as well as it did hundreds and thousands of years ago in Persia and India. In fact, many Ayurveda practitioners suggest that there is no ailment of the digestive tract that this oil can’t treat, including the fact that it is one of the best essential oils for management of diabetes.
The extract is a rich source of both limonene and phellandrene, which provide anti-inflammatory benefits and pain relief. Moreover, the oil promotes the faster removal of toxins, salts and fluids from the treated area when used topically.
This helps to constrict the swollen blood vessels and almost immediately stems the bleeding. If that is not enough, Dill EO also helps to speed up the wound healing process and keeps critters away from bleeding haemorrhoids.
Few natural or manmade substances provide better results than Frankincense essential oil when you are battling chronic haemorrhoids. The soothing and calming nature of this oil not only treats veins that are already inflamed and swollen but also prevents the other blood vessels from going rogue.
A powerful anti-inflammatory agent, Frankincense also has antibacterial and antifungal properties that kill the germs before they start thriving in and around bleeding hemorrhoids. Another plus is its ability to attenuate gastric issues such as indigestion, flatulence and others.
6. German Chamomile
Chamomile is one of the most extensively used essential oil in the world of cosmetics and aromatherapy.
German Chamomile does not provide the actual cooling or warming sensation brought on by some other oils because its power to soothe and calm go well beyond the sensory receptors.
The chamazulene in this blue oil influences the release of inflammatory proteins. In other words, it stops the inflammation before it turns into a problem. With inflammation out of the picture, pain does not get a foothold. But, why only pain, German Chamomile oil is just as effective against the bleeding and itching caused by haemorrhoids.
Like lavender, this oil too can be used in a number of ways, including in sitz baths and suppositories. German Chamomile is one of the most effective treatments for pregnancy linked haemorrhoids. It
If you haven’t already guessed it, let me give you a fair warning here - this oil isn’t for the faint hearted because it burns like “hell on nuclear power”. So, why exactly am I asking you to put your posterior through the torture?
Because this is one of the most effective anti-bacterial essential oils, albeit one that delivers a fatal blow to the germs without being hard on the body. Particularly itchy haemorrhoids often end up causing small wounds and given their location in Poop Central, of course the risk of an infection is very high.
So, when the itching is exacerbating the condition, this is the oil to turn to. Yes, the pain can be intense for the first few minutes but when it is ready to recede, it takes the itching with it. Moreover, you also get the intense anti-inflammatory effects of the oil.
The only thing that works better on an itch than scratching it with wanton abandon, which you can’t do with haemorrhoids, is the icy-coolness of peppermint oil. This oil is for when you want quick relief from the distracting burning and itching that comes into play right after a bowel movement.
Not to mention that the astringent nature of peppermint essential oil also helps to slow down and even stop the bleeding. That said, the menthol in peppermint, which is responsible for the cooling sensation, is also fantastic anti-inflammatory agent.
So, while it soothes the hurt, this oil also works on the core issue, which is irritation and the inflammation caused by it. Finally, let us not forget that the extract also offers some degree of protection from germs. So, when you need relief on the double, you know which oil to turn to!
This is another classic when it comes to natural treatment of haemorrhoids.
Used in Persia and backed by several clinical tests, this extract works even when the offerings of modern medicine fail to stop the agony of haemorrhoids.
The oil works on multiple fronts to control both the cause and the symptoms of the ailment. To begin with, the extract brings about a remarkable reduction in both the swelling and the pain. In fact, its analgesic properties offer reprieve not only from the chronic pain of haemorrhoids but also from the acute/sharp pain felt after defecation.
Myrtle oil exhibits exceptional potency in controlling venous swelling, inflammation and irritation due to its high tannin content. As a result, topical application of the extract offers notable relief from anal itching, irritation and heaviness.
Originating from the Greek word SunGold, Helichrysum is quickly gaining traction as a highly versatile oil for all ailments. As we speak, it’s already been turned into a tried and proven home remedy for allergies, coughs, bruises, constipation, and indigestion. That’s why it’s a no brainer when it comes to treating hemorrhoids.
This essential oil has been noted to have potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties that are exactly what we need for swollen piles.
Research shows that Helichrysum has an innate ability to inhibit pro-inflammatory enzymes reducing inflammation while preventing radical scavenging activities at the same time. What’s more, the oil seems to display corticoid-like properties which could be exploited to prevent further cases of hemorrhoids.
Derived from a very special tree in India known as Chandana, sandalwood essential oil packs a double whammy when it comes to dealing with hemorrhoids head on. On one hand, Sandalwood is a well-known anti-inflammatory agent that has been used by ancient Indians to cure a myriad of skin allergies, including psoriasis.
On the other, Sandalwood oil has been shown to have powerful analgesic and antipyretic properties. This allows it to ease the pain, itchiness, stinging and burning sensations that come with some types of hemorrhoids. On top of all that, sandalwoods actually has a cooling effect that comes into play when you’re in a social environment and don’t want to be scratching back there all day.
Extracted from the dried up flowers and buds of the Eugenia caryophyllata plant, Clove essential oil just might be the only essential oil you need to cure hemorrhoids. This miracle working ooze is so incredibly packed with anti-bacterial properties it could heal piles all on its own. There’s a reason why almost all wound healing recipes involve a decent amount of clove oil.
Let’s start with the active components found in Clove oil. They include eugenol, thymol, carvacol, and cinnamaldehyde. All these active constituents give Clove essential oil its characteristic antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. Used for hemorrhoids, the oil will help bring down irritation, pain and discomfort associated with piles and also keep all sepsis causing secondary infections away.
In addition to these, the essential oils of geranium and juniper berry can also be used to treat haemorrhoids. As far as the carrier oils are concerned, sesame seed, coconut and sweet almond are by far the best choices.
You may also want to consider calendula macerated oil which brings its own medley of therapeutic benefits to the blend, including its superlative ability to control inflammation and the resulting tissue damage.
6 Essential Oil Recipes For Hemorrhoids
Recipe 1: Simple Cotton Ball Blend for Hemorrhoids
What you need
- 15 drops Helichrysum
- 10 drops Clove
- 5 drops Geranium
- 5 oz. Evening primrose oil
- 5 oz. Fractionated coconut oil
- Cotton balls
- Glass jar
This here’s a blend that anyone with painful, itchy, or burning piles will truly appreciate. It’s a way to take care of an uncomfortable situation without having to get messy. This is what you’ll need to do.
Combine all the essential oils in a glass jar and top it off with the 3 ounces of carrier oil. Shake the blend well and let it rest for a bit. Dip a cotton pad in there and apply the oil to the hemorrhoids or anus twice a day. Similarly, you could also pop a fresh cotton pad and let it work its magic for a couple hours through the day.
Recipe 2: Sitz Bath For Hemorrhoids
What you need
- 3 drops Sandalwood
- 2 drops Tea Tree
- 2 drops Myrtle
- 2 drops Helichrysum
- Hot water
- Palm-full of Epsom salts
- Small plastic tub
When it comes to treating hemorrhoids, sitz baths provide unbelievable relief as well as facilitate faster healing and recovery.
Start by filling the sitz tub with hot water and cooling to a safer temperature. Separately, mix the Epsom salts with your essential oils and make sure they’re absorbed so they don’t float away. Stir in the mixture into the water thoroughly and sit in the bath for at least 15 minutes. Repeat up to twice daily for optimum benefits.
Recipe 3: Anti-hemorrhoids Sanitary Wipes
- 9 drops Cypress
- 7 drops German Chamomile
- Half cup distilled water
- Quarter cup Witch Hazel
- Lavender hydrosol
- Roll of paper towels
- Box for wipes
The road to treating hemorrhoids for good starts with proper bum care. Wet wipes are not only gentler on the anus, but our special oil infused wipes also help cleanse the anal region and ward off infections.
Start by mixing the oils in a bowl of witch hazel. Add in the rest of the ingredients and combine evenly. You can carry this blend around and wet a paper towel to use when and as desired.
Recipe 4: DIY Cooling Hemorrhoids Gel
- 3 drops Juniper Berry
- 2 drops Helichrysum
- 4 drops Dill
- 3 drops Peppermint
- 30 ml Aloe Vera Gel
- 1 Teaspoon Witch Hazel
This recipe is a tad complicated, but well worth the effort. Start by taking the sitz bath described above to ensure the area is clean beforehand.
Following that, mix the aloe vera gel with witch hazel and then add in the essential oils. Mix properly then transfer to a sealable glass jar. Shake well before each use and remember to take a sitz bath before applying the gel. Gently massage the anal region while applying the gel.
Recipe 5: Warm Washcloth Blend For Bleeding Hemorrhoids
What you need
- 5 drops Clove
- 3 drops Lavender
- 2 drops Frankincense
- Washcloth and warm water
It’s important to wipe and clean bleeding hemorrhoids with a warm, antiseptic solution to prevent infection and promote faster healing.
Add the essential oils in warm water and mix well. Soak a washcloth and carefully wipe the affected area three times a day.
Recipe 6: Premium Massage Recipe For Hemorrhoids
Step 1: Mix the following oils in a glass bottle:
- 40 drops of base oil (castor, jojoba or sweet almond oil)
- 3 drops chamomile
- 4 drops lavender
- 5 drops geranium
Step 2: Massage 2-3 drops of this blend on the affected areas 3 times a day
Precautions When Using Essential Oils For Hemorrhoids
No matter where you’re using your essential oils, it’s important to remember that these are highly concentrated oils that should never be used without diluting. Some of these oils are actually ‘hot’ and will have an irritating effect when used on the skin.
That said, the anus lining and tissues are incredibly sensitive, that’s why you’ll want to dilute your oils properly to avoid irritating this delicate skin further. I suggest a maximum dilution rate of 2%, i.e. 12 drops essential oils in 30ml (1 oz.) carrier oil.
When using essential oils for external hemorrhoids, remember to apply petroleum jelly on the surrounding skin when using hot oils to burn or shrink hemorrhoids. Likewise, using too much essential oil could burn and damage the surrounding tissue and cause you even more pain and discomfort.
Internal hemorrhoids are the most complicated to treat. But as a rule of thumb, never try to treat internal piles by placing the essential oils inside you.
Similarly, do not use essential oil anal suppositories to deal with internal hemorrhoids. This can be very dangerous if you’re not familiar with the oils or dosage you’re using.
Oral consumption of essential oils is also not recommended unless under medical supervision or advisement. While there are ways you could take them safely by way of vegetable capsules, you’ll need to make sure you are working with food grade essential oils.
Coconut Oil For Hemorrhoids
Solid at room temperature, coconut oil is probably the oldest skin care remedy of all time. Research shows that in addition to its widely known humectants and moisturizing properties, coconut oil contains a throng of other medicinal values. These include potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that could all be exploited to treat the symptoms of hemorrhoids.
The anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil help reduce inflammation and swelling associated with irritated piles. This allows patients room for a faster recovery process. Similarly, the analgesic components help ease the pain, burning, itching and stinging sensation that comes with hemorrhoids. Likewise, coconut oil has been shown to have laxative properties which could be used to facilitate easier bowel movements.
But what makes coconut oil king when it comes to treating hemorrhoids is the fact that it can be seamlessly added to almost all meals. You can cook a delicious meal with coconut oil and reap the benefits directly from the inside out. And unlike other hemorrhoid creams, coconut oil can be used topically in excess without any side effects. External application of coconut oil not only promotes a healthy environment, it also works to seal in essential oils so they can work their magic.
Turmeric For Hemorrhoids
Widely renowned as one of the most commonly used kitchen condiments on the planet, turmeric definitely makes an impact for every dish. But what most people don’t know is that the spice comes with literally hundreds of medical and health benefits; especially for the digestive system. In fact, it’s been likened to ginger in terms of its potent and versatile benefits.
The first notable benefit found in turmeric oil is its anti-inflammatory ability. Whether in powder or oil form, turmeric halts the inflammatory activities of enzymes that trigger the hemorrhoid formation process. This can all be attributed to the main ingredient in turmeric known as curcumin.
At the same time, turmeric oil boasts of an anti-oxidant ability that also comes to the rescue for advanced cases of hemorrhoids. This allows the oil to help with faster healing of any fissures that may have developed as a result of advanced internal piles.
Much like coconut oil, turmeric oil can also be used in food and in excess and even on healthy skin without fear of side effects. But word of caution; turmeric can easily stain clothes as well as the skin – but that’s a small price to pay for the numerous benefits you’ll reap.
What To Do If You Have Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy?
Hemorrhoids are a common scenario during pregnancy, especially in the 3rd trimester. Some ladies face them for the very first time while they're pregnant. And, if you have actually had them prior to pregnancy, you're most likely to have them once more now.
However, hemorrhoids that have developed during pregnancy will start to disappear quickly post-delivery, provided you're cautious and avoid being constipated.
Therapeutic grade essential oils are natural products which are generally safe to use while you're pregnant, as long as you're healthy and you know how to use them.
How To Use Essential Oils For Best Possible Relief In Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy
- Mixing cypress, geranium, and lavender essential oils with coconut oil and applying this blend topically over the affected areas can do wonders in terms of offering relief in hemorrhoids during your pregnancy or post-delivery.
- You can similarly mix a 4 oz. bottle of jojoba with 10 drops of german chamomile and 20 drops of myrtle essential oil and rub a few drops of the blend around the anal region two times a day for substantial relief.
- You can also have a sitz bath; mix warm water, Epsom salts and add a few drops of essential oils of your choice before adding it to the sitz bath. Sit in this water for 10-15 minutes.
Essential Oil Recipe For Relief In Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy
Procedure: Add 2 drops each of helichrysum, sandalwood, geranium, lavender, myrtle to 1 oz. of coconut oil in a glass bottle. Mix well and shake the contents of the bottle prior to use.
Directions: Take 2-3 drops of the above blend on your finger and rub it over the inflamed location on the rectum each time you go to the bathroom. You can also use it with a glass spray bottle and you simply have to use a few squirts on the affected area to help reduce inflammation and bleeding.
Hemorrhoids vs Anal Fissure
Unlike the venous swelling of hemorrhoids, anal fissures are actual tears in the mucosal lining of the rectum or sores around the anal opening. The wounds, although small, will almost always cause pain and bleeding when passing stools as the dilation of the rectum to allow the stools to pass stretches the mucosal lining, irritating or even worsening the tear/split.
How do you tell them apart?
Hemorrhoids either don’t cause any pain at all or cause pain all the time.
In contrast, anal fissures lead to sharp, searing pain while passing stools. The pain can last a while after the bowel movement depending on the size of the tear but there will be no discomfort when sitting.
That said, internal hemorrhoids often cause bleeding but no pain, so bloody streaks on the toilet paper or stool, without pain are usually a sign of bulging and inflamed veins inside the anal canal.
Bleeding and pain may or may not be present with external hemorrhoids but the dilated veins do feel like a bulge when touched. The anal area has no glands although the rectal sphincter is not smooth, there is certainly no growth around the anal opening.
So, if you can feel a soft, fluid filled growth, with or without pain/bleeding, you are dealing with hemorrhoids and not anal fissures.
Causes and symptoms of anal fissures
In case of hemorrhoids, pressure and stress on the muscles and veins in the rectal area are the culprits that end up irritating the blood vessels and causing them to bulge.
As opposed to this, anal fissures are caused by actual damage to the lining of the rectal sphincter. This can happen due to hard, dry stools and even chronic diarrhea. Inflammatory bowel conditions like Crohn’s Disease as well as intestinal infections can also cause anal fissures.
Nearly 10% of all people suffer from anal fissures, but the majority of them are either infants or older adults. The condition is not as prevalent among older children and young and middle aged adults.
Anal fissures in seniors usually result from compromised blood supply to the rectal area and abnormal tightness of the sphincter muscles, which does not allow for the rectal opening to get properly dilated for the passage of stools.
Treatment of anal fissures
Acute anal fissures are less likely to be problematic although they do cause intense pain. Usually, these tears will resolve in 1-2 weeks with home treatment. Unless there are other complications involved, keeping the area clean and using an antiseptic ointment is enough to treat the condition.
On the other hand, chronic anal fissures can be hard to tackle with just home treatment and OTC products. Because this condition involves unusual tightness of the sphincter muscles, the only way to treat it is to relax these muscles. This can be done through topical ointments or botox injections. In some cases, a surgical procedure may be recommended which involves the cutting and stretching of the sphincter muscles.
Hemorrhoids vs Piles
Piles is just another term used for hemorrhoids. So, we are essentially talking about the same condition here. However, people often get confused between internal and external hemorrhoids.
As you may have guessed, internal hemorrhoids are bulging veins inside the anal cavity while external hemorrhoids involve blood vessels outside and around the rectal opening.
How to tell them apart?
Internal hemorrhoids, unless prolapsed (and I will come to that in a bit), are too far inside the anal cavity to be seen. However, since the veins are dilated, they will cause bleeding but not pain.
External hemorrhoids may or may not cause bleeding, depending on the extent of venous dilation, but they often lead to anal irritation and pain. You will be able to feel external hemorrhoids as soft and painful perianal (around the anal opening) masses of flesh. The pain can be particularly intense if the external hemorrhoids develop a clot (thrombosis)
Internal hemorrhoids, when prolapsed, feel and appear as red, inflamed masses protruding out of the anal cavity while external hemorrhoids are around or on the anal sphincter. If under a layer of muscles/skin, these bulging veins will feel like a growth in the area.
The causes and symptoms
Over 70% people suffer from hemorrhoids by the time they get to their 5th decade. That said, the cause of the condition, whether the bulging veins are internal or external, is excess pressure that pushes the blood vessels against the rectal muscles and makes them bulge into or outside the anal cavity.
The pressure can result from chronic constipation, prolonged sitting due to occupational reasons or connective tissue disorders. Recent research has also revealed that most patients have abnormally tight muscles in rectal and abdominal areas, which increases the strain on the blood vessels when intra-abdominal pressure is exerted to pass stools.
- Mucus discharge even after bowel movement
- Anal itching
- Bloody stools
- Ulceration of prolapsed internal hemorrhoids
- Problems maintaining hygiene in the anal area
- Anal bleeding
- Pain and itching in the rectal area
- Perianal mass that is sore to touch
Conservative treatment approaches like sitz baths, lifestyle changes, topical antiseptic and analgesic formulations and stool softeners are usually enough to take care of grade 1 and 2 internal hemorrhoids and external hemorrhoids.
Outpatient procedures such as infrared coagulation, sclerotherapy and rubber band litigation is needed to treat external hemorrhoids that have persistent symptoms despite conservative treatment and grade 3 internal hemorrhoids.
Surgical procedures like arterial litigation and stapled hemorrhoidopexy are only needed in case of grade 4 internal hemorrhoids and for external hemorrhoids that don’t respond to any other form of treatment.
Hemorrhoids vs Rectal Prolapse
Both conditions cause anal pain, irritation and rectal bleeding, so one is often confused for the other. Particularly, it is easy to mistake prolapsed internal hemorrhoids for a rectal prolapse because quite simply both conditions involve the protrusion of the anal tissue outside the body. However, a rectal prolapse involves more than just swollen and inflamed blood vessels.
Depending on the severity of the condition, it may just be a portion of the rectum that protrudes out of the anal opening or the entire rectal sleeve turned inside out and hanging out of the anal opening.
How do you tell them apart?
Rectal prolapse and internal hemorrhoids can both cause bleeding, anal itching and irritation. However, rectal prolapse does have a few differentiating symptoms such as:
- Fecal incontinence.
- Prolapsed rectal sleeve that looks like a muscle mass shaped in concentric circles.
- Feeling of fullness and heaviness in the bowels and at the anal opening.
At least in the initial stages, the prolapsed rectal walls can be pushed back inside the anal cavity with the gentle application of pressure. However, as the condition progresses, manual interventions of the kind no longer help and the rectal sleeve stays out.
This can create complications such as necrosis of the tissue as well as infection. Not to mention that it can be extremely hard to manage hygiene in the genital area and even get around to doing your day to day tasks with a part of your intestine hanging outside your body.
Causes and symptoms of rectal prolapse
Rectal prolapse is fairly uncommon in younger people as the age related weakening of the muscles in the pelvic area and the rectal sphincter are thought to be the primary causes of the condition. That said, rectal prolapse can also result from:
- Chronic constipation or diarrhea.
- Chronic or habitual straining to pass stools.
- Weakness of the pelvic muscles due to childbirth.
- Injury to the pelvic, anal, abdominal area/muscles.
- Nerve damage due to spinal injury, surgical procedure in the area, complicated vaginal birth and sphincter paralysis.
- Cystic fibrosis.
- Parasitical intestinal infections.
Women, particularly postmenopausal women, have a higher risk of suffering from rectal prolapse. In children, rectal prolapse is a sign of cystic fibrosis.
As far as the symptoms are concerned, rectal prolapse can be hard to miss. I mean how can you not spot and feel a red, inflamed mass protruding out of the anus.
In the initial stages, the bulging out only occurs after a bowel movement and patients are able to push the rectal sleeve back inside. But as the condition progresses, even normal movements, like standing up or walking, can cause the rectal sleeve to prolapse and it can be hard to push it back in.
Apart from anal bleeding and discomfort, rectal prolapse can also lead to leakage of mucus and a feeling of fullness and stretching in the anal area.
Because rectal prolapse involves the slippage of the structures that hold the lower part of the large intestine inside the body, only surgical interventions can help to treat the condition once it’s in the advanced stage.
Surgery can be done through the abdomen or through the rectum. While the former is conducted under general anesthesia the latter is performed under an epidural. In both cases, the protruding part of the intestine is cut and the supporting or binding structures are put back in place so that the rectal sleeve can be held inside.
How To Get Rid Of Hemorrhoids Naturally
If you’ve determined that you have hemorrhoids, there are some steps you can take to ensure that you reduce inflammation and maintain cleanliness. The first few involve the above prevention measures we talked about earlier. They include staying hydrated, obeying the call of nature, and avoiding straining. Here are other effective ways to get rid of piles naturally at home.
1. Use Moist Wipes
The first step towards treating hemorrhoids involves avoiding aggravating the already irritated veins. With inflamed or swollen piles, passing a bowel movement is already painful enough as it is.
Using regular toilet paper to wipe afterwards can be extremely irritating and painful, especially for external hemorrhoids. Instead, try using unscented baby wipes or a moist towelette which are gentler, cleaner, and won’t cause aggravation.
2. Cold Compress
If we’re talking about inflammation, swelling, and itching, then a cold compress could be exactly what the doctor ordered. An ice pack might help bring down the swelling for hemorrhoids around the anus. However, it should not be left in place for too long.
For best results, limit your cold compresses to around 6-8 minutes at a time. You could alternate between a warm and cold compress for wholesome, soothing comfort.
3. Sitz Bath
For those who’ve tried it, a sitz bath is described as the best home and even medical remedy for hemorrhoids. Not only does the heat work wonders for soothing irritation, but you can add other ingredients to make the bath more effective.
Epsom salts are a favorite since they both clean and reduce discomfort around the anus. Adding essential oils allows the healing goodness to seep deep into the body. Fill your bath tub with warm water, add in your salts and essential oils and give yourself a nice long soak for about 20 minutes every day.
4. Natural Astringent
Instead of using those OTC hemorrhoid relief creams or going for painful piles cauterization procedures, you could burn off or shrink the hemorrhoid naturally.
The best way to go about this is to use essential oils with anti-inflammatory and astringent or heating properties. Essential oils like tea tree or turmeric and many more are ideal for the task. What makes these oils excellent for the task at hand is that in addition to shrinking hemorrhoids, they also promote healing and reduce itching as well.
How To Prevent Hemorrhoids
The best way to prevent piles is to keep your bowel movements soft and regular. Of course, it also helps to avoid sitting for long periods of time. Here are other ways to prevent piles.
- Eat foods rich in fiber including whole grains, vegetables, and more fruit to soften your stool and increase its bulk which avoids unnecessary straining as well.
- Drink the recommended 8 glasses of water and fluids a day to soften the stool further.
- Try to maintain a healthy weight and avoid sitting for long periods at a time since it increases pressure on the anus’ veins.
- If you feel the need to defecate, go as soon as you can to avoid it hardening any further.
- Exercise and stay active to reduce pressure on the veins and prevent constipation.
The Bottom Line
Much has been made of the purported benefits of preparation-H for everything, starting at under-eye puffiness and going down to painful hemorrhoids.
Phenylephrine and others in its class work by constricting the blood vessels. In case of hemorrhoids, this mode of action temporarily brings down the swelling of the veins and hence offers reprieve from the pain, stinging and itching of hemorrhoids. But, that’s really all it does! And, “temporary” is the operative word in that statement.
In order to get a permanent fix, you usher the big guns into the fight…you all know what I am taking about…essential oils.
When it comes to essential oils, they are really effective and offer long-lasting effects when it comes to obtaining relief in conditions like hemorrhoids. Remember, essential oils are most effective when used in conjunction with an appropriate diet plan and workout regimen. With the right knowledge and judgement, you will surely succeed in getting rid of those horrible hemorrhoids!