Piles or hemorrhoids are swollen veins in and around the anus and rectum. They can be either internal or external. Some of the symptoms include painful and itchy anus, swelling or a lump near the anus, painful bowel movements, bleeding during or after bowel movements, etc. They are very common, often due to poor dietary choices, sitting too long, constant constipation, overweight, pressure caused by pregnancy, straining during bowel movements, aging, etc. They are seldom dangerous but can be very painful.
Depending on the type and stage of hemorrhoids, many Ayurvedic treatments are clinically proven to be effective, such as:
- Medicine, diet and lifestyle changes.
- Kshara or herbal alkaline paste which application cauterizes and shrinks the pile mass.
- Kshara sutra, a special medicated alkaline thread to tie hemorrhoids off at the base. This cuts off the blood supply to the vein and shrinks the pile mass.
- Agni karma/thermal cautery and Shastrakarma (surgical excision).
Ayurveda recommends herbal remedies, diet and lifestyle changes in the initial stages of piles. Ensuring good digestive health is of prime importance as constipation is one of the main causes of piles.
There are many things you can do for prevention:
- Consume plenty of fluids or water, 2-3 liters to keep the stools soft.
- Natural stool softeners like raisins, prunes, and figs, soaked in water overnight can be eaten in the morning.
- Eat adequate fiber-rich food—green leafy vegetables, radish, turnip, shallot, bitter gourd, and elephant foot yam are very effective.
- Fruits like papaya, banana, Jamun/ Java plum, mango, and guava help.
- 5 g of Aloe vera or flax seeds is beneficial.
- Shallots skinned and roasted in ghee, taken for 1-2 weeks are found to be useful.
- For bleeding piles, eat twice daily 2 g of mango seeds, dried and powdered, mixed with honey.
- Apply Coconut oil, which is very effective for painful inflamed itchy anus
- Drink organic cow’s or goat’s milk.
- Buttermilk is highly beneficial.
- 100 mg of grated radish or radish juice mixed with a teaspoon of honey or a pinch of salt, twice daily.
- The juice of the fresh leaves of bitter gourd alone or mixed with a glass of buttermilk should be taken every morning.
- 3-5 g of Triphala powder must be taken regularly. Beneficial in constipation and piles.
- 3- 5 ml of castor oil in hot organic milk every night.
- 5 g of black sesame seeds, powdered and mixed with fresh ghee or butter, is useful in bleeding piles.
- 1 tsp of psyllium husk soaked in water at night helps clear the bowels.
- 5 figs soaked in water for 3 hours, taken on an empty stomach twice daily for two weeks is recommended.
- Haritaki (Chebulic Myroblan) fruit roasted to a brown colour in castor oil, then powdered. Half a teaspoon of this powder at bedtime with luke warm water will bring about normal bowel movements in the morning.
- When you have painful, inflamed pile mass, sitting in warm water with salt and a pinch of turmeric at least for 15 minutes daily is highly effective.
- Regular exercise and proper sleep are very important.
- Ayurveda has clinically proven effective medicines for piles— Chiruvilwadi kashyam, Kalyanagulam, Arshohara Vati, Abhayarishta, Arshhara Gutika, Arshoghni Vati, Kankayana Vati, etc. These medicines should only be taken under the supervision of a qualified Ayurveda doctor
- Yoga postures like Parvanamuktasana (wind relieving pose), Viparitakarani (legs against the wall), Malasana (squatting pose), Balasana (child pose), Sarvangasana (shoulder stand), Halasana (plow pose), Baddakon asana (bound angle).
- Kshara is a caustic, alkaline in nature, and obtained from the ashes of medicinal plants. It is a milder procedure than kshara sutra and thermal cautery-agni karma, and very effective in treating 1st and 2nd degree of hemorrhoids.
- Kshara Sutra therapy is a clinically proven, minimally invasive Ayurvedic parasurgical procedure and a time-tested Ayurvedic technique used in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th degrees of hemorrhoids.
- Do not strain too much while defecating. Don’t ignore the urge to defecate.
- Eat fried, heavy, oily, gassy and difficult to digest food.
- Eat very hot, spicy, and dry food, eggs, chicken and heavy meat. Eggs and chicken have been found to aggravate the symptoms.
- Excessive heat, cycling, horse riding, and traveling can aggravate the symptoms.
- Avoid sitting for long periods and use soft, cushioned seats.
- Minimize tea, coffee, and alcohol.
Aparna K. BAMS, MD, PhD
Consultant advisor for development of Oneworld Ayurveda and visiting physician
Aparna is one of the few specialists in the world with a PhD in Ayurveda. Born into an Ayurvedic family which operates a traditional Ayurvedic Panchakarma hospital in Kerala, India, she grew up observing her father, the renowned Dr. Padmanabhan Read more »