see also Piles During Pregnancy
Swollen or strangulated veins in lower rectum and around anus; straining to pass faeces, usually as a result of Constipation, raises pressure in veins, causing them to bulge and protrude into the anal canal or through the anal opening; as stools are passed, there may be pain and bleeding. Occasionally, blood inside a haemorrhoid clots. Apart from constipation, piles can be caused by persistent coughing, pregnancy and childbirth, standing for long periods, laxatives, sitting on cold surfaces and travelling long distances sitting on heated car seats, all of which raise pressure in rectal veins.
Anal bleeding should never be ignored; it may be due to piles, but can also be a sign of Ulcerative Colitis or cancer of the colon or rectum - see Cancer. If pain and bleeding last for more than 12 hours, consult your doctor if there is no improvement in 12 hours. Conventionally treated by painkilling ointments and or steroid suppositories, and also bulking and laxative agents; if piles persist, anal opening can be stretched to reduce straining, or piles can be shrunk by injection, or removed by ligation or surgery.
Homeopathy regards piles as a constitutional problem, and treats them accordingly. However, in the short term, the remedies and self-help measures given below should be tried.
Specific remedies to be taken 4 times daily for up to 5 days
- Piles internal, associated with constipation and pain in lower back, dry spiky sensation in rectum, lumpy stools which cause stabbing, tearing, or splinter-like pains when passed, anus hot, dry, and itchy Aesculus 30c
- Piles protrude like a small cluster of grapes, frequent bleeding reduced by cold applications, burning sensation in rectum and anus, spattery diarrhoea, stool feels like wind and vice versa Aloe 30c
- Great itching, constant bleeding, constipation, desire to pass stool Collinsonia 30c
- Bleeding, anus feels sore and bruised Hamamelis 30c
- Burning, cutting pains before, during, and after passing stool, presence of anal fissure Nitric ac. 30c
- Where person is sedentary, has frequent urge to pass stool but never feels that bowels empty properly, wakes very early then falls into heavy sleep just as it as time to get up, feels chilly and irritable, has large piles which burn and sting Nux 30c
- Painful piles which bleed easily and cause more discomfort when lying down, person not at all thirsty Pulsatilla 30c
- Piles do not bleed but are aggravated by warmth, skin around anus red and sore Sulphur 30c
- Piles extremely painful, pain worse when lying down or during menstruation Ammonium carb. 30c
- Protruding piles, burning sensation Capsicum 30c
- Piles feel sore, inability to strain to pass stool Causticum 30c
Self-help: Change to the Liver Diet for at least 1 month and avoid tea, coffee, milk, eggs, gelatine, jellies, white bread, arrowroot, tapioca, semolina, salt, coffee, spicy foods, beer and cola, etc. Increase the amount of exercise you take, and do the slant board exercises. Try to open the bowels regularly, and avoid overstuffed or heated seats. Increase fibre and fluid, clean the perineal area gently (see Pruritis Ani). Lubricate the anus with KY-Jelly, try sitz baths, reduce weight if appropriate.
For external piles, Paeonia ointment can be applied; for internal piles, Peony suppositories or lint soaked in Hamamelis solution (5 drops of mother tincture to a small cup of boiled cooled water) can offer relief; gently push lint or suppositories into the rectum and leave in place overnight. Hamamelis solution can also be applied externally. Mother tincture of Paeonia and Hamamelis, and also Paeonia ointment, can be obtained from homeopathic pharmacies.
For piles which are thrombosed or strangulated and protrude through the anus as small blood-filled pouches, raise the foot of the bed, lie down, and apply an ice pack or a Hamamelis compress to the anal opening. Do not try to push the pouches back inside. Warm salt water baths may also give relief. Alternatively, make up a potato poultice (a layer of hot mashed potato between two layers of muslin) and sit on it as soon as the heat is bearable; this encourages the piles to shrink back in. Aconite 6c taken at half hourly intervals for up to 10 doses would also be beneficial.