Haemorrhoids can be so uncomfortable, but did you know they’re not inevitable? Here’s what you need to know about these unsightly bumps and how to reduce them.
A substantial amount of over 60s have haemorrhoids or have had them over their life, and although you may not have been diagnosed, they can be visible or noticeable veins around your anus that bulge or swell.
Haemorrhoids can be caused most commonly from childbirth, however men find they have them after straining or sitting on the toilet for too long. Obesity and a low fibre diet can also be a factor.
As you age, the tissues that support the veins in your rectum and anus can weaken and stretch, though this doesn’t mean they are inevitable – they are completely preventable and you don’t have to suffer if you do have them.
The most common symptom of haemorrhoids is seeing fresh blood on the toilet paper or in your stool. Other symptoms include:
- Blood clots or lumps around the anus
- Anal pain
Here are some natural ways to treat piles:
This common liquid is great for soothing hemorrhoids and decreases bleeding, as well as pain, itching and swelling. Apply on a cotton pad and leave for 10-15 minutes before taking away.
Pelvic floor exercises
Believe it or not, your pelvic floor can help improve constipation problems if it is strong. According to physiotherapist and Starts at 60 expert Michelle Kenway, the anal sphincter relaxes during normal bowel movements. Pelvic floor exercises can help to increase your awareness of your pelvic floor muscles and promote anal sphincter control. Improving your anal sphincter control helps you relax your anal sphincter during bowel movements, alleviating haemorrhoid problems.
While the anal sphincter relaxes during normal emptying, other muscles in the pelvic floor contract to support the pelvic floor and assist complete emptying. Strengthening these pelvic floor muscles can help some women to overcome constipation, improve emptying and reduce straining.
Aloe vera is well known for its anti-inflammatory and therapeutic properties and can be used to treat both internal and external hemorrhoids.
If you have internal piles, take an aloe vera ‘leaf’ and cut off the thorns, then into strips. Freeze these overnight and use to relieve. If your hemorrhoids are external, take aloe vera and rub the area with the gel.
It’s full of antioxidants and other nutrients that can strengthen blood vessels.
Apply freshly squeezed lemon juice and saturate a cotton ball, applying to the piles. There might be a burning sensation but then will relieve it.
Olive oil’s soothing properties can help to treat inflamed and swollen blood vessels in and around the anus.
Dab on some olive oil and gently massage into the haemorrhoids.
Like olive oil, coconut oil is effective in treating haemorrhoids. Coconut oil has saturated oils that contain many nutrients which your body requires to prevent the swollen veins.
Apply using a cotton ball and repeat once a day.
Black tea bags
Tannic acid present in the tea has natural astringent property that helps to reduce the swelling and pain associated with haemorrhoids.
Dip a black tea bag in a cup of hot water and leave for a few minutes before removing. Let it cool and apply to the swollen veins for 10 minutes, 2-3 times a day. Cold and used tea bags can also help.
- Eat more fibre: Adding fibre to your diet is important for not only your overall health, but your digestive and bowel health.
- Go when you need to go: When you feel the urge to go, go immediately. If you put off going to the toilet, it can aggravate haemorrhoidal veins.
- Squat or elevate: In our recent article, we discussed the correct way to do a bowel movement. Science shows that if you squat and make an easier passage for your stools to go, you will have fewer piles and better overall bowel health. If you can’t feasibly squat over your toilet, put a high stool in front of your toilet.
- Drink heaps of water: This haemorrhoid prevention strategy is easy and cheap, yet so few of us over 60s actually do it.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise keeps your colon in good health and makes your bowel movements more regular.
- Avoid laxatives:Laxatives should be avoided if possible by eating a high-fibre diet but if you have to, use osmotic laxatives that work by filtering more water into the gut and reduce constipation.
- Gently blot the anus with wet toilet paper or wet wipes after each bowel movement.
- Rinse off in the shower or use a bidet instead of rubbing the anal area or wiping yourself with toilet paper.
- Regularly use soaps that don’t contain perfumes or dyes.
- Apply the ice for several times a day for about 10 minutes at a time, followed by a warm compress on the anal area for another 20.
- Have a sitz bath and fill your bathtub with warm water to cover the anal area and repeat the same for several times a day particularly whenever you have a bowel movement.