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Nutrition & Healing - Hemorrhoids

By Dr. Jonathan V. Wright

Even if your hemorrhoids are severe, it's rarely necessary to have painful surgery. But let's cover treatment of the milder forms first, and also prevention.

If hemorrhoids are in your family, it's sometimes possible to prevent them or at least slow down the onset and severity by making sure you eat lots of fiber-containing foods. High bulk and fiber make it less necessary for the bowels to squeeze as hard to move things through. When low fiber content forces more squeezing and higher pressure, blood is "backed up" into the hemorrhoidal veins, which may then bulge, causing hemorrhoids. High-fiber foods include whole grams, root vegetables, and beans. If necessary, supplemental fonns of fiber are available in natural food stores and drugstores. Psyllium [sill-ee-um] seed in a variety of forms is most widely used, although carrot fiber, oat bran, and others are available. If you buy psyllium flakes or powder, make sure no sugar has been added.

Flavonoids in foods and supplemental capsules strengthen veins, including hemorrhoidal veins. Citrus is known for its flavonoid content, and other good sources include blueberries, blackberries, grapes, plums, and nearly any other blue, purple, or red fruits or vegetables. Rutin supplements, most often 50 milligrams daily, are traditionally used and found helpful by people with hemorrhoids. I often recommend capsules of citrus bioflavonoids, 1000 milligrams once or twice daily, or pycnogenol, [pik-nah-jenn-all], a recently available and relatively powerful bioflavonoid, 25 milligrams once or twice daily.

Centella asiatica [senn-tell-uh a-zee-at-ik-uh], also known as gotu kola [go-too ko-la] among it's many other uses is a blood vessel strengthener. I usually recommend 240 milligrams of 10% extract twice daily.

Many natural food stores have vitamin E suppositories. These are very useful in reducing pain and inflammation when hemorrhoid syptoms are more acute. The most widely sold drugstore brand of suppositories and ointments for hemorrhoids is made of mostly-natural ingredients.

For some individuals, supplementing essential fatty acids is a definite help in reducing hemorrhoids. I usually recommend 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of flax oil daily, as flax oil is the best-balanced for single essential fatty acid supplement widely avoidable. If at all possible, find an organically raised and carefully processed brand. Remember, whenever using an essential fatty acid supplement, take extra vitamin E, 200 to 400 units daily.

"Mainstream" medical treatment of mild to moderate hemorrhoid conditions may also include recommendations for increasing dietary fiber, as well as , ointments, and suppositories from the drugstore. Some of these may contain cortisone. When hemorrhoids become severe, with considerable pain, inflammation, and bleeding, "mainstream" medical treatment is surgical, involving cutting out the hemorrhoidal veins or a procedure calling "banding"  in which rubber bands are placed around the veins to literally choke them off. In a less-often used "mainstream" procedure, the hemorrhoids are injected with solutions called sclerosing solutions, which cause collapse and "scarring down" of the hemorrhoids.

Fortunately, there's another procedure effective even in very advanced cases being used in an increasing number of more naturally-oriented health care clinics, and a few others. This procedure was actually devised in the 1800s, but has only started to become more widely available after equipment updating and further study. It uses electrical microcurrent touched directly to the hemorrhoid for several minutes. Over the course of three or more treatments, the hemorrhoids internal walls will grow together, effectively shrinking the veins, stopping blood flow, and eliminating the hemorrhoid. People report that the procedure "feels like a buzzing", no anesthesia is required, there's no interruption of daily activities other than trips to a clinic to have the procedure done. The procedure is so effective that referral to surgery is rarely needed, even with the most sevcre hemorrhoids. To locate a practitioner near you who treats hemorrhoids with this microcurrent technique, please call 800-523-6078 ext. 6601.

Because of differences in age, sex, metabolism or potential allergy, these diet and supplement therapies may not be suitable for you. Consult a health care professional skilled in nutritional and natural therapies. To locate one near you, you might call the American College of Advancement in Medicine at 800-532-3688 or the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians at 206-323-7610.


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