Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Hemorrhoids

by Sheila Shea

Date sent: Sat, 27 Jun 1998 16:00:01 -0700 (MST)
From: Sheila Shea <intestines@sheilas.com>
Subject: Newletter#7 HEMORRHOIDS

I get many questions through my homepage and listserve. One person asked about hemorrhoids and I put together all the posts that had come to the list. Then I embellished it with a few more sources. And here you have it, "What you always wanted to know about Hemorrhoids." If you have any additional information on the subject, send it to me and I will update the article.

Hi all, my wife has asked me to ask you how to handle hemorrhoids. Don't have any idea what works and what doesn't. Thanks! Jamey

Hemorrhoids are a venous dilation inside the anal sphincter of the rectum and beneath the mucous membrane (internal), or outside the anal sphincter and beneath the surface of the skin (external). The tissue of the walls of the venous system become weak and the veins may even form clots of blood. They can protrude into the anal canal or hang externally. Imagine hemorrhoids as weak veins similar to varicosity in the legs.

Hemorrhoids are an overfilled blood vessel which needs to be relieved of some of the blood. Occasionally bloody streaks on the outside of your stool may come from hemorrhoids or temporary anal irritation. Hemorrhoids can present quite a bit of bright blood in the toilet or blood adhering to the stool ("like ketchup on French fries as one of my docs put it") or bright blood on the toilet tissue.

According to Netter MD in the Ciba Collection of Medical Illustrations, Volume 3, "Hemorrhoids are present in about 35% of the population. They usually occur between the ages of 25 and 55 and only seldom under the age of 15. Both sexes are affected equally." (p. 170, 1961)

Many causes exist and I only mention a few.

The absence of valves in the portal venous system can be contributory. One-third of rectal veins travel to the liver via the portal venous system. Significantly, if pressure in the portal vein rises from liver cirrhosis or parasites, increased blood volume and pressure may dilate rectal veins to the extent that internal and external hemorrhoids are created. It follows from this that any toxicity or impairment of the liver might be contributory to hemorrhoids. If you find this hard to understand, imagine the venous blood traveling upward through the portal vein to the liver and the veins have no "back-flow" valve. Then imagine blood circulation through the liver is extremely slow or backed-up due to congestion. Guess what? The blood will back-flow to the rectal and anal area again. Spasms of the anal sphincter are said to be a frequent cause of external hemorrhoids because they may shut off the outflow of blood to the rectal veins.

"More direct causes are all the various events that produce transient or constant increased pressure or stasis (stagnation) within the rectal veins such as straining during elimination because of constipation or diarrhea, tumors or strictures of the rectum, pregnancy, tumors and retroversion of the uterus, hypertrophy and tumors of the prostate..." (p. 170 Ciba)

Another cause may be a low fiber diet generally high in refined carbohydrates (so what's new!).

According to Paul Pitchford in his book Healing With Whole Foods, hemorrhoids are a sign of protein deficiency. "Body tissues deteriorate leading to hemorrhoids..."

Pitchford also attributes hemorrhoids to weak spleen-pancreas energy. A prolapse (fallen organ or vessel) of the hemorrhoids is a sign of the deficiency. "A weak spleen-pancreas indicates neglect or ignorance of the Earth Element at the level of food: properly preparing food with nurturing care imparts healing essence." (p. 302)

I would add overeating to the dietary list. That puts tremendous pressure on the system.

Dehydration contributes to the problem.

Some people begin cleansing so rapidly that hemorrhoids "develop." Chances are these people have a weak venous return to begin with and the cleansing exacerbates the hemorrhoids. That was true of me.


"Research on colon health has shown fiber to be beneficial in curing and/or preventing appendicitis, colon cancer, diverticulosis, constipation and hemorrhoids," says Pitchford. Fibers are abundant in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. I would say the important emphasis is on whole foods. The SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) removes refined carbs. Read Elaine Gottschall, Breaking the Vicious Cycle for details. To correct spleen-pancreas deficiency, Pitchford mentions squash, carrot, rutabaga, turnip, black beans, peas, oats, spelt, ginger, fennel, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic, cherry, date, mackerel, tuna, halibut, beef, beef liver or kidney, lamb, butter. I suggest the animal products be organic and the butter be raw.

Other foods Pitchford suggests are clam, lettuce, eggplant (for bleeding hemorrhoids) and sour and sour mixed with bitter, pungent and sweet foods such as hawthorn berry, lemon, lime, pickles, rose hip, sauerkraut, vinegar, leek, aduki bean, apple, grape, mango, olive, raspberry, tangerine, tomato, homemade yogurt.

Drink at least 3 quarts of fluids a day, including one quart raw juice.

Anal Massage of the Hemorrhoids
Gerold: "When I felt the dreaded need to go to the bathroom (I REALLY hated to even have to go), I would first coat the anus and sphincter muscle liberally with Vaseline, and that made the chore so much easier and easier to do the required paperwork at the end. Mine were bleeding pretty good." I suggest using wheat germ or vitamin E oil or salves that help heal the skin, disinfect and support circulation. See Salves and Ointments

Sitz Baths
SITZ means sitting in water. One emerges the abdomen, hips, lower torso into the water. It's not a full out bath. Most texts suggest 15-20 minutes with water as hot as possible and adding water to keep it hot and repeating this several times daily. The temperature of the sitz bath could be alternated between hot and cold water. Follow the hot water sitz bath with a cold water one.

Gerold: "One other thing that I was certain to do was to take a sitz bath in a very hot tub of water daily (twice a day if I had the chance), just a few inches of water to soak the anus."

Epsom salts is used to remove fluid during the bath. Baking soda, 1 cup for every 4 inches of water, is used to treat the skin according to Dr. Deal in his book New Life Through Natural Methods. See the Herbal section for tea solutions can be used in the sitz bath water.

In colon hydrotherapy, colemas and enemas, warm-hot water (98-103 degrees) is used to relax and cold water (75-90 degrees) is used to constrict or stimulate. The hemorrhoids are weakened venous vessels that have stagnant circulation. The blood is not moving quickly enough, the vessels walls weaken, thin out and expand. The contrast of hot/cold will get circulation moving. The cold will tonify what is weak and numb the hemorrhoids and pain. I would follow what feels right to you.

One can alternate hot and cold water during colon hydrotherapy and colemas or sequentially with enemas. The contrasts help to strengthen the muscle tone. Some herbs are ideal in the hydrotherapy water such as pau d'arco, goldenseal, tincture of witch hazel or wheat grass juice.

Gerold: "I also use hot water for a shallow enema, enough water to partly fill the rectum, (4 ounces or so). If I recall, it was about 105 degrees or so, like a real hot tub would be. The heat really helped, inside and out, to relieve the pain. Make sure that the water is not too hot. You may want to try just 102 degrees F. Or better yet, what feels hot, but comfortable to you. Just leave it in for 10 minutes and then repeat with fresh hot water."

Vonderplanitz in We Want to Live suggests inserting 1 ounce of plain raw kefir in the rectum and letting it stay there to help shrink hemorrhoids and relieve pain. "After a bowel movement the process should be repeated."

I have found in administering colonics to people with hemorrhoids that they are able to eliminate better. Very often the hemorrhoids prevent people from eliminating thoroughly. They can block the anus and make elimination difficult. When the anus and the speculum are fully lubricated and the speculum placed gently into the anus, the hemorrhoids are pushed to the side or back into their packets. The waste material can flow out more easily.

The Ciba Collection, volume 3, by Netter MD says that "an anal irritation such as hemorrhoids can cause constipation due to a reflex spasm of the sphincters." Constipation is a double-edged sword because it can also lead to hemorrhoids! Another good reason to cleanse, use hydrotherapy and rebuild your system!

Vitamin C and Bioflavonoids
Willard comments that flavonoids...are "used when a health problem is characterized by capillary bleeding associated with increased capillary fragility. These include: easy bruising, vascular disease, allergic states, hemorrhoids, diabetes mellitus and edema..." p. 133, Textbook of Advanced Herbology.

My take on this is that a number of us with inflammatory bowel disease, eating disorders, chronic constipation, candida and hemorrhoids have created the yin, or expansive or capillary fragility situations. We need to build our repertoire of herbs and foods and beverages that are yang, astringent or capable of pulling tissue back together and strengthening capillaries.

The white skin between the peel and meat of citrus, cayenne and other peppers, currants and parsley are rich in Bioflavonoids.

Salves and Ointments
I use All Purpose Healing Salve with calendula flowers, chickweed, comfrey leaf and root, ginger root, chaparral, almond oil, and bees wax. A touch of oil of wintergreen in the salve has a cooling effect,. You can order from: Reevis Mtn Herbs, HC02 Box 1534, Roosevelt, AZ 85545.

Hemorrhoid Ointment prepared as follows:

1 oz Collinsonia root
1 oz Cranesbill root
1 oz Bistort root
8 ozs Beeswax
14 ozs Olive Oil

Heat ingredients (except the olive oil) in the oven for 1 hour at 125 degrees F. Add the olive oil and mix thoroughly. Place in container and store in a cool place. Apply as needed. Taken from Terry Willard, Textbook of Modern Herbology, 2nd Rev Ed.

1. After using cat's claw in working with approximately 150 patients between 1988 and 1992, Dr. Brent Davis reports that "Uncaria tomentosa has the ability to break through severe intestinal derangements that no other available products can touch." He refers to the herb as "the opener of the way because of its remarkable ability to cleanse the entire intestinal tract and help patients suffering from many different stomach and bowel disorders including leaky bowel syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids. fistulas. gastritis, ulcers parasites and intestinal flora imbalance... External applications of Una de Gato include the treatment of wounds, fungus, fistulas and hemorrhoids. European research shows that Una de Gato activates the immune system by increasing lymphocytic (white blood cell) activity."

2. A slug of aloe vera leaf slipped in the anus is extremely helpful. Remove the green skin first. It skids away from you worse than a cake of soap in the bath!

3. Mucilaginous Seeds. Use a mucilaginous bulking and lubricating agent such as flax and psyllium seeds powdered to help create a smooth stool. Agar-agar from a seaweed is use to treat hemorrhoids according to Pitchford.

4. Astringent herbs help to firm up dilate and weak tissue. The best known astringents are the tannin-containing teas. A tea of astringent herbs can be used in the sitz baths. A few examples are: cranesbill, ratany, oak bark, stoneroot, witch hazel, yerba mansa, comfrey and golden seal. Some are difficult to find. As a food, pomegranates and blackberries are astringent, tonic and high in C.

5. Liver helpers. Hepatic herbs are specific for liver and gall bladder. If you suspect that your liver might be the weak link in the chain you have many options. Dandelion, milk thistle and bepleurum are a few of the liver herbs. Christopher Hobbs gives a thorough review of liver alternatives in his book Foundations of Health, A Liver and Digestive Herbal. A liver flush or cleansing might also be in order. Sherry Rogers in Wellness Against All Odds and Tired and Toxic and Hulda Clark in her book A Cure For All Diseases outline liver flush/cleanses. I did a liver flush in May and found that it improved my elimination.

6. I leafed through the index of Alma Hutchen's classic book, A Handbook of Native American Herbs and found 25 mentions of hemorrhoids! I'll describe a few. A strong tea of bloodroot is excellent for a shallow enema or implant. "Make a strong tea of plantain leaves and root and let steep 30 minutes then inject a tablespoonful or more several times a day and after bowel evacuation." Solomon's Seal "will relieve pain and heal hemorrhoids if a tea solution is injected 3 or 4 times a day." Tamarack (larix laricina) is used for hemorrhoids as a salve or in a sitz bath. Smart weed (polygonum punctatum) a buckwheat family member, is simmered, covered, 1/2 pound of leaves 1 hour and added to a siztbath bath for bleeding hemorrhoids. Extract of chestnut is used for bleeding hemorrhoids. The juice of Sweet Gum (liquidambar styraciflua) may be used in ointments for hemorrhoids. Hutchens also lists a number a plants such as blackberry (astringent) and catnip (pain) whose leaves are bruised and applied externally on the hemorrhoids. Chickweed is used internally and externally to ease hemorrhoids. A decoction of the leaves of eucalyptus are used to wash the area of hemorrhoids. Mullein has been considered a treatment for hemorrhoids for several hundred years and is still used for this purpose, both internally and as a fomentation. Yerba Santa has a reputation for healing hemorrhoids when other sources fail.

7. I also leafed through the index of Healing with Plants in the American and Mexican West by Margarita Artschwager Kay and found 20 references! Horsetail (equisetum) rich in silica is suggested. The leaves of euphorbia or spurge are boiled with a small piece of pomegranate and is administered as an enema twice daily to dry hemorrhoids. Elder leaves or flowers are brewed into a tea for an enema solution to dry up hemorrhoids. Chamomile in teas and enemas is good for hemorrhoids most likely because of the anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Here's another one! Pine resin, mullein, honey and anemopsis californica are made into a suppository for treating hemorrhoids. Marigold (tagetes) is used as a fomentation.

The most natural position for elimination is squatting. Squatting is the standard practice in countries where the toilets are in-floor or in any location that lacks toilets. However, the Western toilet is designed for sitting, rather than squatting. This may reduce the efficiency of eliminating and promote hemorrhoids.

I worked with a DC/ND (chiropractor/naturopath) and he described a very successful procedure he had performed on him in Phoenix, AZ. It uses either a laser or a freezing solution. His hemorrhoids froze, shriveled and fell off and never bothered him again. However, whether or not a person has surgery, it's a good idea to remove the cause and restore the tissue.

Sheila: When I started cleansing in 1974 I had hemorrhoids akin to grapes clusters hanging out of my anus so bad I couldn't get anything out with an enema because they blocked the anus. I massaged them back in, stopped straining and developed a series of yoga and body movements that allowed my intestines to release. I don't have a shadow of them now. I also drank raw fruit and vegetable juices up to 2 quarts a day for nearly 3 years plus ate a high percentage of living foods for my diet.

The point to remember is that two phenomenon are occurring: the cause of the hemorrhoids and the symptoms, the hemorrhoids themselves. Many of the "remedies" deal with alleviating the symptoms. That's important. However, it's equally if not more important to deal with the cause so they do not reoccur. The causes lie in the realm of diet, exercise, liver, capillary fragility or weak cardio-vascular system or weak spleen-pancreas energy, among other possibilities. You can get in touch with what is creating the pressure in the rectal veins and work toward alleviating it.

Kind Regards,

Sheila Shea
Tucson AZ

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