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What Are Internal Hemorrhoids?
Internal hemorrhoids are in the rectum, unlike external hemorrhoids which are found around the anus. An internal hemorrhoid may not be visible at all and may not cause any pain, it will however lead to blood in the stool or on toilet paper after having a bowel movement. If the hemorrhoids are prolapsed, or are protruding through the anus, then they are likely to be painful and cause the same itching, burning and irritation that is common with external hemorrhoids.
While it is important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis, especially if your only symptom is blood in the stool, hemorrhoids can be easily treated at home. Learn about some of the best home remedies for internal hemorrhoids and find out how to treat and prevent this condition.
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An excellent way to find relief and to improve healing is to take a sitz bath. Sit in a shallow tub of warm to hot water for 10 to 15 minutes. Do this three times a day or as needed while healing internal hemorrhoids. You can add Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate crystals) to your sitz bath to help reduce the inflammation, use 1/2 to 1 cup. Herbal infusions can also increase the healing, soothing effect of your hemorrhoid soak. Simply brew 1 cup of any of the following herbal teas and add to the water:
To make an infusion, steep 1 to 2 teaspoons of the dried herbs in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. You can also use equal parts of two or three of the listed herbs.
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There are many different types of laxatives that can be used to reduce constipation and straining, two problems associated with hemorrhoids. While laxatives are helpful, many should not be used consistently as they can have an adverse effect when used over time. The following natural laxatives are safe to use regularly.
- Bulk-forming agents such as psyllium can be taken for constipation. Be sure to take with plenty of water.
- Try supplementing with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil or flax seed oil before meals. This will help to soften the stool and reduce straining (while also adding beneficial essential fatty acids to your diet!)
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Diet and Lifestyle
Eating a healthy, high-fiber diet is the best way to treat and prevent internal hemorrhoids. Include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains in your diet. Try having oatmeal with fruit for breakfast three times a week, snack on almonds, pumpkin seeds and dried fruit and substitute beans or tofu for animal protein two to three times a week. Also, make sure you are drinking at least six to eight glasses of water a day, sometimes simply drinking more water is all that is needed to stop constipation.
Exercise is another important treatment for hemorrhoids. Regular physical activity will help to prevent constipation and improve digestive health. Exercise is also important for maintaining a healthy body weight — obesity may aggravate hemorrhoids. Try a 30 minute walk each day.
To reduce straining, place your feet on a stool when using the bathroom.
Try these home remedies for internal hemorrhoids, keeping in mind that without a change in your diet, problems may reoccur. If symptoms are very serious or persistent, be sure to see your doctor.
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National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Hemorrhoids. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/hemorrhoids/#treatment
Balch, Phyllis A. " Prescription for Nutritional Healing." Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).
Page, Linda. "Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone, 11th Edition" (Traditional Wisdom, 2003).
photo by Keith Ritchie/flickr
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