How to find relief from hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids can result from several different causes, including constipation, pregnancy and heredity.

by Dr. Jennifer Burns — 

More than 30 million people in this country are asking, “How do I get rid of my hemorrhoids?” Two different types of hemorrhoids, external and internal, are the source of great aggravation for many. Both come with varying signs, symptoms and degrees of severity. Hemorrhoids can result from several different causes, including constipation, pregnancy and heredity.

Causes of hemorrhoids

Diet has a lot to do with constipation. Some high-protein diets that include few fruits and vegetables can make a person constipated. Dairy is fine in small amounts, but for some people, consuming too much dairy can lead to constipation. Others may not be drinking enough water. Here in the desert, the traditionally recommended 64 ounces of water per day is not enough, especially if you work or exercise outside. Those who enjoy more than one cup of coffee in the morning, followed by several carbonated beverages, also can find themselves experiencing constipation.

Another contributing factor for hemorrhoids is stress. When a person is stressed, the last thing the body wants to do is digest food. This is due to the body’s internal controls, called the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is divided into two parts: the sympathetic, which regulates stress, and the parasympathetic, which regulates relaxation. When a person is stressed, the first things the body does are increase heart rate, dilate the pupils and raise cortisol levels, giving you the energy to flee. In a resting state, the body can better focus on digestion, which allows for better bowel movements.

During pregnancy, as the baby grows the mother’s organs are pushed aside, increasing pressure in her lower abdominal area, which can lead to the formation of hemorrhoids. Sometimes hemorrhoids resolve after the baby is born, but generally they do not.

Research suggests that hemorrhoids and constipation are hereditary issues. Regardless of how much fiber you consume, you still find yourself constipated, or have weak veins in the rectal area. Other common health problems related to constipation include irritable bowel syndrome, cancer, chemotherapy or certain medical treatments.

What can be done to relieve hemorrhoids?

Several natural, over-the-counter products are available, depending on the severity of the symptoms. For those who do not eat properly, consuming more fruits and vegetables is a good place to start. Getting up off the couch to exercise also helps with bowel movements and hemorrhoids.

Other options include non-invasive hemorrhoid procedures, which are used to treat internal hemorrhoids. These non-invasive procedures have minimal down time and few side effects. A permanent solution is surgery.

Consult your local naturopathic physician before trying any of the natural supplements, especially if you are pregnant or worried about other health issues.


Dr. Jennifer Burns is a naturopathic physician and a published researcher on alternative medicine, as well as a member of the Maricopa County Medical Reserve Corp. She combines both modern and ancient medicine in her practice, with emphasis on disease prevention. or 623-876-2639.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 3, June/July 2007.

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