Points - Ask the Doctor

Q: What causes hemorrhoids and how can I treat them?

A: Hemorrhoids are swollen, inflamed veins in the rectum that can ache and bleed. They are very common and are usually caused by constipation, a low-fiber diet, a sedentary lifestyle, or pregnancy.

Adopting a high-fiber diet, sitting down less, getting plenty of exercise, and maintaining regular bowel habits can significantly improve your chances of not getting hemorrhoids. Medical treatment consists mainly of stool softeners and moist heat. In more severe cases, surgical procedures may be used.

The natural treatments used for varicose veins are also often recommended for hemorrhoids because a hemorrhoid is actually a special kind of varicose vein. These include horse chestnut, OPCs, gotu kola, butcher's broom, and bilberry. I would suggest you consult a licensed acupuncturist/herbalist to obtain a specific prescription.

  • Fiber, especially insoluble fiber, is extremely important in creating regular bowel movements and easy elimination. Some sources include wheat bran and psyllium husks.
  • Drink plenty of water, 6-8 glasses a day, especially if you have increased your fiber intake.
  • Vitamin C is good for the integrity of your veins. It helps keep their tone.
  • Flavonoids and anthocyanins strengthen veins. Some sources of flavonoids include lemons, limes, apples, tomatoes, onions and carrots. Some sources of anthocyanins include dark, red berries, blueberries, cherries, grapes and red cabbage.
  • A Chinese herbal ointment, Ching Wan Hung is excellent for shrinking hemorrhoids and relieving symptoms.
  • Tub baths several times a day in plain, warm water for about 10 minutes

About our Doctors

This month's Ask the Doctor question was answered by:

Dr. Mao Shing Ni, PhD, D.O.M., Dipl. ABAAHP . from his website:


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