Haemorrhoids, or piles, are varicose veins located in the rectum, just above the opening of the anus. The causes may be various, but a common factor is restriction of the normal circulation of blood to the rectum. This may occur temporarily during pregnancy, due to the pressure of the uterus, or continually due to disease of the liver or chronic constipation. The discomfort of piles encourages constipation, so the two disorders can aggravate each other.

In many cases, haemorrhoids don't cause symptoms and some people don't even realise they have them. However, when symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • bleeding after passing a stool the blood is usually bright red
  • itchy bottom
  • a lump hanging down outside of the anus, which may need to be pushed back in after passing a stool
  • a mucus discharge after passing a stool
  • soreness, redness and swelling around your anus
Haemorrhoids aren't usually painful, unless their blood supply slows down or is interrupted.

Apart from the discomfort caused by piles, treatment is important because even the small amount of blood that is lost each day from these veins is enough to cause anaemia over a period of time.

Several essential oils can be used for local treatment and to improve the circulation generally. Cypress, Juniper and Frankincense can be used in local applications (suitably diluted) and in baths on a regular basis. Garlic perles and plenty of fresh garlic and onions in the diet will also improve circulation.

If constipation is part of the problem, then dietary changes will probably be necessary in the long run, but Rosemary, Marjoram or Fennel can be used to help in the short term. Massaging the abdomen in a clockwise direction with any of these oils in a 3% dilution may be all that is needed to stimulate natural peristalsis.

See also Witch Hazel.

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