Hemorrhoid help

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Affecting half of all Americans by age 50, hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the rectum and anus that can cause the surrounding tissues to burn, itch, or bleed. Common causes include continual sitting, straining during bowel movements, obesity, and pregnancy and childbirth. Eating plenty of fiber (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) and staying hydrated helps. You could also light a candle to Fiacre, the patron saint of hemorrhoids, as you try these natural remedies to soothe, shrink, and prevent this uncomfortable condition.

A - what
B - Sitz Bath
C - Horse Chestnut
D - Witch Hazel
A: why
B: Sitting in warm to hot water helps ease the discomfort and itching
of hemorrhoids, and may speed healing.
C: Aescin, an active ingredient in horse chestnut, appears to maintain
vein health and reduce hemorrhoid swelling and inflammation by
sealing damaged capillaries.
D: Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) contains tannins that may shrink
tissues. It's used in homeopathy for raw, bleeding hemorrhoids that
are accompanied by rectal itching. (For other symptoms, consult a
practitioner.)
A: evidence
B: A study published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology found
that hemorrhoid pain and swelling was reduced after 10-minute hot
sitz baths.
C: This folk remedy got a thumbs-up for boosting vein integrity from a
2006 review in Advances in Therapy. In one study, published in
Pharmacology Research, patients received 120 mg of aescin daily in
divided doses. Improvements were reported within a week; the
benefits were visible by examination within two weeks.
D: Native Americans used witch hazel as a remedy for hemorrhoids. It
has not been widely researched, although one study conducted in
Germany found it to have a tonic effect on veins. Topically, it
works as an anti-inflammatory, according to the European Journal
of Clinical Pharmacology.
A: caveats
B: Make sure the water is not so hot it scalds you. Some people get
dizzy when standing up from a sitz bath, so rise carefully.
C: Avoid if you have kidney or liver disease.
D: None when used as directed.
A: using it
B: Rubbermaid makes an inexpensive portable sitz bath ($15,
elderestore.net) that fits into the top of a toilet. Or fill a
bathtub with just enough water — the hotter, the more
effective — to cover your pelvic area, and sit sideways
with your feet over the edge. Remain for 10 to 15 minutes, and
repeat daily or as needed.
C: Each 300 mg dose of Planetary Formulas Horse Chestnut Vein Strength
($13, herbspro.com) contains 60 mg of aescin, along with butcher's
broom (also shown to have a positive effect on hemorrhoids) and
witch hazel.
D: Boericke & Tafel make H. virginiana tablets ($4, smartbomb.com);
take three tablets sublingually every hour until symptoms improve.
For external use, moisten a cotton pad with alcohol-free witch-hazel
astringent, and use it to cleanse the affected area. Or try T.N.
Dickenson's premoistened Hemorrhoidal Pads ($7, drugstore.com).

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By Angela Hynes

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