A Case of Hemorrhoids

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Healing through Homeopathy

D.W. was a 30 year-old woman, attractive and well-dressed who first came to see us in late July of last year. Her presenting complaint was recurrent hemorrhoids dating back to her teenage years when she was diagnosed also with an anal fissure. The hemorrhoids had caused her great suffering over the years. Her stools could be so excruciating, because of the hemorrhoids, that even passing gas caused her pain. She complained of a severe pinching sensation in the rectum, which could variably be biting, griping, and sore. At times she experienced a rectal aching, heaviness, and bearing down sensation after a bowel movement. The rectal pain was much worse during a stool and worse from sitting. The hemorrhoids were recently more severe and frequent. She experienced profuse, bright red blood with the hemorrhoids. She had had a recent anoscopy and sigmoidoscopy with no findings other than the hemorrhoids. The hemorrhoids were worse after her one pregnancy and childbirth 8 years ago. Increase d ietary fiber and cortisone suppositories resulted in only marginal improvement.

Her other physical complaints were minimal. Her skin was fine, although she reported a history of eczema between her toes as a child. Her skin, mouth, and lips were often dry. She did have a frequent postnasal drip and upper respiratory infections with hoarseness 2 to 3 times a year. She smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day until 3 years ago, but had no apparent lung problems at this time. She did experience flatus with some frequency, which embarrased her, even around her family. Her menses was normal; her sexual energy high. She had a tendency to vaginal yeast infections with a thick, cheesy discharge since the removal of her IUD. She experienced some depression, irritability, and increased emotional sensitivity a week or so before her period. She tended to be warm overall, but her fingers and toes could become cold, painful, and white in cold weather.

She enjoyed her work as a teacher. She described some irrational fears, such as that her husband would leave her. She was uncomfortable talking in front of groups and tended to worry about her performance. She considered herself self-conscious. She was generally calm, but could become nervous and restless at times. She feared heights and the safety of her son. She was happily married; however, she had experienced a great deal of stress by a custody battle over her son following a divorce from her first husband. She desired bread, ice cream, and spicy foods and preferred hot beverages.

It is fairly unusual in a long-standing case such as this, to have such limited and straight-forward arena of symptomatology. In this case, the hemorrhoids were causing great discomfort to a woman who was otherwise quite healthy. The main rubrics which we selected from Kent's Repertory for this case were "Rectum, HAEMORRHOIDS, chronic," "Rectum; HAEMORRHOIDS; internal," "Rectum, PAIN; stool; during," "Rectum; PAIN; sitting, while," "Rectum; PAIN; Aespinching," "Rectum; PAIN; soreness; stool; during," "Rectum; PAIN; biting," and "Rectum; PAIN; griping."

A number of the most commonly prescribed (polycrest) remedies including Sulphur, Phosphorus, Nux vomica, Nitric acid, Arsenicum and Lycopodium covered her symptoms well. We also considered smaller remedies known specifically for their success with hemorrhoids such as Aesculus, Hamamelis, Collinsonia, Aloe, and Ratanhia. Aesculus (Horse chestnut) is given when the patient experiences sticking pains in the rectum as if the rectum were filled with small sticks. The pain often extends to the small of the back, hips, and sacroiliac and may be worse during walking. Hamamelis (Witch-hazel) is known best for its ability to treat venous congestion and distention in all parts of the body, including hemorrhoids. The hemorrhoids often bleed profusely and are very sore. The anus feels sore and raw. There may be concomitant varicose veins elsewhere in the body. Collinsonia (Stone-root) is useful for hemorrhoids resulting from pelvic and portal congestion. Like Aesculus, there is a sensation of shar p sticks in the rectum generally accompanied by constipation and a feeling of constriction and vascular engorement of the rectum. There is often an aching in the anus. Aloe is notable for its success with hemorrhoids which are like bunches of grapes and are relieved by cold water. The patient may complain of a pulsation, burning, or a bearing down sensation in the rectum. The hemorrhoids are likely to be very sore and tender. Ratanhia (Krameria) is known for its protruding hemorrhoids which can burn like fire, before and for hours following a bowel movement. The hemorrhoids protrude and the rectum may ache as if filled with broken glass. The hemorrhoid pain may be relieved by walking around.

In order to give one of the more unusual homeopathic remedies, such as the hemorrhoid remedies listed above, the symptoms of the case need to correspond particularly well to one of more symptoms of the remedy. None of the more unusual remedies we have described fit this case, so we looked again at the main polycrest remedies which covered her symptoms. The three remedies which we selected between were Sulphur, Lycopodium, and Phosphorus. Due to the specific symptoms of the hemorrhoids as listed above, to the coldness of her extremities, her self-consciousness, performance anxiety, flatus and her embarrassment about it, preference for hot drinks, dryness of the mouth and lips, and tall, thin build, we decided on Lycopodium, with Phosphorus as a second choice if Lycopodium was not successful after one month.

She was given Lycopodium 6c 3 times daily. She returned in one month and reported that she had no problems at all with her hemorrhoids until the last two days prior to the visit, when there was a slight flareup. She could still feel some movement of the hemorrhoids inside, but no pain or discomfort. She climbed Mt. Adams but experienced no coldness in her fingers as usual. She thought that her gas was less. She continued with the remedy and called one month later to say she was still free of hemorrhoid pain. We instructed her to continue with the remedy for one more month, then to stop. She called in mid-December to say she had stopped the Lycopodium as instructed and, now 5 months since the original prescription, had no problems with her hemorrhoids. She was very pleased to be relieved of the severe discomfort which had plagued her for nearly 15 years. She may or may not need a higher dose of the Lycopodium in the future and we have instructed her to call if her previous symptoms ret urn or new symptoms arise.

Correspondence:

The Northwest Center for Holistic Medicine, 4072 - 9th Avenue N.E., Seattle, WA 98105

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By Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman and Robert Ullman

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