The word hemorrhoid is usually associated with hemorrhoids disease. Hemorrhoids in and of themselves however, are an important part of our digestive system. They are vascular tissues that work as cushions. These cushions contain blood vessels in the lower region of the rectum and around the anus. Hemorrhoids help us control when we defecate while preventing feces from leaking until we’re ready to use the restroom. The area where fecal matter exits the digestive system is known as the anal canal. Within the anal canal there are a diverse set of muscles that control the release of feces. These muscles are known as anal sphincters.
The hemorrhoids are located right by the anal canal. When a bowel movement is ready to for removal, the circulatory system rushes blood to the hemorrhoids to help close the anal canal, preventing leakage. Problems arise however when the hemorrhoids become enlarged or swollen. This is known as hemorrhoids disease. When swelling occurs there is a protrusion that develops inside the anal canal or externally near the top of the anus. Depending on whether or not you can see this protrusion dictates whether hemorrhoids disease is internal or external. People can develop internal and external hemorrhoids at the same time.
Symptoms of external hemorrhoids are easy to spot because of the bulge that develops near the anus. This occurs because the vein tissues that make up the hemorrhoids cushion are damaged and unable to return blood back to the heart. Remember that the circulatory system is a network of veins that pumps blood from the heart to every part of the body. Blood is the important life source that carries nutrients and oxygen to every cell in our body. As nutrients and oxygen are delivered to different cells, the blood then circulates through the kidneys and back into the heart. Any inability to continue the circulatory process and pump blood back to the heart causes a pool of blood to stagnate, causing an obstruction which creates the swelling and inflammation of the tissues. Lack of proper blood flow also creates a toxic load that aggregates around the damaged tissue.
External hemorrhoids are easy to spot because they are seen outside of the anus. Rectal pain usually accompanies external hemorrhoids as well. Sometimes a swollen vein will form a blood clot. This is known as a thrombosed hemorrhoid. Thrombosed hemorrhoids are painful lumps of soft tissue and can often lead to bleeding when using the restroom or make it uncomfortable to sit down.
Internal hemorrhoids are more difficult to notice because they’ve occurred inside the anus. The most common symptom however is bleeding. Blood can show up on the surface of stool or you may notice it while you’re cleaning yourself after a normal bowel movement has passed. Some of the more common symptoms also include itching and skin irritation. This is because the body secretes mucus to protect the damaged area from fungi, bacteria and viruses that may try to infect the area. Other symptoms that are not as common include discomfort – like the feeling that you still need to use the bathroom after you’ve already gone. This is happens because the protrusion of the hemorrhoid. Pain may also be present with internal hemorrhoids, although it’s not very common with internal hemorrhoids.
Whether or not hemorrhoids disease occurs internally or externally, they are both caused due to abnormal amounts of pressure on the veins in the pelvic and rectal areas. This pressure causes blood to pool in the veins, causing them to swell up. The swollen veins stretch out surrounding tissues, causing the protrusion to develop. What however, would cause abnormal amounts of pressure? Below are the common root causes of hemorrhoids:
Nutrition – diets that are low in nutrients, such as fiber, create problems because it becomes more difficult to move stool. This forces the person to push harder than is needed in order to remove fecal matter. This causes strain and pressure which can lead to hemorrhoids disease.
Lack of Water – similar to nutrition, the body also needs to provide certain levels of lubrication in order to easily move waste matter out of the body. Without proper amounts of water, the digestive tract and anal canal don’t have sufficient amounts of moisture needed to move stool easily out of the body.
Chronic Stress – stress leads to serious digestive problems because of the physiological changes that take place. Specifically the digestive tract changes pH levels when under stress. This area is rich in bacteria that help digest waste matter and push it out. When pH levels change, these bacteria die off, leading to chronic digestive issues such as constipation or diarrhea. These changes also lead to metabolic problems which cause weight gain.
Chronic Digestive Problems – specifically persistent diarrhea or constipation. This causes an increase in straining and pressure on the veins in the anal canal. This also ties back to nutrition and lack of water. Insufficient water intake is a common root cause of constipation. Overeating unhealthy foods is also a common root cause of constipation and diarrhea. Drinking soda also creates a diuretic reaction.
Excess Weight – being overweight, especially in the abdominal area, creates extra pressure on the pelvic veins whenever we sit.
Pregnancy and Labor – hemorrhoids can develop during pregnancy because of the excess weight and the hormonal changes that increase blood flow to the pelvis. During labor, due to the pushing that occurs while delivering a baby, hemorrhoids can also develop.
As you can see the primary root causes trace back to nutrition, lack of water and chronic stress. Proper nutrition and water intake can help provide the body the nutrients and elements it needs to prevent and reverse hemorrhoids. Remember that hemorrhoids are essentially inflammation that has taken place in a very sensitive region of the body. The inflammation will persist as long as the body is unable to repair existing cells or remove damaged cells altogether and replace them with healthy new ones. In order to fulfill these tasks the cells need the elements and materials found in healthy food sources.
Even with proper nutrition, if stress is not managed correctly, all of the healthy food in the world will not compensate for the damage the digestive system goes through when the body feels threatened. Stress is nothing more than a perceived threat – no matter how large or small that threat may be. It can be as simple as somebody cutting you off on the way to work or as complicated as potentially getting laid off at work. In order to manage stress we must be able to reconcile existing and past events in order bring closure and disable the stress mechanism the body initiates when we’re stressed.
Phytotherapi has created a program with protocols that support the body’s ability to reverse hemorrhoids damage by addressing the root causes of hemorrhoids disease. In doing so the body is able to restore the health of this important part of the digestive system while at the same time provide the body the tools it needs to keep the damage from returning.