Hemorrhoids are swollen, inflamed veins in the rectum and anus that causes pain and bleeding. According to medical science, the main causes are straining during bowel movements, obesity, or pregnancy. There is greater discomfort during a bowel movement with increased pain, itching and bleeding when hemorrhoids are present.
Ayurveda recognizes a condition called arsha with the same symptoms as hemorrhoids. According to Ayurveda, the root cause is improper eating and lifestyle practices. The tri-energies of vata, pitta, kapha are aggravated, causing the vitiation of both vata and pitta doshas. The vitiated pitta dosha accumulates ama within the digestive system. Vata then becomes obstructed with the digestive channel. This causes the tissue to protrude both internally and externally.
Two Types of Arsha
Congenital arsha is caused by the vitiation of beeja dosha (sperm and ovum), which affects the anal canal or sphincters. The beeja dosha becomes vitiated from the parents having an improper diet and lifestyle regimen and can also be hereditary from the parents. Sahaja means a disorder which manifests since birth and arsha (hemorrhoids) develops before birth and is characterized by morbid growth in the muscle tissue.
Acquired arsha manifest from improper diet and lifestyle choices and always involves the aggravation of all three doshas. The predominance of one dosha determines the type of hemorrhoid.
- Vataja Arsha is caused by eating too many foods that are astringent, pungent, bitter, ununctuous, cold and light, as well as not eating enough. Lifestyle choices include excess alcohol, frequent sex, fasting, living in a cold climate, excess physical exercise or work, grief, and exposure to sun and wind.
- Pittaja Arsha is caused by eating too many foods that are pungent, hot, salty, and alkaline. Lifestyle choices include excessive exercise, high exposure to heat from either fire or the sun, living in a hot climate, excess alcohol, feeling envious and eating food or drinks that cause a burning sensation.
- Kaphaja Arsha is caused by eating too many foods that are sweet, unctuous, cold, salty, sour, and heavy. Lifestyle choices include lack of exercise, sitting too long, sleeping during the day, excess sleep, exposure to wind, living in a cold climate, exposure to cold and an inactive mind.
Classification of Hemorrhoids
- Dry piles are caused by predominance of aggravated vata and kapha.
- Wet piles are caused by predominance of aggravated rakta (blood) and pitta.
Location of Hemorrhoids
- Medas: fat tissue
- Mamsa: muscle tissue
- Tvak: skin includes the mucous membrane
Improper Eating Habits
Acquired hemorrhoids which occur after birth are caused by poor eating habits which causes low digestive power. Weak digestion causes poor elimination and an accumulation of waste products. All three doshas are vitiated and vata obstructs the digestive channel.
Cause for Hemorrhoid is Eating Too Many Poor Quality Foods
- Eating foods that are heavy, sweet, cold, abhisyandi (channel obstructing), vidahi (causes burning sensation) and viruddha (improper food combinations). Also, eating before the previous meal is digested, eating too little quantity, and unwholesome foods.
- Excess intake of meats like cow, fish, pig, buffalo, goat, and sheep
- Intake of meat from emaciated animals, dried meats, excess intake of payasa (preparation of milk, rice and sugar), spoiled milk, dadhimanda (whey), and preparations of sesame seed and jaggery- products.
- Excess intake of black gram, sugarcane juice, cake, dry vegetables, acidic foods, garlic, kilata (cream of milk), butter milk, pindaka (cream of curd), germinated corns and pulses, freshly harvested corns and cereals and tender radish.
- Intake of pickles, haritaka (uncooked vegetables), mardaka, vasa (muscle fat), meat from the head of legs of animals, old and spoiled foods, sankeerna anna (food prepared by mixing different ingredients like rice and meat.
- Intake of mandaka (immature thick curd) and improperly fermented alcohol preparations.
- Drinking polluted heavy water.
- Excess intake of sneha (oleation therapy)
- Lack of exercise
- Avyavaya or ativyavaya (lack of sex intercourse or excess)
- Sleeping during the day, habitually sitting in comfortable seats and location.
Causes of Impairing the Downward Movement Through the Colon
- Sitting on rough, irregular or hard seats
- Riding horses, camels, etc, for long periods of time
- Excessive indulgence in sexual relations
- Improper insertion of enema and frequent injury in the anal region
- Frequent application of cold water
- Continuous and excessive straining during defecation
- Forcible attempt for passing flatus, urine and stool
- Suppression of manifested urges to eliminate
- Miscarriage, pressure of the pregnant uterus and abnormal delivery
The natural downward movement through the colon becomes aggravated by these factors and causes an accumulation of waste products that inflames the anal sphincter.
Early Symptoms of Arsha
- Vistambha: constipation
- Daurbalya: weakness
- Kukshi aatopa: gurgling sound in the lower abdomen
- Karshya: emaciation
- Bahula udgara: frequent eructation
- Sakti sada: weakness in the thighs
- Alpa vit kata: voiding less stool
- Grahani: sprue syndrome, IBS
- Pandu: anemia
Three Doshas Involved with Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids never occur without the aggravation of all three doshas. It is the predominance of one or all of the doshas that different types of hemorrhoids occur.
- Chiruvilvadi Kashyam balances vata and pitta dosha and helps relieve bleeding hemorrhoids. Its herbal actions include vata anulomana (eliminates obstructed vata) and agni dipana (improves digestive strength). Dosage: 3 teaspoons with ½ cup of water on an empty stomach morning and evening.
- Gandharvahastadi Kashyam balances vata dosha and relieves constipation. Its herbal action soothes painful hemorrhoids. Dosage: 3 teaspoons with ½ cup of water on an empty stomach morning and evening.
- Avipathi Churnam is an herbal powder that eliminates excess pitta dosha and rekindles low digestive fire. Its herbal action is detoxification. Dosage: half teaspoon powder with warm water after breakfast and dinner.
- Abhaya Arishtam is an herbal liquid that balances vata and kapha. It sactions are both deepana and pachana (improve digestive fire and agni) and useful for relieving gas, bloating and easing bowel movements. Dosage: 3 teaspoons with ½ cup of water after breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Pilocid Tablet relieves both dry and bleeding hemorrhoids as well as internal and external hemorrhoids. Its actions help balance all three doshas. Dosage: take 2 tablets after breakfast and dinner with warm water.
- Pilocid Gel is applied externally twice a day to the hemorrhoid.
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