Piles

Definition

Piles, also known as Hemorrhoids, are swollen veins of the anal canal. The inflammation may be internal, occurring inside the anus, or externally protruding through the anus. They are often associated with a long history of indigestion and constipation, resulting in hard stools. They can be dry or may bleed. External hemorrhoids produce less bleeding than internal ones, where the veins more frequently will burst.

Causes

A faulty diet and sedentary lifestyle lead to the vitiation (impairment) of all three doshas, and predominantly Vata (air). Vitiated Vata causes low digestive fire, leading to persistent constipation. Accumulation of waste products in the body and varicose veins in the rectum also contribute to the development of hemorrhoids. Contributing factors include obesity, sitting for long hours, chronic constipation, overindulgence in intercourse, excessive coughing and straining, emaciation during pregnancy, repeated abortions, and suppressing the natural urges of the body. Other causes include excessive consumption of alcohol, too little exercise, long journeys, non-vegetarian food, and cold, heavy, uncooked, or spicy foods.

Symptoms

Constipation is often the main symptom and also the cause. There may be itching, irritation, or discomfort around the anus. Pain and bleeding may occur during defecation. If the piles are external, pea-sized swellings can be seen and felt at the anus. Bleeding will more often occur if the Pitta Dosha is aggravated.

Ayurvedic

Aggravated Pitta Dosha (Ayurvedic humor representing Fire) causes digestive problems, which lead to the impairment of digestive fire (jatharagni) and accumulation of toxins (ama) in the digestive gut. These toxins impair the functioning of the digestive gut, causing irregular diarrhea and flatulence, and further leading to the aggravation of Vata Dosha (Ayurvedic humor representing Air). Aggravated Vata causes swelling of Hemorrhoids, a condition that is referred to as ‘Raktarsh' (bleeding piles) in Ayurveda.

Diet & Lifestyle Advice

· Avoid the intake of heavy, dry, cool, and stale foods
· Avoid refined foods like jams, pastries, packaged, and canned foods
· Also avoid tea, coffee, aerated drinks, and alcoholic beverages
· Avoid pickles, potatoes, and root vegetables except radish and carrot
· Avoid excessive fasting, overeating, eating during indigestion, and eating incompatible food
· Increase the intake of whole-wheat flour, whole grains, brown rice, barley, legumes (lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas, soybeans, etc.), buttermilk, rock salt, Indian gooseberries (amla), green leafy vegetables, and foods that are rich in fiber
· Eat more fruits including oranges, figs, strawberries, kiwis, bananas, pears, papayas, apples, grapes, and mangoes
· Increase daily liquid consumption in the form of water, soup, juice, milk, buttermilk, etc.
· Have freshly-prepared warm food with a little purified butter added
· Engage in light exercise like walking, yoga, and swimming
· Avoid sleeping during the daytime and waking up late in the night