Best home remedy for piles

Piles, or haemorrhoids, are an affliction unique to humans and the roll call of famous sufferers include Martin Luther, Cardinal Richlieu, Copernicus and Casanova. Napoleon was a life-long sufferer and a particularly bad attack on the eve of Waterloo, it is alleged, was an important contributory factor to the defeat of his army by Wellington.

Piles are caused by the prolapse of the veins around the anal canal which are then pinched tight by the muscles of the anal sphincter, resulting in bleeding and intense pain. A standard treatment available from the chemist without prescription is a cream containing a mild steroid and a local anaesthetic such as Anugesic. There are in addition a range of home remedies that can be tried.

A hot bath: Hot baths can often cure a milder case of haemorrhoids and prevent their recurrence.

Ice: Cold constricts the blood vessels as well as having a local anaesthetic effect. The pile sufferer
is advised to sit naked on a chair on which has been placed ice cubes (or a packet of frozen vegetables) wrapped in a clean towel.

Laxatives: Constipation can, by causing straining at stool, precipitate an attack of piles, while the pain of piles, by discouraging defecation, can cause constipation. In either situation, loosening the stool and increasing its bulk with a high intake of fluid and fibre is an appropriate treatment (see Constipation).

Vaseline; A thin layer of Vaseline just inside the anus will ease the passage of the stool and thus relieve pain on defecation.

Mistletoe: Mr J. R. from Hertfordshire reports: 'After a hectic time preparing for Christmas my haemorrhoids returned. I recently read that the application of mistletoe was a suggested cure, so I thought why not. My local friendly florist was pleased to give me the berries waiting to be thrown away. After washing them and applying between two pieces of gauze I experienced wonderful relief and a complete cure. The moral is — have your haemorrhoids over Christmas.'

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