Piles, also known as haemorrhoids, are when the veins located in the lower rectum and the anal canal become swollen and dilated. These dilated veins (varicose veins) become convoluted beneath the tissue layers and appear similar to a ball of hair covered by a cloth. Such a protrusion is known as a pile mass.
What are the causes?
Piles may occur due to straining during bowel movement. It often occurs in the case of chronic constipation where increased pressure is required in order to make the bowels move out of the rectum and anal canal. Hard stools may also contribute to worsening the condition by exerting added pressure to the dilated veins. Piles may also develop during pregnancy due to the additional weight in the pelvic region or as a trauma during child birth. Cirrhosis of the liver may cause pooling of blood in the anal vessel also resulting in piles.
Additionally, Ayurveda designates the occurrence of piles due to habitual consumption of constipating foods such as potatoes, cabbage, channa (chick peas), split peas, spicy foods and excessively dry foods. Similarly suppression of the urge to pass flatulence and stools can lead to chronic constipation and eventually haemorrhoids. Constant use of hard seats and continuous pressure exerted on the anal sphincter may also cause piles to develop.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of piles include
- Pain and pressure inside the anal canal
- Small, round lump either on the anus or inside the anal canal
- Itching and soreness around the anus
- Blood stained stools or bleeding during passing stools
- In certain conditions, a pile mass may come out while passing stools and then retract back into the anal canal
What are the types of haemorrhoids?
There are generally two types of haemorrhoids.
- Internal: The pile mass lies inside the rectum. It usually causes discomfort during passing stools and can bleed if the stools are too hard or if more pressure is exerted.
- External: The pile mass is located under the skin on the outside of the anus.This type of piles can be irritating and painful and may often bleed if disturbed.
Haemorrhoids may also be classified according to the degree of severity.
- First degree: This is a type of internal pile which may or may not bleed, usually of a recent on set and stays within the anal canal.
- Second degree: Slightly more severe than first degree piles in that it can prolapse or come out of the anal canal while passing stools and will retract inwards after completion of defecation.
- Third degree: The pile mass always lies outside the anal canal, tends to bleed more while passing stools and can be pushed back into the anal canal.
- Forth degree: The most severe type of piles, where the mass is always outside the anal canal and cannot be pushed back inside the anal canal. This type of haemorrhoids is very painful and has profuse bleeding. Blood clots may form within the pile mass and it may become enlarged.
Classical Ayurvedic texts states two types of haemorrhoids.
- Sushka – Dry or with no discharge. This type of piles will not be associated with bleeding. Similar to internal piles or first and second degree piles.
- Sravi – Piles with discharge or bleeding piles. Similar to third and forth degree piles.
Can piles be prevented?
Yes, you can prevent the occurrence of piles. Avoiding all the causative factors as mentioned above will reduce the chances of developing piles.
What is the treatment as per Ayurveda for haemorrhoids?
The combination of KachnaarGuggul, VaraChurna, Sanjivanivati and Digestion Support works as an effective Ayurveda treatment.
The Ayurveda medicines for piles (like kachnaarGuggul) not only focus on shrinking the pile mass, but herbal remedies like Sanjivanivati and Digestion support help in the digestive process, which leads to less likelihood of piles.
Haemorrhoids can be treated with either Kshara sutra or Kshara karma which are both Ayurvedic surgical procedures. It involves the application of organic alkalies that promote removal of excess tissues and proliferation and healing of normal tissues.
What is Kshara Sutra?
Kshara Sutra is a seton thread medicated with organic alkalis, such as Apamargakshara (Achyranthesaspera), Arkakshara (Caltropisgigantea) or Snuhikshara (Euphorbia lingularia). The alkali is repeatedly coated on the seton thread 15 – 21 times. Apart from this, natural antibiotic like haridra powder, guggulu, etc are also used to make Ksharasutra. The mechanical action of the threads and the chemical action of the drugs coated , collectively do the work of cutting, curetting, draining, and cleaning thus promoting healing of the tissues. This also acts both as the antiseptic and fibrotic agent to induce healing. This can be applied and changed periodically till the thread cuts the pile mass.
What is Kshara Karma?
Kshara Karma is an Ayurvedic surgical procedure that involves the application of caustic alkalis such as Apamargakshara (Achyranthesaspera), Arkakshara (Caltropisgigantea) or Snuhikshara (Euphorbia lingularia) to cauterize and arrest the blood flow to the pile mass. Within 1-2 weeks of the procedure the pile mass will shrivel up and fall off leaving so scar tissue on the anal canal.
What are the benefits of Kshara Karma?
- Post-operative pain is mild
- No bleeding
- One day procedure, minimal hospitalization
- Due to no scar tissue formation, no chance of incontinence of stools
- Minimal chance of reoccurrence
What is the chance of haemorrhoids reoccurring?
There is minimal to no chance of haemorrhoids reoccurring if treated with kshara sutra or kshara karma. The kshara has a proliferative effect that induces the generation of new healthy tissue and prevents the reoccurrence of this condition.