Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
What causes hemorrhoids and how can I treat them?
A: Hemorrhoids are swollen, inflamed veins in the rectum that can ache and bleed. They are very common and are usually caused by constipation, a low-fiber diet, a sedentary lifestyle, or pregnancy.
Adopting a high-fiber diet, sitting down less, getting plenty of exercise, and maintaining regular bowel habits can significantly improve your chances of not getting hemorrhoids.
Medical treatment consists mainly of stool softeners and moist heat. In more severe cases, surgical procedures may be used.
The natural treatments used for varicose veins are also often recommended for hemorrhoids because a hemorrhoid is actually a special kind of varicose vein. These include horse chestnut, OPCs, gotu kola, butcher’s broom, and bilberry. I would suggest you consult a licensed acupuncturist/herbalist to obtain a specific prescription.
You may also find the specially formulated Traditions of Tao product “Abundant Energy” to be helpful with hemorrhoids. Of course, discuss with your physician before beginning any new health regime.