Hemorrhoids: Do We Really Need To Talk About THEM?
by Yosef Pollack, L.Ac.
Well, yes, I think we should! Many people suffer from this ailment and for many it can be extremely painful and uncomfortable. Moreover, since acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine work great to relieve this pain in the…ahem…I think it deserves a little discussion.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids mean swollen tissue in the rectum or anal wall. Most of us have them at one time or another, but for some people they can be a real problem. They may become large, develop blood clots, get inflamed, itch and/or bleed. This can cause blood in your stools. For the minority of people who suffer from them, they can be painful.
TCM and Hemorrhoids
Here is one ailment where western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine see eye-to-eye. Both blame eating too much of the wrong things, bad digestion, and other digestive system troubles. TCM also says that they are often caused by holding too much in emotionally. This ‘stagnation’ may lead to digestive problems, constipation, acid reflux and possibly hemorrhoids.
For TCM, the cause for hemorrhoids is either a deficiency of qi in the spleen, stagnation of blood in the spleen or other organs, or too much damp heat. Wind or dryness in the intestines may be causes as well.
How TCM and Acupuncture Treat Hemorrhoids
There are different stages of hemorrhoids, depending on their severity. As you go up the scale, they become more severe and painful. Traditional Chinese medicine is successful in treating hemorrhoids that are at the 1st or 2nd stage. Once it has progressed to the 3rd or 4th stage, it takes surgery to get them removed.
The usual method in TCM is acupuncture. It has shown very good results in treating the condition. After diagnosis, the doctor will insert needles into key points. The purpose of the needles is to free the flow of blocked qi releasing the stagnation. This has an effect on the central nervous system that opens the nerve pathways leading to the anus.
Oddly enough, they may also stick needles in the area around your ears. It doesn’t sound too pleasant but it gets results! The ears have points related to the large intestine, which can be the area of concern. There are also points connected to the anal region and spleen. Acupuncture here can really help. To treat hemorrhoids, you will have a few to several treatments of about 20 to 30 minutes. The doctor may also use moxibustion, or the burning of moxa leaves close to the skin. Treatment may also include herbal remedies such as bitter teas that help with digestion. They are not so tasty, but they will help!
Traditional Chinese medicine has been very successful at treating hemorrhoids. It is good to get this problem taken care of quickly before it gets to its advanced stages. Remember…’Don’t wait till dying of thirst to dig well’ ~ old Chinese doctor.
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