If you’ve ever had hemorrhoids (also known as “piles”) you know how uncomfortable and worrisome they can be. If you haven’t had them yet, chances are you might develop them at some time in the future. Up to 75 percent of adults in Europe and North America experience hemorrhoids at some point in their lives. (source)
The good news is that in most cases, it’s not a serious condition. Hemorrhoids can be easily treated and prevented. There are lots of creams available from your local pharmacy that will cure your hemorrhoids in a week or two, but if you prefer something more natural, why not try essential oils? Read on to find out what are the best essential oils for hemorrhoids.
What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids or “piles” appear when the veins around or just inside the back passage become swollen and inflamed. (source) You will usually be able to see them if you use a mirror to examine the area – they look like small lumps under the skin often described as a “bunch of grapes”.
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
Your risk for developing hemorrhoids increases with age. They occur most often between the ages of 45 and 65. Men get them more than women but a woman is very likely to get hemorrhoids when she is pregnant.
The main cause of hemorrhoids is chronic constipation, lack of fiber in the diet and straining to move your stools frequently. Conversely, chronic diarrhoea can also cause hemorrhoids.
If you are obese, sit for long periods of time (especially on the toilet) or have a family history of hemorrhoids, you are also at higher risk. (source)
Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
There are many symptoms which can be used to identify whether or not you have hemorrhoids, but ideally you should have them diagnosed by a doctor. In mild cases you may have no symptoms at all. Some of the signs to look out for are:
- Light bleeding during bowel movements. This is usually painless and the blood will be bright red – signifying that it has come from near the exit of your digestive system
- Itching, discomfort and pain in the anal region
- Lumps protruding from or around the perimeter of the anal region
- Swelling in the anal region
The Best Essential Oils for Hemorrhoids
There are a few features to look for in an essential oil for hemorrhoids. Oils with a cooling or anti-inflammatory effect will bring down swelling and relieve pain. Antibacterial or antimicrobial oils will help prevent infection which is vitally important in this case. Here are are a few of the best essential oils for hemorrhoids:
1. Tea Tree Oil
Some evidence suggests that applying a gel containing tea tree oil reduces symptoms of hemorrhoids – such as pain, inflammation and itching. It also has antimicrobial properties. (source)
2. Chamomile Oil
3. Peppermint Oil
L-menthol is a compound naturally present in peppermint and similar plants. This is what gives peppermint oil it’s painkilling and anti-inflammatory properties. It has a cooling effect which, much like applying an ice pack, relieves pain and moderates inflammation It also reduces itching. (source)
4. Eucalyptus Oil
This Australian tree packs a powerful punch when it comes to healing properties. It’s antibacterial and antifungal, it is also suggested to have pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties. Always dilute eucalyptus oil before applying it to the skin as it can cause irritation. (source)
5. Wintergreen Oil
The wintergreen plant contains a natural form of aspirin. It reduces pain and swelling and also kills germs on the skin. (source)
6. Frankincense Oil
7. Rosemary Oil
An animal study published in the “Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin” showed that rosmarinic acid prevented inflammation. Beta-caryophyllene is another component of rosemary oil which may also be effective at alleviating pain. (source)
8. Thyme Oil
Thyme oil contains carvacrol, a compound believed to be responsible for its anti-inflammatory effects. It acts in a similar manner to many pharmaceutical drugs – reducing enzymes involved in inflammation by up to 75% (source)
How to Use Essential Oils for Hemorrhoids
Essential oils are very concentrated and may cause irritation when applied directly to the skin. Always dilute with water or a carrier oil such as almond oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, coconut oil or grapeseed oil in a ratio of 1 drop of essential oil to 1 tablespoon of carrier.
Once the essential oil has been diluted, you can apply a small amount directly to the affected area using a cotton pad. Alternatively, you can add some diluted essential oil to a wet wipe and use it to clean the area. Another option is to take a warm bath with a few drops of essential oil. This will allow you to benefit from both the topical and aromatherapy effects.
Finally, if you are suffering from a lot of pain and inflammation with your hemorrhoids, take a bowl of cool water, add 2-3 drops of essential oil and mix. Soak a cloth in the water and then squeeze it out to create a cold compress. Hold the compress against the area for minutes to calm inflammation. (source)
Other Tips for Treatment and Prevention of Hemorrhoids
If you suffer from constipation, you must adjust your diet to include more fiber or your hemorrhoids will keep returning. Eat lots of fruit, vegetables and whole grains and drink lots of fluids to keep your digestive system healthy.
Once you have hemorrhoids, it’s essential to keep the area clean to prevent infection, especially after using the toilet. Taking a bath can help, and using moist towelettes in place of toilet paper is a good idea.
Try to increase your physical activity, even walking for 30 minutes a day can go a long way to preventing hemorrhoids. If you are overweight, dropping a few pounds can help too.
If you have a lot of pain in the area, try using a cold compress or taking a painkiller such as ibuprofen or paracetamol.
Always avoid straining when passing bowel movements as it creates pressure in the veins of the rectum. Don’t sit on the toilet for too long. When you have the urge to go to the toilet, don’t wait a long time and hold it as this can cause dry stools, increasing the risk of hemorrhoids.
In serious cases, surgery may be necessary. Your doctor will determine what the most appropriate treatment is for your case. (source)
If you’re concerned about hemorrhoids, or they don’t improve after a week or so, it’s always best to have it checked out by your doctor. You may feel embarrassed or apprehensive but they see this type of thing all the time.
Bleeding from the back passage can be caused by more serious conditions such as colorectal cancer so it’s better to be safe than sorry and rule this out before treating yourself at home.
If you experience a lot of bleeding, dizziness, a significant change in bowel habits, your stools are very dark or there are blood clots mixed in with the stools, you should see a doctor immediately. (source)
Many essential oils are not safe to use if you are pregnant or suffering from an on ongoing health condition. Check the label or ask your healthcare professional if this applies to you.
I hope this article helps you get rid of your hemorrhoids. It’s important to treat them as soon as you notice them as they do usually get worse over time. Remember, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about, health care professionals see patients with hemorrhoids almost everyday so get it checked out quickly – the sooner you do so, the sooner you’ll be pile-free!