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Is Vitamin C an Effective Treatment for Hemorrhoids?

Vitamin C is an amazing vitamin for many functions in the body. Research suggests that vitamin C may be a relatively unknown cure that can help heal and prevent hemorrhoids. Find out more below.
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Do you know what a hemorrhoid really is? Hemorrhoids (otherwise known as piles) are a vital part of human anatomy. They are not blisters or boils, but are veins in the anus.

You always have hemorrhoids, but if blood pools in the veins and has trouble getting back to the heart (caused by gravity, weak veins, and extra pressure on the area), this will stretch and weaken the veins. In some cases, the blood may flow backward, which can happen because these veins have no valves to prevent blood from flowing the wrong way (unlike legs, which have a series of valves all through the leg veins to prevent swelling).

Two forms of hemorrhoids can form due to this condition. Internal hemorrhoids are swollen veins on the inside of the rectum. Usually, you cannot feel an internal hemorrhoid, although you may see a little blood after a bowel movement. If these hemorrhoids swell extra large, they could lead to a prolapse of the vein, which causes the vein to slip out of the anus. However, once the swelling goes down, the hemorrhoids will return to their original location.

The second form of hemorrhoid is the painful, itchy kind. This form of hemorrhoid forms around the anus opening. Any extra pressure, rubbing, or chafing can make these bleed.

In most cases, both forms of hemorrhoids are not dangerous- just painful and annoying. If you have frequent prolapsing hemorrhoids (typically caused by poor vein health) that lead to blood clots, your doctor may recommend that they be removed. If a clotted hemorrhoid goes on for too long, it can lead to moderate to severe pain. Since, hemorrhoids are veins, the best way to prevent their annoying and painful appearance in your life is to boost the health of your veins.

Luckily, there are many remedies that can improve the health of your veins, including the commonly-used vitamin C.

Why Do I Have Hemorrhoids?

Usually, hemorrhoids are caused by too much pressure during bowel movements (although pressure for other reasons can lead to the development of hemorrhoids, like pregnancy or childbirth). Weak veins will also make hemorrhoids more likely. Although hemorrhoids are common and usually easy to treat on your own, you may want to call a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

Call a Doctor If:

  • You have dark red blood when wiping
  • If bleeding is not triggered by pressure, chafing, or a bowel movement
  • If the area has throbbing pain
  • If daily bleeding is severe (requires the use of a pad to absorb the blood or is noticeable on clothing)

How Does Vitamin C Help Hemorrhoids?

As mentioned above, vitamin C is a wonderful vitamin to add to your supplement routine to help fight hemorrhoids. Vitamin C works to improve vein health and provides several benefits that can prevent the formation of hemorrhoids and help them heal faster. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, and humans do not make the vitamin in their bodies. This means that you have to consume vitamin C every day to ensure you have enough to keep your veins healthy (not to mention the millions of other ways that vitamin C benefits the body).

Vitamin C is necessary for enzymatic reactions, for the biosynthesis of collagen and catecholamines, and is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C has been found to tone and shrink veins, and maintain the integrity of blood vessels (prevent blood from flowing backward and prevent fluid from leaking out of the blood vessels). Citrus fruit (and some vitamin C supplements) also contains bioflavonoids which are able to reduce the severity of hemorrhoids and strengthen the veins. Specifically, rutin may be helpful in preventing hemorrhoid symptoms and promoting healthy blood vessels.

Other Benefits of Vitamin C
  • Fights urinary tract infections
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Relieves hot flashes
  • Prevents gingivitis
  • Eases lupus symptoms
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Prevents glaucoma
  • Heals ear infections and the common cold
  • Reduces asthma risk
  • Reduces arthritis symptoms
  • Prevents herpes outbreaks
  • Helps prevent cancer

Scientific Backing for Vitamin C as a Hemorrhoid Cure

Although few studies have looked at vitamin C and how it could influence hemorrhoids directly, a few studies have examined the benefits of vitamin C in combination with other remedies. For the biggest benefit in fighting hemorrhoids, vitamin C should be used in addition to other vitamins and supplements. Combining the powers and benefits of multiple sources will help strengthen the blood faster and eliminate current flare-ups sooner.

Bioflavonoids are particularly beneficial in combo with vitamin C as the two nutrients work together to strengthen blood vessel walls. In 1988, researchers from the University of Siena examined the benefits of a mixture of butcher’s broom, a bioflavonoid (hesperidin), and vitamin C on chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). 40 patients were treated with this mixture or a placebo for 2 months. At the end of the study, the participants taking the vitamin C mixture showed improved vein health over the placebo.

A comparison study from 2000 conducted by the Spanish Hospital of Buenos Aires, researches tested butcher’s broom, bioflavonoids, and vitamin C against a synthetic flavonoid product for treating CVI. 80 patients were given the vitamin C mixture or the synthetic version of the flavonoid and tested at 30, 60 and 90 days. The researchers found that individuals using the vitamin C mixture showed better results than those who used the synthetic mixture.

How to Use Vitamin C for Hemorrhoids

Vitamin C is a common vitamin, available in a lot more than orange juice. When taking vitamin C as a cure for hemorrhoids, it is important to also remember to take bioflavonoids. You can do this by eating natural sources of bioflavonoids (citrus fruit, red and blue fruit) or ensuring that your supplement includes both vitamin C and bioflavonoids.

The FDA recommends that men consume around 90 mg of vitamin C daily, while women consume about 75 mg daily. However, studies have not found any adverse effects to taking up to 10 grams a day (other than mild stomach upset and diarrhea). Individuals with hemorrhoids may not want to take more than 2 grams a day, as diarrhea can make hemorrhoid symptoms worse.

Foods with High Vitamin C Content 
  • Red bell peppers (95 mg per serving)
  • Orange juice (93 mg per serving)
  • Grapefruit juice (70 mg per serving)
  • Kiwifruit (64 mg per serving)
  • Green bell peppers (60 mg per serving)
  • Broccoli (51 mg per serving)
  • Strawberries (49 mg per serving)

Supplements Synergistic with Vitamin C

Certain supplements can increase the benefit of vitamin C and reduce hemorrhoid pain at the same time. 

Citrus Bioflavonoids

Citrus bioflavonoids are present in all citrus fruits, and may be one of the biggest helpers for improving vein health and preventing hemorrhoids. In the studies referenced above, a combination of butcher’s broom, vitamin C, and citrus bioflavonoids was helpful in reducing CVI. If this combo can help something as severe as CVI, it should definitely benefit the occurrence of hemorrhoids.

Butcher’s Broom

Butcher’s broom may be one of the most effective treatments for all vein problems, from simple circulatory issues to healing thrombosis. It is also extremely effective at healing and preventing hemorrhoids. Butcher’s broom works by strengthening tissues, tightening veins, and preventing fluid loss. Butcher’s broom also has the added benefit of containing its own flavonoids that further strengthen the veins.

Bilberry

Bilberry is another beneficial fruit that can help prevent hemorrhoids. Bilberry is used to treat inflammation, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins. In a study from 1974 published in the journal “Medicina,” researchers looked at 40 patients with hemorrhoids. 20 participants were given placebo and 20 were given bilberry extract. Participants supplementing with bilberry showed significant improvement over participants taking placebo. Bilberry is so well thought-of in Germany and Europe that it is one of the top selling supplements in the country.

What Else Can I Do to Heal Hemorrhoids?

Aside from taking supplements to prevent the development of hemorrhoids in the future, you can take steps today to soothe and heal any current hemorrhoids that you may have. Witch hazel is a powerful anti-inflammatory that is recommended as a topical hemorrhoid treatment. You may also try soaking in an oatmeal bath if you have painful itching. Over-the-counter topical treatments may also bring relief.

Additionally, what you eat is important when you have hemorrhoid flare-ups. Spicy foods, constipating foods, and substances like coffee, alcohol, and tobacco could make hemorrhoids worse. Avoid these items until your hemorrhoids disappear.

You may find it helpful to add fiber to your diet to promote healthy elimination, but be careful if you choose this option. If you already have a build-up of stool in the intestines (caused by chronic constipation), adding additional fiber could make stool too large to pass comfortably.

Clearing Hemorrhoids with Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and a necessary vitamin for many vital functions of the body. Vitamin C is most famous for its immune supporting benefits, but it can do so much more- like prevent hemorrhoids from forming. Vitamin C is able to boost the health of your veins and prevent hemorrhoids from flaring up. By adding vitamin C (along with other vein healing supplements) to your diet, you will ensure your veins function as healthfully as they can- preventing painful issues like hemorrhoids.

Sources


http://www.wholehealthchicago.com/155/hemorrhoids/http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/

vitamins/vitaminC/

http://wholehealthmd.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=&nm=Healing+Kitchen&type=AWHN_FoodRemedies&mod=Food+Remedies&tier=

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