VARICOSE VEINS and other circulatory disorders (Page2 of 2)
The technical term is 'haemorrhoids'. The term 'piles' is often used for both true piles, which are basically varicose veins of the anus, and false piles, which are usually skin tags or polyps of the anal and rectal tissue. Haemorrhoids are caused by the same problems that cause varicose veins; pregnancy and constipation. However, if the circulation is sluggish, e.g. the heart is not working effectively, this also can result in haemorrhoids. Doctors don't help as we use the term interchangeably but the treatment is quite different.
Haemorrhoids can be internal or external. Internal haemorrhoids stay inside the rectum and cause discomfort and bleeding on opening ones bowels. External haemorrhoids drop down and cause pain, bleeding and difficulty in opening the bowels.
Skin tags become inflamed and itchy.
Occasionally, external haemorrhoids can bleed in to themselves and cause a small blood clot that is surprisingly painful, given the size of the problem. A simple drainage operation by your GP or surgeon can solve this problem and arnica is very helpful when taken afterwards.
Homeopathically, hamamelis, calc.fluor and arnica are excellent for haemorrhoids and some of the commercial homeopathic haemorrhoid creams have a mixture of these remedies in them. If the skin of the anus has become cracked, giving rise to the symptoms of violent cutting pains lasting for hours after the bowels have been opened, nit.ac. can be a real help. Such symptoms often are given the diagnosis of an 'anal fissure'. Haemorrhoids associated with marked constipation with the desire to open ones bowels but with little effect on trying, particularly in a stressed person (typically the 'uptight executive'), do well with nux.vomica.
Moving away from the troubles of varicose veins and haemorrhoids, the third vein related problem is that of cold hands and feet. Being a sufferer myself, I know only too well how painful this can be. Sneaking in to bed wearing bed socks may not be very glamorous but it is exceedingly practical.
Cold hands and feet may be due to your particular metabolism ('lack of vital heat' in homeopathic terms) or to failings in the arteries, veins or lungs. A particular problem, known as Raynauds disease, affects predominantly women and has no known cause. Symptoms normally occur in both hands and are made worse by cold weather. Affected fingers go through a set pattern of colour change; white, blue then red. This is due to changes in the small blood vessels in the fingers, constriction followed by slowing of the blood supply and then dilation. If it is due to an illness such as sclerosis or diseases of the arteries that cause narrowing, the symptoms are known as Raynaud's phenomenon. This can also affect pneumatic drill users when it is known as 'vibration finger'. Remedies to help include calc.carb which may also help those who suffer from cold feet at night. Cuprum can help when the soles are burning but the rest of the foot feels cold. Sulphur is very useful when people suffer from the sensation of cold feet but the skin is warm to the touch. Phosphorus will help when the hands feel cold but are actually warm. Blue hands and feet do well with carbo.veg. and if the person is older, then baryta carb. may be used for the same symptoms. Several of the homeopathic remedies deriving from snake venom are used for circulatory problems. This relates to the fact that the effect of venom from the bushmaster snake (lachesis), rattlesnake (crotalus) and cobra (elaps) is to cause swelling and paralysis with pooling of the blood in affected areas. In homeopathy, use of a substance that causes symptoms similar to those that one is trying to cure is the basis of the 'like cures like' principle.
Having discussed problems of the veins, what can go wrong with the arteries?
High blood pressure or hypertension affects over 16 million people in the UK and is a major cause of strokes. Ninety per cent of cases are 'idiopathic' or with no known cause. Common factors that accentuate the risk of raised blood pressure include smoking, being overweight and lack of exercise together with other conditions such as heart disease (for example, blocked arteries due to cholesterol or arteriosclerosis) or diabetes. By reducing your blood pressure, you considerably lower the risk of having a stroke. It is possible to make a full recovery from circulatory problems such as a heart attack caused by a blood clot in the arteries supplying the heart itself but a stroke can often leave life-changing residual disability. Eating healthily, taking regular exercise and not smoking can make a huge difference to your wellbeing. If your blood pressure is raised, it is always wise to seek medical advice from your GP, practice nurse or hospital doctor. Contrary to popular belief, blood pressure has very few symptoms and is usually found by accident when seeing the doctor for an unrelated problem or as part of a routine medical. Because of this, it can be difficult to treat homeopathically but a well-chosen remedy selected on the basis of your personality, likes, dislikes and general symptoms such as temperature preferences can help, particularly when taken alongside conventional medication ('constitutional prescribing'). As a GP, I am a firm believer in using conventional medication if symptoms can not be controlled solely using homeopathic remedies. Often, lower doses of conventional ('allopathic') medicines may be used together with a homeopathic remedy.
Nat.mur is a good remedy for hypertension, as it is based on sea salt and the link between excessive levels of salt in the diet and raised blood pressure are well-recognised. People who do well with this remedy are often good listeners but are reticent themselves and tend to bottle things up. They are sensitive and find it difficulty in crying in front of strangers.
A common side effect of the group of allopathic medications known as 'ACE inhibitors' is that of a dry, irritating cough. These treatments are used to address hypertension and other heart problem and although the medication can be changed, the cough can take some time to settle. I discovered by accident that conium, with the prominent symptom of 'cough, with expectoration only after long coughing', can be an excellent remedy for this problem, taken at 30C strength daily until the cough is relieved.
Angina is simply cramp in the heart muscle and may be due either to spasm of the coronary arteries (those supplying blood to the heart itself) or to poor blood supply due to narrowing of the arteries due to arteriosclerosis. If there is a complete blockage of the blood supply, leading to a damaged heart muscle, then this is a step on from angina and is a heart attack or 'myocardial infarction'. Preventing raised cholesterol levels, and therefore prevention of arteriosclerosis, is very important. The fitter the heart, the fitter the body. Diet can help but most of us make too much cholesterol as well as taking it in our diet so it may be that conventional medication is needed in order for it to be lowered past danger levels to health.
The predominant symptom of angina is a feeling of intense pressure in the chest and has be likened by some suffers as being sat on by an elephant. Homeopathic remedies for angina can sometimes reflect this sensation of tightness in the chest. The symptoms of angina are a feeling of restriction in the central chest area but can also give rise to pain in the neck or jaw or an aching sensation in the left arm. Cactus is probably one of the best well-known angina remedies with its hall-mark symptom of 'constriction' 'as if of an iron band' when referring to chest pain. It also has the key symptoms of 'palpitation shooting down the left arm'. It is the remedy that I tend to start with first, usually alongside conventional medication. If there is no improvement with cactus, then glonoine may help. Glonoine is related to glyceryl trinitrate ('GTN'), which is used as a very effective treatment for angina, taken either as a spray in the mouth, or as a small tablet dissolved under the tongue. However, as a practising GP, I would always urge any person who experiences a feeling of pressure in the chest to seek immediate help or advice from their doctor or medical advisor.
Finally, I would like to discuss progressive heart failure. This somewhat frightening title belies a relatively common condition. The medical profession has considered many names to describe the symptoms that result from the heart not working effectively, however no suitable name has yet been found. It is the heart not working efficiently as a pump which leads to poor oxygenation of the blood (causing breathlessness and tiredness) and sluggish circulation (leading to fluid collecting in the lungs and/or legs). In old-fashioned terms, this is 'dropsy'. Fortunately nowadays, there are many allopathic medications to reduce or remove these distressing symptoms. To minimise their use, or to help them work more effectively, there are a variety of homeopathic remedies to take. Cactus has already been mentioned with the addition of the symptoms 'fear of death', 'heart weakness of atherosclerosis' and 'ice cold hands', normally found in people suffering from progressive heart failure. Crataegus, or hawthorn, has been used as a remedy for hundreds of years, being mentioned in Culpepper's Herbal as an 'invaluable treatment for dropsy'. It may be used homeopathically either in tincture form or in potency.
So these are a few of the problems of the circulatory system that may be helped by homeopathy. These however, are not the only conditions that may benefit but are some of the most common in the Western World.
Therefore, I hope that this article may prove useful by raising awareness of these problems and how Homeopathy can help.
© Dr Jenifer Worden 15.2.06 Page 2 of 2 Please click here to return to page 1