Did Hemorrhoids Take Down the French Empire?

  • Napoleon’s struggle with a well-known medical condition may have rendered him useless to his army
  • 75 percent of all people may find themselves enmeshed in a battle with this uncomfortable condition during their lifetime
  • Don’t let pain and discomfort change the course of your history. Find out how to prevent it with these easy tips

Dear Reader,

Picture it.

It’s a warm June day in Europe. You can feel the pounding of horse hooves shaking the ground beneath you and smell the cannon fire hanging in the air. You sink deeper into sullen feelings as you hear the sounds of swords making contact and men screaming as they meet their fate on the battlefield. You are forced to lie paralyzed by great pain in your commander’s tent — knowing you are in too much pain to help your army as they continue to battle the British and Prussian armies.

Suddenly, a high-ranking French officer bursts into your tent and demands you mount your horse and go survey the battlefield.

“We need you out there! It’s the only hope we have to win, sir!” he screams.

You try to stand up. But, you fall right back down. The pain, burning, bleeding, and itching are just too intense for you to go on. As you lie in the tent, you know that you have lost not only this battle, but your reign as emperor of France.

In this scenario, it’s June 18, 1815, and you are Napoleon Bonaparte. You have just succumbed to defat in the Battle of Waterloo.

And the reason why you couldn’t mount your horse to survey the battlefield? Or help your men stave off the advances of the enemy? Or defend your title as the emperor of France?

Because your body is already at war. And not with opposing military forces, but with a hellacious bout of hemorrhoids (also called piles).

That’s right. According to some historians, Napoleon may have lost the Battle of Waterloo due to an extreme case of piles.2

An accurate portrait of Napoleon at Waterloo — standing while in visible pain.
Photo Credit: sainthelenaisland.info

It’s pretty shocking to think such a common, slightly embarrassing condition may have changed the course of history.

But when faced with the fact that 75 percent of people will suffer from hemorrhoids at some point in their lives, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched.2

Today, Living Well Daily is going to lead your through the facts about hemorrhoids. We will discuss what hemorrhoids are, how they are formed, and, most importantly, how to prevent them from becoming your personal Battle of Waterloo.

--The Battleground in Your Body

Have you gone to the bathroom and found blood in the water when you’re done? Or experienced itching, burning, pain, and pressure of the rectum?

These are the common symptoms of hemorrhoids. And if none of this sounds familiar now, as I mentioned above, you have three in four chance of experiencing at some point in your life.

If you are over age 50, there is a one in two chance that you already have.2

You may be wondering by now: What exactly are hemorrhoids? Let me explain…

Located just under the lining of the bottommost portion of the anus and the rectum, there is a network of soft veins. When these veins become enlarged and inflamed (usually cause by pressure), it creates a hemorrhoid. Hemorrhoids come in two different varieties, internal and external.

Figure 1 Photo credit: webnat.com

Internal hemorrhoids happen in the lower rectum. While internal hemorrhoids are typically painless, they can produce bleeding than can be seen in the toilet bowl on or on toilet paper after a bowel movement. However, if an internal hemorrhoid becomes prolapsed (when the vein protrudes beyond the anus) it can cause irritation or itching at the site.3

External hemorrhoids can cause pain because they develop under the skin near the anus. In fact, this type of hemorrhoid compromises the skin and causes irritation, and sometimes results in a blood clot. If a blood clot forms, it can cause extreme pain along with a lump close to the anus.3 If Napoleon did have hemorrhoids, it was likely this type.

Hemorrhoids can be caused by any type of added pressure on your blood vessels. This includes actions like straining you muscles during bowel movements, pregnancy, obesity, sitting for long periods of time on the toilet, and improper diet.

And while hemorrhoids already disrupt the lives of over 10 million Americans at any given time, Google Trends indicate this number could be increasing.

America’s interested has almost doubled over the last 10 years.

When I did a trend search, I found that Google searches for “hemorrhoids” has come close to doubling in the last 10 years.

In fact, hemorrhoids was the most searched health term on Google from 2012–2014.4

While factors like growing computer use and competency may play a role in this climbing number, it may also indicate that lots of cases of hemorrhoids going unreported.

The rapid increase in obesity may also be to blame here. Extra weight on the body can result in restricted blood flow and increased pressure on blood vessels. This added pressure can compromise vein strength and cause the veins to erupt. Obesity is also linked to sedentary lifestyle, poor eating habits, low levels of physical exercise, and irregular bowel movements, which is the main source of hemorrhoids growth.5

Even though it may seem inevitable that you will experience your personal Battle of Waterloo with hemorrhoids, there are a few ways to keep them at bay.

Exercising for 20–30 minutes a day may help stimulate regular bowel movements, which can be helpful in the battle against hemorrhoid development.

Another preventative measure against hemorrhoids is collagen. A study published in Colorectal Disease found that patients suffering from hemorrhoids have significantly reduced collagen ratios compared with those without hemorrhoids.6

Because collagen may help to support vein repair, adding a collagen supplement may be a good defense tactic in your battle against hemorrhoids.7

It’s important to note that hemorrhoids symptoms may sometimes be indicators of more serious conditions like colon cancer and irritable bowel disease. Be sure to contact your health care provider if you experience any blood in your bowel movements or any changes in your digestive health.

If Napoleon had only know hemorrhoid prevention and was so easy, perhaps we would all be reading this article in French.

If you have any natural hemorrhoid hacks, tell me about them! Nmoore@lfb.org

Live well,

Natalie Moore
Managing editor, Living Well Daily


Sources

[1] 7 Things You May Not Know About the Battle of Waterloo

[2] Hemorrhoids

[3] Hemorrhoids and what to do about them

[4] Eliminating Hemorrhoids Once And For All

[5] Obesity And Hemorrhoids: What’s The Connection?

[6] Haemorrhoids – a collagen disease?

[7] Linus Pauling’s Unified Theory of Human Cardiovascular Disease

Natalie Moore

Written By Natalie Moore

Natalie Moore is a dedicated health researcher with a passion for finding healthy, natural, and science-based solutions. After a decade of direct healthcare experience in western and natural medicine, she was involved in public health research before joining Living Well Daily.

View More Free Articles

Nutty Solution CRACKS the Weight Loss Code

I’ve been preaching the nut gospel for years… they’re delicious and (despite the rumors) won’t make you fat. Now, new research is backing me up in a BIG way. The study found that eating nuts is excellent for weight CONTROL. Many soul-crushing, joy-killing diets have you count every calorie and leave you feeling famished and...

Read This

Diet Trick Slashes Multiple Sclerosis Risk

Multiple sclerosis (MS) only strikes younger people… right? So, if you’ve reached your senior years, you should be in the clear. Not so fast. It turns out the number of older folks being diagnosed with MS is rising. In fact, it has been since the 1970s right along with the overall number of diagnoses—it’s just...

Read This

Man smells lemon to test his heart health

Could Your NOSE Save Your Life?

The human body is both super weird and incredibly cool. Case in point: There’s evidence that our sense of SMELL can send us secret signals… About our HEART. That’s right, your nose could be trying to tell you something about your ticker. And not listening could be a fatal mistake. As odd as it sounds,...

Read This

7 BETTER THAN Soda Alternatives

Some folks may be tired of hearing me say soda is the devil, but I’m going to repeat it anyway because it is. After all, soda is stuffed with harmful, inflammatory sugar. And if there’s one change you can make that will have a HUGE impact on your health, it’s swearing off the sweet stuff....

Read This

“Emotional” Trigger Sends Stroke Risk Soaring 56%

Back in the day, we didn’t “talk about our feelings.” Instead, we were supposed to quietly suffer and pretend everything was fine. Thankfully, that has started to change. We now understand you can’t separate physical and mental health. They’re one and the same. In fact, mental health—loneliness in particular—has been making headlines the last few...

Read This

Senior man in blue shirt holds up hearing aid

Mailbag: Are Hearing Aids Worth It?

“My hearing seems to be deteriorating, and I often find myself asking people to repeat themselves. My kids want me to get hearing aids, but is it really worth it?” – George Hi George, I totally understand your concerns about investing in hearing aids. It’s a big decision, and it’s natural to wonder if it’s...

Read This

Citrus Secret to Better Heart Health REVEALED

Looking out for your heart health is VITAL as you age. After all, we only get ONE ticker that’s got to last us a lifetime. And you’re not going to believe this, but a powerful tool for boosting our heart health has been hiding in plain sight all along. Even worse, we’ve been tossing it...

Read This

Dig Up This Sleep Solution in Your Own Backyard

Getting a good night’s sleep as you age can sure be a challenge! Desperation for getting some decent shuteye can have you trying every potion, device, and technique on the planet. But what if the solution is the earth itself? Let me explain… A new study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that...

Read This

Cracking the Vitamin D Dosage Code

When it comes vitamin D, I might be accused of sounding like a broken record. (Well, by those old enough to understand the reference, anyway.) But I’ll risk that reputation, because it really IS a vital vitamin. After all, vitamin D is essential for MANY health-related functions, including… Maintaining strong bones by promoting calcium absorption...

Read This

MILLIONS on Statins Who Shouldn’t Be

Looks like the statin-pushers have finally run out of excuses to peddle their pills to everyone with a pulse. Of course, I’ve already been banging this drum for years. Statins are NOT the miracle cure Big Pharma wants you to believe. Instead, they come with a laundry list of side effects that can make your...

Read This