1 in 20 people suffer from hemorrhoids, also referred to as piles. Symptoms range from mild irritation to extreme pain that disrupts your lifestyle.
Yet, certain techniques can prevent or provide relief for those affected by hemorrhoids. Your diet and lifestyle choices play a big role in managing this condition. Certain foods can help to reduce symptoms while others can cause a flare-up.
Read on to learn more about finding the best diet for those that suffer from hemorrhoids.
The Main Causes of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids result from inflamed veins in the anus and rectum. This can cause sensitivity, itching, hemorrhoid pain, and bleeding. They also make bowel movements more painful and difficult and may produce mucus discharge.
Certain activities or situations can cause a flare-up to occur. This includes bathroom habits like straining while trying to pass a stool. Doing this may cause rectal veins to swell.
Waiting too long to go to the bathroom can harden your stools and make them more uncomfortable. Be sure to use a comfortable sitting position when going to the bathroom. Don't stay on the toilet for long periods as this creates extra pressure.
Heavy lifting or an inactive lifestyle may also contribute to hemorrhoids. Sitting for long periods of time puts a strain on your rectal veins. Weight gain is another cause of this condition.
Some people develop hemorrhoids after an illness that causes repetitive constipation or diarrhea. You can even get hemorrhoids from coughing too much or too intensely.
Hemorrhoids often occur in pregnancy for many women as well. This is caused by an increase in weight and pressure on the organs.
An unhealthy diet leads to constipation and other digestive problems. Hemorrhoids can develop from this and symptoms can worsen.
The Best Diet for Hemorrhoidal Sufferers
The right diet can help prevent hemorrhoids and find relief from their symptoms. Here are 5 helpful tips to follow a proper diet for hemorrhoids sufferers.
1. Stay Hydrated All Day Long
One important tip is to drink plenty of water. This keeps you well hydrated and helps with bowel movements. Aim for at least 8 glasses of water a day.
Constipation can come from dehydration, which only complicates hemorrhoids further. Drinking plenty of water also helps you digest fiber to avoid constipation.
It helps to consume foods with high water content as well. Watermelon, celery, and cucumbers are all great choices.
2. Fill up on Plenty of Fiber
A hemorrhoids high fiber diet helps to regulate your bowel movements. It increases the amount of water in your stools and also makes your stools more normal and easier to pass. Fiber can reduce symptoms of hemorrhoids and make it less likely that bleeding will occur.
Fiber is also important for keeping you feeling fuller for longer. This means you're less likely to snack on unhealthy foods that can cause digestive issues.
Along with protein, it's a key nutrient for those who follow a regular workout routine. Physical activity is another helpful way to avoid hemorrhoids.
Be sure to include both soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet. Soluble fiber makes it easier to dissolve food in water. Insoluble fiber helps bowels to move along through the intestines.
Some of the best food for hemorrhoids includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Broccoli, apples, black beans, pears, peas, lentils, and bananas are high in fiber. Brussel sprouts, raspberries, brown rice, oatmeal, barley, and prunes are other good choices.
Fruit skins are a great source of insoluble fiber so be sure to leave them on. Taking a fiber supplement can also be helpful for hemorrhoids.
3. Focus on Foods High in Flavonoids
Flavonoids are plant-based chemicals that offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. These phytonutrients repair tissue damage and support the lymphatic drainage system.
They also help with weight management and can lower your risk of obesity. Carrying around extra weight has a connection with developing hemorrhoids.
Research shows that flavonoids can be effective in treating hemorrhoids. You can find flavonoids in tea, red wine, and citrus juice. Spinach, kale, and onions also have a high content of these nutrients.
4. Limit Foods That Can Cause Constipation
Foods that cause hemorrhoids are often low in fiber. This leads to constipation which worsens the condition.
Avoid processed foods and refined carbs, like white bread and pasta. Having a gluten or wheat sensitivity should also call for a special diet like this.
Dairy products, like cheese, yogurt, and milk can also increase constipation. Avoiding red or processed meat can be helpful as well.
5. Maintain a Healthy Gut
Your gut health has a lot to do with how your digestive system functions. Good and bad bacteria live inside your gut and it's important to maintain a balance between the two.
Probiotics can help enhance your gut health and promote healthy bacteria. You'll find these in foods like kombucha, kimchi, and miso. A plant-based diet is also good for detoxifying your body.
Foods to avoid with hemorrhoids include fried food or those high in saturated fat. Spicy food can also upset your stomach and cause irritation when going to the bathroom. Avoiding spicy foods will also help reduce acid reflux.
Caffeine and alcohol are other culprits that can disrupt your gut function. Too much sodium can dehydrate you and increase bloating.
Finding Permanent Relief from Hemorrhoids
The right diet plan is a key tactic in preventing and finding relief from hemorrhoids. A diet for hemorrhoidal sufferers should be full of fiber and healthy foods.
Other tips for relief include sitz baths, witch hazel pads, and anti-inflammatory creams. There are also a few non-surgical treatments, such as the CRH banding technique, to help get rid of hemorrhoids. Learn more about Dr. Starpoli's effective treatment options for hemorrhoids.