16 Best & 8 Worst Foods for Hemorrhoids

by Ella

Hemorrhoids, a common condition characterized by swollen and inflamed blood vessels in the anal and rectal area, can cause discomfort and pain. While there are various treatment options available, dietary choices play a crucial role in managing and preventing hemorrhoids. In this comprehensive article, we explore the foods to avoid when dealing with hemorrhoids and provide insights into creating a hemorrhoid-friendly diet for relief and prevention.

What Are Hemorrhoids and Why Do They Occur?

Hemorrhoids, often referred to as piles, occur when the blood vessels in the anal and rectal area become swollen and inflamed. There are two main types of hemorrhoids:


1. Internal Hemorrhoids: These are located inside the rectum and are usually painless. They can cause bleeding during bowel movements.


2. External Hemorrhoids: These form under the skin around the anus and can be painful, causing discomfort and itching.


Several factors contribute to the development of hemorrhoids:

  • Straining During Bowel Movements: Constipation and straining while passing stools can put pressure on the blood vessels in the anal area.
  • Pregnancy: The increased pressure on the pelvic area during pregnancy can lead to the development of hemorrhoids.
  • Sedentary Lifestyle: Sitting for extended periods can contribute to poor circulation and the development of hemorrhoids.
  • Dietary Factors: Consuming a diet low in fiber and high in processed foods can lead to constipation, increasing the risk of hemorrhoids.

Foods to Limit or Avoid When Dealing with Hemorrhoids

Certain foods can contribute to inflammation, constipation, and irritation, which may worsen hemorrhoid symptoms. By minimizing or avoiding these foods, you can create an environment that supports your body’s healing process and reduces the risk of flare-ups.

1. Highly Processed Foods: Foods high in refined sugars, unhealthy fats, and additives can contribute to inflammation and worsen hemorrhoid symptoms. These foods include sugary snacks, fast food, fried items, and processed meats. Cutting back on these foods can help reduce inflammation and discomfort.

2. Low-Fiber Foods: A diet low in fiber can lead to constipation, which can strain the anal area during bowel movements. To prevent this, it’s important to limit or avoid foods such as white bread, white rice, and low-fiber cereals. Opt for whole grains and fiber-rich options instead.

See Also: Top 10 High-Fiber Foods

3. Spicy Foods: Spicy foods can irritate the digestive tract and exacerbate hemorrhoid discomfort. If you’re experiencing symptoms, it’s a good idea to temporarily reduce your intake of spicy foods and opt for milder options.

4. Dairy Products: Some individuals may find that dairy products, particularly full-fat options, contribute to constipation. If you notice this, consider reducing your consumption of dairy and exploring alternatives like plant-based milk or lactose-free options.

5. Caffeine and Alcohol: Both caffeine and alcohol can contribute to dehydration and may have a diuretic effect, potentially worsening constipation. While it’s not necessary to eliminate these beverages entirely, moderation is key.

6. Red Meat: High consumption of red meat has been linked to an increased risk of developing hemorrhoids. To lower this risk, limit your intake of red meat and opt for lean protein sources like poultry, fish, and plant-based options.

7. Processed Snacks and Sweets: Snacks like chips, cookies, and candies are typically low in fiber and can contribute to constipation. These items should be consumed in moderation and balanced with fiber-rich foods to support digestive health.

8. Refined Grains: Refined grains lack the fiber content of whole grains, which can contribute to digestive issues. Swap out refined grains for whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat products to promote regular bowel movements.

Foods to Include for Hemorrhoid Relief and Prevention

Diet plays a pivotal role in the management and prevention of hemorrhoids. Certain foods can aid in maintaining soft stools, preventing constipation, and minimizing inflammation in the sensitive anal area.

High-Fiber Foods

Fiber is a cornerstone of a hemorrhoid-friendly diet. It adds bulk to stools, facilitates their movement through the digestive tract, and helps prevent the straining that can exacerbate hemorrhoid symptoms. Here are some high-fiber foods that should be on your plate:

1. Whole Grains: Whole grains are excellent sources of dietary fiber. Opt for whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, and whole grain pasta to fuel your body with essential nutrients and keep your digestive system functioning smoothly.

2. Legumes: Beans, lentils, chickpeas, and other legumes are packed with fiber and plant-based protein. Incorporating these versatile ingredients into your meals can help support gut health and contribute to regular bowel movements.

3. Fruits: Fruits are nature’s sweet and fibrous gifts. Berries, apples, pears, oranges, and prunes are particularly beneficial for their fiber content. Prunes, in particular, have earned a reputation for their natural laxative effect.

See Also: Top 20 Healthiest Fruits

4. Vegetables: Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are rich in fiber and essential vitamins. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and other colorful vegetables are also valuable additions to a hemorrhoid-friendly diet.

See Also: 10 Vegetables You Should Be Eating Every Week, According to a Dietitian

Hydration is Key

Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining healthy digestion and preventing constipation. Water helps keep stools soft and easy to pass, reducing the need for straining. In addition to plain water, consider including these hydrating options:

5. Herbal Teas: Herbal teas, such as chamomile and peppermint, can have a soothing effect on the digestive system. Sipping on these warm beverages can provide relief and support overall gut health.

6. Coconut Water: Coconut water is a natural source of hydration that also contains electrolytes, making it an excellent choice for maintaining fluid balance and supporting digestion.

7. Diluted Fruit Juices: Diluted fruit juices, such as apple or prune juice, can provide both hydration and a gentle laxative effect due to their natural sugars and fiber content.

Fats for Digestive Ease

Healthy fats play a crucial role in maintaining gut health and promoting regular bowel movements. Incorporate these sources of healthy fats into your diet:

8. Avocados: Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats and fiber, making them a double-duty ingredient for both gut health and overall well-being.

See Also: Avocado: Types, Nutrition Facts, Benefits, Picking & Storage

9. Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are packed with healthy fats and fiber. Sprinkle them on your yogurt, oatmeal, or salads to support digestion.

See Also: Nuts & Seeds: Types, Health Benefits & Warnings

10. Olive Oil: Switch to using extra virgin olive oil for cooking and as a salad dressing. Its monounsaturated fats offer anti-inflammatory benefits and contribute to a healthy gut.

Probiotic-Rich Foods

A balanced gut microbiome is essential for proper digestion and overall gut health. Probiotic-rich foods introduce beneficial bacteria to your digestive system. Incorporate these options into your diet:

11. Yogurt: Choose plain, unsweetened yogurt with live and active cultures. Greek yogurt is a particularly rich source of probiotics and protein.

12. Kefir: Kefir is a fermented dairy or plant-based drink that contains a diverse array of probiotic strains. Enjoy it as a refreshing beverage or use it as a base for smoothies.

13. Sauerkraut and Kimchi: These fermented vegetables are not only delicious but also offer a significant dose of probiotics. Add them to your meals as flavorful and gut-friendly condiments.

Lean Protein Sources

Incorporating lean protein sources into your diet is essential for maintaining muscle health and overall well-being. Opt for these options:

14. Poultry: Skinless chicken and turkey are lean sources of protein that can be prepared in various delicious ways. Grilling, baking, or sautéing are all great cooking methods.

15. Fish: Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines provide not only protein but also omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit hemorrhoid management.

See Also: 6 Healthiest Shellfish & Their Health benefits

16. Plant-Based Proteins: For those following a plant-based diet, tofu, tempeh, legumes, and nuts are excellent sources of protein. These options also contribute to fiber intake and overall gut health.

Other ways to treat hemorrhoids

Topical Treatments

Topical treatments are applied directly to the affected area and can provide relief from itching, pain, and inflammation associated with hemorrhoids. Common topical treatments include:

1. Over-the-Counter Creams and Ointments: These products often contain ingredients like hydrocortisone, witch hazel, or lidocaine, which can provide temporary relief from discomfort.

2. Soothing Wipes: Medicated wipes containing ingredients like witch hazel can be used to gently clean the anal area and alleviate discomfort.

3. Sitz Baths: Soaking the anal area in warm water can help reduce inflammation and provide relief. You can either use a sitz bath kit or create a warm water bath in your bathtub.

Lifestyle Modifications

Making certain lifestyle changes can contribute to hemorrhoid relief and prevention:

1. Maintain Good Hygiene: Keeping the anal area clean and dry can prevent irritation. After bowel movements, gently pat the area with a soft cloth or use medicated wipes.

2. Avoid Straining: Straining during bowel movements can exacerbate hemorrhoid symptoms. Ensure you’re not spending excessive time on the toilet and consider using a footstool to elevate your feet and create a more natural squatting position.

3. Stay Hydrated: Drinking enough water helps prevent constipation, which can aggravate hemorrhoids.

4. Regular Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity promotes healthy digestion and blood circulation, reducing the risk of hemorrhoid development.

5. Healthy Bathroom Habits: Pay attention to your body’s natural signals and avoid delaying bowel movements. Establishing regular bowel habits can prevent straining.

Home Remedies

Several home remedies can offer relief from hemorrhoid symptoms:

1. Cold Compress: Applying a cold compress or ice pack to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and numb discomfort.

2. Aloe Vera: Applying pure aloe vera gel to the affected area can soothe irritation and promote healing.

3. Witch Hazel: Witch hazel is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Applying witch hazel to a cotton ball and gently dabbing the area can offer relief.

4. Epsom Salt Soak: Adding Epsom salt to a warm bath can provide relief from discomfort and inflammation.

Medical Interventions

In cases of severe hemorrhoids that don’t respond well to at-home treatments, medical interventions may be necessary:

1. Rubber Band Ligation: This procedure involves placing a rubber band around the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off its blood supply, causing it to shrink and fall off.

2. Sclerotherapy: A chemical solution is injected into the hemorrhoid, causing it to shrink.

3. Infrared Coagulation: A heat source is used to cause the hemorrhoid to shrink and scar tissue to form, reducing blood flow to the area.

4. Hemorrhoidectomy: In severe cases, surgical removal of the hemorrhoid may be necessary. This is usually reserved for large, painful hemorrhoids.

5. Stapled Hemorrhoidectomy: This procedure involves using a special stapling device to remove the hemorrhoid and reposition the tissue to its original position.

Preventive Measures

Taking steps to prevent hemorrhoids from developing or recurring is equally important:

1. Maintain a High-Fiber Diet: A diet rich in fiber promotes regular bowel movements and prevents constipation, reducing the risk of hemorrhoids.

2. Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water supports soft stools and prevents dehydration, which can contribute to constipation.

3. Practice Good Hygiene: Keeping the anal area clean and dry can prevent irritation and infection.

4. Avoid Prolonged Sitting: Take breaks to move around, especially if you have a sedentary lifestyle, to improve blood circulation.

5. Kegel Exercises: Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles through Kegel exercises can improve blood flow and support anal and rectal health.

In Conclusion

Diet plays a vital role in managing and preventing hemorrhoids. By avoiding or limiting foods that contribute to inflammation and constipation and incorporating fiber-rich options, you can alleviate discomfort and promote healthy digestion. Pairing dietary choices with a balanced lifestyle can significantly contribute to hemorrhoid relief and prevention, allowing you to lead a more comfortable and enjoyable life.



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