Eating foods that are high in fiber can make stools softer and easier to pass and can help treat and prevent hemorrhoids. Drinking water and other liquids, such as fruit juices and clear soups, can help the fiber in your hemorrhoids diet work better. Ask your doctor about how much you should drink each day based on your health and activity level and where you live.
Eating a balanced diet, rich in fiber, is one of the most effective lifestyle changes you can make for your hemorrhoids. Why? A balanced, high-fiber diet, together with plenty of fluids, softens the stool and increases its bulk, which will help you avoid the straining that can cause hemorrhoids or worsen symptoms from existing hemorrhoids.
One of the key components of managing or preventing diet-related hemorrhoids is to follow a balanced nutrition plan — one that includes enough fiber to keep your stools soft but formed and occurring on a regular basis. For most people, this adds up to 25-30 grams of fiber daily.
We develop personalized treatment plans based on the type of hemorrhoids you have and your symptoms. However, no matter the type or severity, we always make hemorrhoids diet suggestions to alleviate your discomfort and prevent future problems. We want to share with you some of the best and worst foods for hemorrhoids.
Best Foods for Hemorrhoids
2 Kinds of Fiber
Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like goo. (Picture what happens to oats when you mix them with water.) You want this stuff. It makes your stool soft, well-formed, and easy to pass. No constipation, little irritation. Sounds like the Holy Grail of poop, right?
Insoluble fiber is what your grandmother would call “roughage.” It doesn’t dissolve. (If you drop a chunk of celery in water, it just sits there.) It helps to keep things moving through — and out of — your system and to balance the chemistry in your intestines.
Many “high-fiber” foods have both kinds.
ou should aim for 25-30 grams or more of fiber every day from what you eat, about twice what most Americans get. In general, you’ll want about a third of that to be soluble (more when you have diarrhea).
Too much fiber too fast can cause gas and bloating, so add a little bit to your hemorrhoids diet at a time if you’re not used to it. You’ll also need to drink more fluids to help your body use that fiber: 8-10 large glasses (at least a half-gallon) of water every day.
Like legumes, whole grains are nutritional powerhouses. That’s because they retain their germ, bran, and endosperm, which are loaded with beneficial components like fiber (7Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
Whole grains are especially rich in insoluble fiber. This helps move your digestion along, which can help reduce pain and discomfort associated with piles (13Trusted Source).
Keep in mind that whole grains go beyond hearty whole-wheat flour and bread. While these are good options, this category also includes barley, corn, spelt, quinoa, brown rice, whole rye, and oats (13Trusted Source).
Oatmeal is an especially good option to include in your hemorrhoids diet when you’re trying to reduce symptoms of piles.
It contains a specific kind of soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which benefits your gut microbiome by acting like a prebiotic. Prebiotics help feed the friendly bacteria in your gut (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
When shopping for oatmeal, keep in mind that steel-cut oats take longer to cook but are less processed. They provide a more toothsome bite and about 5 grams of fiber per 1/4-cup (40-gram) serving of dry oats, compared with 4 grams for quick-cook or rolled oats
Fruits and Vegetables
ou can’t go wrong with plant foods. Keep the skins on when they’re thin, like on apples, pears, plums, and potatoes. That’s where the insoluble fiber is, as well as compounds called flavonoids that can help control hemorrhoid bleeding.
Brightly colored produce — berries, grapes, tomatoes, and kale and other dark, leafy greens — are generally rich in flavonoids. And the fresher, the better. Try to keep them whole and not damage the skins or leaves until you’re ready to eat them. Avoid cooking to the point that their color fades.
A serving of fruit is often good for at least 10% of your daily fiber, usually 3 to 4 grams. A cup of leafy greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, winter squash, or green peas will get you 4 to 5 grams of fiber.
Some veggies and fruits have fiber plus a lot of water. Cucumbers, celery, mild bell peppers, and watermelon are mostly water — more than 90%.
Make a habit of adding another fruit or vegetable to any meal, like berries or bananas in your cereal, apple chunks on your salad, spinach in your omelet, or grated zucchini in your spaghetti sauce.
Snack on dried fruits like figs, apricots, and dates. Swap sugary baked desserts for fresh fruit — raw strawberries rather than strawberry pie.
Foods to Avoid
It is a good idea to reduce the intake of low fibre foods which can result in constipation and at the same time can aggravate Hemorrhoids.
- Limit intake of dairy products including milk, cheese and other variety.
- Refined flour like white bread, pasta, noodles etc.
- Red and processed meats which are low in fibre and high in sodium.
- Fried, Salty and Spicy foods which will make hemorrhoids more sensitive and make it more painful.
- Caffeinated beverages and Alcohol can harden your stool and may increase pain and discomfort.
- White bread and bagels
- Milk, cheese, and other dairy
- Processed foods such as frozen meals and fast food
Fill Up on Fiber
Hemorrhoids are more likely to occur in people who have infrequent bowel movements. One of the easiest, most natural ways to become more regular is by filling up on fiber either through your hemorrhoids diet or supplements. “Adding fiber to the hemorrhoids diet is the universal recommendation of both family doctors and gastroenterologists,” says Dr. Kussin. “It may increase gas, but this is a small price to pay for the benefits.” Aim to get 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day. Great food sources of fiber include:
- Legumes, such as split peas, lentils, black beans, lima beans, and baked beans
- Whole grains, such as barley, bran flakes, oatmeal, and brown rice
- Vegetables, such as artichoke, green peas, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts
- Fruits, such as raspberries, pears, apples, and bananas
Drink Enough Water
This hemorrhoid prevention strategy is simple and cheap, yet so few of us actually do it. Along with eating a healthy hemorrhoids diet full of fiber, adequate hydration from water is the key to having healthy bowel movements. “Drinking enough water helps prevent constipation and therefore decreases straining,” says Richard Desi, MD, a gastroenterologist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. Drinking six to eight glasses of water each day doesn’t just keep your digestive system running smoothly, it benefits your entire body.
Get Plenty of Exercise
According to Dr. Desi, exercise and hemorrhoids have a love-hate relationship. “Exercise helps keep the colon more regular,” he says. “However, engaging in activities that increase abdominal pressure and/or straining (such as weightlifting) can lead to the formation of hemorrhoids.” Staying active reduces your time spent sitting and putting pressure on the veins in your lower rectum. If you have a history of problematic hemorrhoids, you might want to steer clear of lifting heavy weights or other strenuous activities and opt for more moderate exercise routines such as yoga, swimming, or walking to prevent hemorrhoids from flaring.
Don’t Fight the Urge
When you have to go, go. This is one of the simplest ways to prevent hemorrhoids. “Ignoring Mother Nature has its risks, and hemorrhoids are one of them,” Kussin says. “If you obey your body when it screams at you, the chance of problems is less. You listen to everyone else when they scream at you; why not listen to your own body, too? When you wait until you decide you have the time to move your bowels, success will be far more elusive and straining far more likely.”
Straining and putting more pressure on the veins in your rectum is one of the most common causes of painful or bleeding hemmorhoids. In some cases, this can happen as a result of pushing too hard when trying to have a bowel movement. Other situations can cause straining too, such as lifting heavy objects, a chronic cough, or even pregnancy. If you have issues with hemorrhoids, Kussin advises being aware of the strain you’re putting on your bowels and avoiding it as much as you can.
Be Careful When It Comes to Laxatives
When you’re constipated, some fiber supplements, particularly psyllium capsules, have a track record of helping get you more regular, which can prevent painful hemorrhoids. As far as laxatives go, they can help as long as you choose the correct ones. “The safest laxatives are those that work with your body rather than those that stimulate or simulate normal physiological activities,” Kussin says. “Some laxatives work by stimulating intestinal contraction to move the contents along. This might increase hemorrhoid pressures and cause symptoms.” To prevent hemorrhoids or to treat hemorrhoids that are active, Kussin suggests osmotic laxatives that simply increase the amount of water in the gut and reduce constipation.