Hemorrhoids develop when pressure causes the tissue in and around the rectum and anus to swell and become inflamed. They can be external or internal and range in severity from mild to significantly bothersome.
If you have hemorrhoids, it’s wise to visit a board-certified colon and rectal surgeon like Lisa Perryman, MD, of Colorado Colon & Rectal Specialists in Parker, Colorado. Dr. Perryman routinely diagnoses and treats hemorrhoids and other problems that affect the colon and rectum.
Continue reading to find out how you can use diet to ease your symptoms.
Hemorrhoids are inflamed tissue on the inside or outside of the anus that can cause itching, bleeding, and discomfort. They may also cause mucus discharge and make bowel movements more painful.
People who are prone to hemorrhoids may have flare-ups during which symptoms worsen, and times when symptoms are mild or unnoticeable. Things that increase pressure, such as strenuous lifting, straining during bowel movements, being overweight, prolonged sitting, and pregnancy increase the likelihood of developing hemorrhoids.
Your diet can have an impact on hemorrhoid symptoms. Certain foods and food components can ease symptoms or make them worse like cheeses and bananas, which can be constipating. The following are some of the best foods to choose if you have hemorrhoids.
Wheat bran and shredded wheat are good sources of fiber. When it gets to the colon, it breaks down to create a gel that helps soften stool. Opt for whole-grain when choosing foods like pasta, bread and cereal.
For a very long time, prunes and prune juice have been recommended as a home remedy for constipation. Nearly 4 grams of fiber are found in just half a cup. Prunes also have phenols, which are good for the digestive system and lower the risk of infection.
The skin of pears is very high in fiber. A pear with the skin on contains up to 6 grams of fiber. Due to their high skin-to-flesh ratio, berries also provide a lot of fiber per serving. Nearly 6.5 grams of fiber is present in one 100-gram serving.
Nearly 4.5 grams of fiber are found in a medium-sized apple with the skin. Additionally, the skin contains insoluble fiber, which does not break down during digestion. It has a slight laxative effect and helps bulk up the stool.
Sweet potatoes and potatoes both provide a good amount of fiber. One medium artichoke has more than 10 grams of fiber, so if you haven't tried them, they might be worth it. Broccoli contains a lot of fiber and the compound sulforaphane, which helps to calm inflammation, improve digestion, and protect the gut.
What's great about fiber-rich seeds is how many different ways they can be incorporated into your diet. Seeds that are high in fiber include chia, ground flax seeds, and psyllium. You can sprinkle them on top of salads, smoothies, or even yogurt if you want an extra digestive system boost.
Walnuts and almonds are rich in fiber. Furthermore, nuts have strong anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to reduce inflammation. Pistachios, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts are also rich in fiber.
Eating a fiber-rich diet and staying hydrated can improve your digestive health and reduce hemorrhoid flares. Drinking enough water to prevent constipation reduces straining, and fiber keeps food moving through the colon.
Aim to drink six to eight glasses of water daily. If you have trouble meeting this goal, try using a free water reminder mobile app on your phone to remind you to drink water throughout the day. Carrying a water bottle with you throughout the day, and having it on your desk while at work is another great way to remember to stay hydrated.
Along with these diet tips, if hemorrhoids are giving you problems it’s a good idea to schedule a visit with us at Colorado Colon & Rectal specialists to see Dr. Perryman. Give us a call or book an appointment online.