What to eat when you have hemorrhoid: The 17 best high fiber foods to help treat hemorrhoids
The 17 best high fiber foods to help treat hemorrhoids
Eating a healthy diet rich in high fiber whole foods can help relieve the symptoms of hemorrhoids, or piles. By contrast, processed foods, red meat, and alcohol can increase the risk of piles.
Hemorrhoids, or piles, refer to inflamed, swollen veins surrounding the anus or in the lower rectum, where the waste collects before it passes as a stool.
There are two types of hemorrhoids: external hemorrhoids that form under the skin near the anus and internal hemorrhoids that form in the anus and lower rectal lining.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), 1 in 20 people living in the United States experience hemorrhoids. Around 50% of adults over the age of 50 will deal with hemorrhoids at some point.
What a person eats can help ease the symptoms of hemorrhoids.
This article lists the best high fiber foods to help with hemorrhoids and which foods to avoid. It provides additional tips for the treatment and prevention of hemorrhoids.
Eating more high fiber, low fat, whole foods can often reduce or prevent the symptoms of hemorrhoids.
That is because fiber seems to:
- increase stool weight, reducing the time feces spends in the colon (colon transit time)
- increase water retention in the colon, resulting in softer stools that pass more easily
- decrease the pH levels in the colon, which also reduces colon transit time, or the time it takes for food to pass through the colon
According to the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, most people should aim to get 14 grams (g) of fiber for every 1,000 calories they consume.
Lots of foods contain fiber, but some of the best foods to eat to help with piles include:
1. Wheat bran and shredded wheat
Just 1/3–1/4 of a cup of high fiber, ready-to-eat bran cereal between 9.1-14.3 g of fiber.
1–1/4 cups of shredded, ready-to-eat wheat cereal contains between 5–9 g of fiber.
Wheat bran and shredded wheat contain insoluble fiber, giving stool bulk and making it easier to pass.
Prunes are dried plum. Stewed or dried prunes are rich in fiber. Just a half cup of stewed prunes contains around 3.8 g of fiber.
Dried prunes may also help keep the stomach feeling full longer, which means a person will not need to eat so often. This can help reduce both constipation and obesity, which may be a risk factor for hemorrhoids, according to an older 2009 article.
Compounds in prunes called phenols may also act as an antibacterial agent in the gastrointestinal system, reducing the risk of infection.
According to a 2020 article, apples are a great source of dietary fiber.
A medium apple with its skin contains around 4.4 g of fiber, making it among the most fiber-rich fruits.
The insoluble fibers found in an apple’s skin do not break down during digestion and help to bulk-up stool, which causes a laxative effect.
Pears are incredibly high in fiber and other compounds that may benefit people with hemorrhoids. A pear with its skin may contain around 6 g of fiber. Pears also contain fructose, which can act as a natural laxative.
Barley is rich in a fiber called β-glucan, which breaks down and forms a viscous gel in the colon and softens the stool. Research also shows that consuming barley may help maintain good colon health.
One cup of cooked sweet corn contains around 4.2 g of fiber. People have been using corn as a cure for hemorrhoids since ancient times.
That is probably because aside from fiber, corn also contains strong antioxidants that prevent cellular damage from free radicals and other compounds that may help reduce pain.
One cup of cooked oatmeal contains around 4 g of fiber. And the fiber in oats may be capable of improving gut health. It also helps soften stool, making it easier to pass and reducing the risk of straining.
Pulses, such as lentils, chickpeas, lima beans, and split peas, are among the best sources of fiber out there. One cup of cooked lentils contains around 15.6 g of fiber.
And some research shows that consuming green lentils leads to significant increases in the weight of the stool and reduces the time it spends in the colon.
9. Whole wheat bread, pasta, and cereals
Unprocessed or lightly processed whole wheat products are rich in insoluble fiber, which increases fecal weight and colon transit time.
For an added fiber punch, pick whole wheat products with nuts and seeds.
Berries, such as raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries, have a high skin-to-flesh ratio, meaning they contain a lot of fiber per serving. A 100 g serving of raspberries contains around 6.5 g of fiber.
Berries also contain a lot of water, which helps soften stools and keep the digestive system moving smoothly. They also contain fructose, which has a natural laxative effect.
Some traditional medicine systems use artichokes and varieties of thistle (which are relatives of the artichoke) to treat hemorrhoids. A likely reason for this is their high fiber content. One cooked, medium-sized artichoke contains around 10.3 g of fiber.
12. Sweet potatoes and potatoes
According to the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, one medium-sized baked sweet potato with its skin on contains 3.8 g of fiber. One medium-sized potato also baked with its skin on contains around 3.6 grams of fiber.
Potatoes and sweet potatoes contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Some research has also found that fiber from sweet potatoes also seems to have a stronger laxative effect than other vegetables.
One cup of boiled broccoli contains around 5.1 g of fiber.
Broccoli also contains a compound called sulforaphane, which may help improve digestion and protect the gut.
In a 2017 study eating 20 g of raw broccoli sprouts daily for 4 weeks eased symptoms of constipation and led to quicker bowel movements, reducing the risk of straining.
Tomatoes contain fiber and water, which can both ease constipation and make it easier to pass stool.
Tomatoes also contain naringenin, a natural antioxidant that scientists have shown to have a laxative effect on some forms of constipation.
15. Citrus fruits
The inner skin that covers the flesh of citrus fruits, such as lemons, oranges, and grapefruits, contains a lot of fiber.
Like tomatoes, citrus fruits also contain naringenin, a compound that has a laxative effect. They also contain lots of water, which helps ease constipation and soften stools.
According to FoodData Central, a 100 g serving of kiwifruit has around 3 g of fiber and plenty of water.
Research also shows that kiwifruit consumption may act as a laxative, increase how often and easily stool passes, and increase stool bulk, which reduces colon transit time.
Kiwifruits also contain the enzyme zyactinase, which may also help ease constipation by improving digestion.
Like peas and other pulses, dried beans are incredibly high in fiber. According to the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, just half a cup of cooked navy beans contains 9.6 g of fiber, while half a cup of kidney beans contains around 5.7 g of fiber.
Processed foods and those rich in fats, sugar, or refined carbohydrates can also increase the risk of conditions that cause hemorrhoids, especially constipation.
To help reduce symptoms of hemorrhoids or the risk of developing them, a person can try avoiding:
- fried and salty foods
- chips and other packaged snacks
- full-fat dairy products
- prepared or heavily processed foods
- red meat
- candies and chocolates
- soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, and coffees with added milk, sugar, or cream
- excessive caffeine intake
Several at-home remedies and lifestyle habits may help treat hemorrhoids or reduce the risk of developing them, such as:
- using over-the-counter (OTC) hemorrhoid creams or suppositories (medications inserted into the rectum) for around 1 week before talking to a healthcare professional
- using OTC laxatives or stool softeners
- avoiding lifting heavy objects when possible and lifting with the knees
- trying to avoid straining during bowel movements, holding in bowel movements, or sitting on the toilet too long
- staying hydrated by drinking water, fruit juices, clear soups, or other liquids that may help fiber from foods work better
- using OTC pain medications
- taking a sitz bath, sitting in a bath of warm water, several times daily
- maintaining a body weight within the recommended healthful range
- avoiding having anal intercourse
- getting enough exercise
Eating foods high in fiber, such as pulses (beans, lentils, chickpeas), whole fruits and vegetables, with a high skin-to-flesh ratio and water content, and whole grains, can help ease symptoms of hemorrhoids and prevent them.
A person should gradually increase dietary fiber intake to reduce the risk of side effects, such as gas and bloating.
People should talk with a doctor about severe or very large hemorrhoids or those that do not improve with at-home care and dietary changes after a week or two.
Best and Worst Foods for Hemorrhoids
Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors
- 2 Kinds of Fiber
- Beans, Lentils, and Nuts
- Fruits and Vegetables
- What Not to Eat
“Eat more fiber.” “Stay hydrated.”
That’s the advice everyone gets about hemorrhoids — and it’s good. But what does it mean in real life, when you’re at the grocery store or deciding what to put on your plate?
Let’s take a look at specific foods that can help this painful problem and ways to work them into your meals. And on the flip side, what you may want to stay away from.
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.
You 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 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.
You’ll get a lot of bang for your bite with the legume family. Just 1/2 cup of beans — such as kidney, navy, lima, or black beans — will cover about a third of your daily goal. It will have between 7 and 10 grams of fiber (both soluble and insoluble), depending on which variety you choose.
About 20 almonds or pecans have around 3 grams of fiber. A 1/2 cup of edamame does, too, and it only has about half the calories.
Instead of using just meat in chili and soups, add or substitute beans. You can also use beans and nuts in salads. Try Indian and Middle Eastern recipes, which often call for beans, lentils, and peas.
Swap white breads, pastas, and crackers for versions made with whole-grain flours, buckwheat, stone-ground cornmeal, or rye to boost the amount of insoluble fiber you’ll get. Cooked oats and barley will give you soluble fiber, too.
Instead of a plain white bagel for breakfast, have a packet of instant oatmeal — with twice the fiber for less than half the calories. Reach for no-butter popcorn when you get the munchies. Sprinkle oat bran or wheat germ on salads and soups.
You 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 with little fiber can cause or make constipation (and therefore hemorrhoids) worse, so it’s best to limit how much you eat of them.
- White bread and bagels
- Milk, cheese, and other dairy
- Processed foods such as frozen meals and fast food
Iron supplements can cause constipation and other digestive problems, so talk to your doctor before you take them.
Nutrition for hemorrhoids.
How diet can alleviate your condition
One of the important etiological factors in the development of hemorrhoids is malnutrition, which contributes to impaired stools and frequent constipation. An illiterately selected diet can lead to an aggravation of the process, injury to the mucous membrane with hard feces and the development of complications in the form of infection or bleeding. Any doctor begins the treatment of hemorrhoids with an explanation of the principles of the new menu for the patient.
Proper nutrition helps to achieve the following goals:
- Stool normalization. This measure is one of the most important in the treatment of hemorrhoids. Regular soft stool helps to reduce the manifestations of the disease (in the initial stages) by reducing the tension of the muscles of the perineum during the act of defecation and pressure on the wall of the rectum.
- Elimination of the problem of overweight and obesity. Too much body fat puts pressure on the intestines, impairing its blood circulation and slowing down the passage of feces.
- Maintaining the good functioning of the immune system, which is achieved by the optimal content of vitamins and trace elements in the food consumed. With complications of hemorrhoids, such as fissures in the anus, bleeding, and others, sufficient activity of the compensatory systems of the body is necessary, which will eliminate the manifestations of anemia and inflammation as soon as possible.
Thus, a well-chosen diet helps not only to compensate for the disease, but sometimes even completely eliminate the manifestations of the disease.
Basic principles of nutrition
An important condition in the preparation of a diet is not only her diet, but also the peculiarities of eating food during the day. The following principles are recommended.
- Fractional meals 5-6 times a day in small portions with approximately equal breaks between meals. This mode will help to avoid overstrain of the gastrointestinal tract from large portions 3 times a day.
- Dinner should be no later than 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- Consumed food should have a temperature of 37-40 degrees, so as not to irritate the walls of the gastrointestinal tract.
- One should try to divide dishes into small pieces, eat slowly and chew food thoroughly. This facilitates the work of the intestines and contributes to the normalization of the stool.
- A very important condition for a proper diet for hemorrhoids is the use of sufficient amounts of water (2 liters per day). This helps to give the feces the desired soft consistency and, accordingly, facilitate their discharge. Preference should be given to pure mineral non-carbonated water. This condition should be observed with caution by people who have diseases of the cardiovascular system and kidneys.
- Do not add too much salt and spices to food when cooking. When moving through the gastrointestinal tract, such a food lump will cause irritation of its walls, which can lead to inflammation.
- The diet should be balanced, contain a sufficient amount of essential nutrients, as well as vitamins and trace elements to maintain the tone of the body as a whole.
What foods should not be eaten
Some foods are prohibited on the menu of a patient suffering from hemorrhoids.
- Alcohol and carbonated drinks – they irritate the intestinal wall, increasing inflammation.
- Starches and simple carbohydrates (confectionery, pastries) – these products can cause fermentation in the intestines.
- Milk. With age, the activity of the lactose enzyme, which is able to curd it, decreases in a person, so fermented milk products should be preferred for hemorrhoids.
- Strong black tea and coffee due to too much caffeine.
- Legumes (lentils, beans, peas) can cause too much gas in the intestines, causing flatulence and bloating.
- Mushrooms are too hard and take a long time to digest in the gastrointestinal tract, and therefore their consumption is also recommended to be limited.
- Citrus fruits, pears and grapes, as well as most berries, should also be used with caution.
Despite the seemingly strict list of restrictions, a patient with hemorrhoids can sometimes (no more than once a week) include “forbidden” foods in the diet (for example, eat one bun or eat potatoes as a side dish).
What can you eat with hemorrhoids
The list of permitted products is quite rich and varied. It may include the following foodstuffs:
- Bran. They contain a huge amount of natural fiber, which helps the passage of food and the formation of fecal masses of the required consistency. But it is important to remember that an excess of this product can also cause fermentation, and therefore it should be consumed in small quantities (about 30g per day).
- Fresh vegetables which are also high in fibre, but hot peppers and sorrel should be avoided as a large amount of essential oils and acids contained in them can irritate the intestinal wall.
- Soups without potatoes in low-fat fish or meat broth.
- Fruit. Preference should be given to moderately ripe fruits, because overripe or sour fruits can cause diarrhea. Dried fruits, persimmon, kiwi, peaches have a moderate laxative effect.
- Lean meats and fish are a valuable source of protein. It is best to steam them or bake them in the oven; frying is not recommended.
- Eggs. Best eaten as an omelet or boiled.
- Vegetable oils (add to salads, cereals). The presence of this important nutritional component helps the formation of soft feces.
- Dairy products. They help to maintain the necessary balance of intestinal microflora and do not cause fermentation.
Thus, the list of permitted products is quite extensive, and the patient will be able to choose the optimal diet for himself without feeling any dietary restrictions.
It must be understood that even strict adherence to a diet cannot eliminate the pathological changes that are characteristic of hemorrhoids. All patients should be regularly observed by a doctor, undergo an examination prescribed by a specialist, and strictly follow all medical recommendations.
The material was prepared by
specialist of the medical center “URO-PRO”
Zvyagin Sergey Viktorovich,
proctologist, experience 21 years
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Nutrition for hemorrhoids – proper nutrition for hemorrhoids with bleeding and constipation
Hemorrhoids develop as a result of dysregulation of blood circulation in the rectum. But this is not the only factor that contributes to the appearance of this disease. An important reason that provokes hemorrhoids is nutrition.
It helps to get rid of constipation, iron deficiency anemia caused by hemorrhoidal bleeding. The products should contain fiber, be enough mineral salts, amino acids and vitamins.
Therefore, if a patient is diagnosed with hemorrhoids at the medical center “Leomed”, the diet is necessarily included in the course of hemorrhoids treatment. Without it, taking even the best and most expensive drugs will be ineffective.
Nutrition for hemorrhoids: what not to eat
Together with a list of recommended products, the doctor will also issue a list of what not to eat and drink with hemorrhoids. In fact, there are not so many restrictions, the main thing here is to stick to common sense. For example, it is better to refuse spicy or fried foods, but if you still eat spices from time to time, nothing bad will happen.
Need to exclude or limit:
- white bread
- canned food
But the opinion of proctologists regarding whether it is possible to drink alcohol with hemorrhoids is unequivocal. The diet for hemorrhoids and fissures implies a categorical ban on alcoholic beverages.
Otherwise, the recommendations on how to eat with hemorrhoids do not differ much from the general principles of a healthy diet. By adhering to them, you will avoid the development of many other unpleasant diseases.
Diet for exacerbation of hemorrhoids
During the treatment of chronic hemorrhoids, exacerbations can sometimes occur. During these periods, it is worth paying special attention to what food you decide to use for hemorrhoids, since your condition and the intensity of symptoms will depend on this. With acute pain and bleeding, it is important to adhere to a slag-free diet. Include protein omelettes, light meat broths, boiled meat in your diet. You need to drink at least 2 liters of water per day. In agreement with the doctor, decoctions of medicinal herbs are allowed.
If you have constipation and have not had a bowel movement for two days, your doctor may recommend taking a laxative.
Diet for hemorrhoids with bleeding
Diet for hemorrhoids and constipation should consist of vegetables, fruits, cereals. Especially useful are beets, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, apples, bananas, plums and dried fruits. From cereals, it is better to add buckwheat or barley, as well as oatmeal, to the diet. Meat and fish should be steamed without adding spices in the usual amount.
Vegetables and fruits should preferably be eaten whole and fresh, as they retain more fiber. It is responsible for the adsorption of water in the stomach, which means it contributes to an increase in fecal masses, reducing the risk of constipation. There is a lot of fiber in bran, wholemeal bread. You can also buy special nutritional supplements.
Knowing how to eat properly with hemorrhoids will help you continue to maintain a healthy diet in the future. After all, the above recommendations help not only to quickly get rid of nodes and other manifestations of pathology, but also for preventive purposes.
Diet after hemorrhoid surgery
Your doctor should advise you on how to eat after hemorrhoid removal. In the Kyiv clinic “LeoMed” recommendations for the recovery period are necessarily given.
During the day after the operation, it is not recommended to eat food, only drink – ordinary clean drinking water or mineral water without gas. On such a diet, the body does not form fecal masses, which is important in the first 48 hours after surgery.
Then, within 2-3 days, you can gradually introduce green or herbal tea, dried fruits, liquid porridge on the water into the diet.
You need to eat from 6 times a day, every 2.5-3 hours. After 3 days, fermented milk products are allowed to be added, and after a week, steamed fish and meat.
It is important not only to eat certain foods and avoid others, but also to adhere to a few simple nutritional principles. You need to eat often, but in small portions. Alcohol is strictly prohibited.
The LeoMed clinic will provide all the necessary recommendations to make your recovery faster.
After the patient returns to normal activities and normal nutrition, the diet will still need to be monitored.