Pass the Beans! High-Fiber Diet Helps Hemorrhoids

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD

Suffering from hemorrhoids? They are literally a pain. However, what you eat can prevent or reduce them. Here’s a simple recipe for success: Fill up on fiber!

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As mentioned in our other posts about Hemorrhoids, “It’s not exactly a dinner table topic people want to talk about in social settings. But more people suffer from the discomfort caused by hemorrhoids than you might think. An estimated 50 percent of all adults have experienced a hemorrhoid flare-up at some point.”

Filling Up on Fiber

There are two kinds of fiber. They can be found in the same food, but they serve different purposes when it comes to your health. You need both, but you need to know which one to add to your diet when it comes to preventing hemorrhoids. In that case, go with insoluble fiber, which combines with food in your digestive system to add bulk to your stools.

  • Insoluble: Have you heard the term, “Roughage?” It’s the tough stuff in food (i.e. pumpkin seeds, potato skins, etc.) that does not dissolve in water, breakdown in your gut, or enter your bloodstream.
  • Soluble: Unlike insoluble fiber that is tough, soluble fiber is soft and sticky, as well as absorbs water. The gel substance it creates can soften your stools.

In a previous post, we wrote, “When you hear about dietary trends for enhanced health, there are a few recommendations that stick around. The high fiber diet has long outlived the standard life of a fad diet, and now commonly receives the attention it deserves as a generally healthy dietary habit…”

High-Fiber Foods and Daily Intake

Although there is no diet that can cure hemorrhoids, a high-fiber diet can be effective. Each day, you should try to consume about 25-30 grams of fiber. Increase your intake of fiber through your diet or taking supplements. Avoid red meat, hot dogs, fried foods, alcohol, and caffeine. Foods high in fiber include:

  • Beans (black beans, lima beans, baked beans…)
  • Whole Grains (bran cereal, oatmeal, brown rice…)
  • Vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, artichoke, peas…)
  • Fruit (apples, bananas, pears, raspberries…)

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins that enlarge and develop in the lower portion of the rectum or anus. This is a common condition that results from increased pressure on the veins in the anorectal region.”

Fiber is beneficial to treat and prevent hemorrhoids. However, if you eat too much fiber, this can actually cause hemorrhoids to develop as the stool may become too hard and difficult to evacuate.

To counteract too much fiber in your diet, make sure to slowly take in more fiber and stay hydrated by drinking enough water and fluids. Otherwise, you become constipated, which makes your hemorrhoids even worse.

Choosing Fiber Supplements and Vitamins

High-fiber foods, supplements, and vitamins soften your stool. So, you avoid straining too much. If you would rather gain fiber from a supplement or vitamin, try some of the various over the counter softeners. These products can be found at your local pharmacy, health stores, or big box stores.. However, consult your doctor before taking any of these supplements.

When selecting fiber supplements and vitamins, make sure they contain psyllium, sterculia, or unprocessed bran. These ingredients reduce bleeding, itching, pain, and other symptoms of hemorrhoids.

Also, creams can help relieve hemorrhoid symptoms. According to LAColon, “In most cases, you don’t need medical care to treat hemorrhoids. But you can treat the symptoms and minimize any discomfort by applying hemorrhoid cream.  If you cannot resolve your symptoms, a proctologist, also known as a colon and rectal surgeon, will be able to help you.”

Increasing fiber in your diet can help prevent or treat hemorrhoids. Just do it slowly and stay hydrated. One of the side effects: more fiber = more gas. And you know what that may bring.

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