Should I Take a Probiotic as a Part of my Post-Hemorrhoid Treatment Diet?

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD

Regular probiotic use, in addition to following a high-fiber diet plan, can help you heal and prevent recurrence after hemorrhoid surgery or other treatment. The truth is, how you eat after undergoing hemorrhoid treatment is a major factor in preventing future issues. While yogurt and other probiotic products have not traditionally been a part of the recommended diet plan, research over the last decade has soon they offer additional help with easing constipation and helping you “go” without straining.

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Should I add a probiotic to my diet immediately after hemorrhoid surgery?

Unless your doctor gives you the go-ahead, you should not immediately return to your regular diet after surgery. In the first hours – up to 24 – you will probably experience nausea and may vomit. The medication used during the surgery will still be in your system, and your primary concern will be preventing constipation from the pain medications.

Your doctor will probably recommend you only have clear liquids and plenty of fluids in the first few hours after surgery. You may be allowed broth, gelatin, juice and popsicles. Yogurt and other dairy products should probably be avoided until your stomach settles.

While some people bounce back very quickly, others need a few days of bland food and plenty of fluids until stomachs are ready for a high-fiber diet and their bowel movements become regular again. Often, we recommend rice, crackers, applesauce and similar foods.

What role should a probiotic play in my ongoing diet following hemorrhoid treatment?

Once you begin your regular diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, you can add a daily probiotic. These diets typically recommend avoiding dairy products, but the benefits of yogurt may outweigh the risk. Often, people opt to eat a high-quality yogurt at breakfast, drink a probiotic smoothie or take daily supplements. You will want to be careful not to over-do it, however. Too much can cause loose stools and diarrhea.

You will also need to avoid constipation in other ways. Eating high fiber foods and plenty of green, leafy vegetables will help. Staying hydrated and avoiding foods known to cause constipation are also important.

How can probiotics help ease bowel movements and reduce the risk of a hemorrhoid recurrence?

Constipation and diarrhea are common factors in causing hemorrhoid flare ups. Sitting on the toilet for prolonged periods of time or straining to go not only causes more hemorrhoid issues but also makes symptoms worse. Probiotics can ease constipation and help keep you regular, preventing the need to sit on the toilet as long or strain when you go.

Research on probiotics is young and still ongoing. Right now, there is no proof that any specific probiotic works better than others for use following hemorrhoid treatment. One day, there may be recommendations for how much to use and how often to use it. For now, however, adding the most common types — Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium – to your diet regularly should be enough.

While your supermarket probably contains at least a dozen options for probiotic yogurts, drinks and supplements, it is important to pay attention to the labels and ensure they do not contain excessive amounts of sugar, artificial sweeteners or other ingredients that could cause problems in your gastrointestinal tract.

Should I talk to my doctor before using probiotics regularly?

For the vast majority of people, probiotics are safe. Even if they do not help you, they are unlikely to cause any serious side effects with regular serving sizes or dosages. You may want to talk to your doctor before you add them to your diet, however.

Probiotics should still be considered a supplement to the diet and any medications prescribed for your post-hemorrhoid treatment. They are not a replacement for the recommended course of action from your doctor. It is especially important to talk to your doctor before using a probiotic if you are immunosuppressed or have other GI concerns.

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