Hemorrhoids and Spicy Foods. A Bad Combination?

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD

Hemorrhoids And Food.

Since we all have hemorrhoids, will we all become symptomatic from them?  No.  Why not? Hemorrhoids are a normal part of our anatomy.  There are three main hemorrhoidal groups encircling our anal opening.  They have been there since birth.  Hemorrhoids act as “bumpers” to cushion the stool as it passes through the anal canal on the way to you-know-where.  If we did not have hemorrhoids, the stool would constantly irritate our anal opening. That’s where the proctologist, also known as a colon and rectal surgeon enters our lives.  But what about food?  Can our food selections irritate our hemorrhoids?

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What Exactly Are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are nothing more than veins, nerves, arteries and connective tissue, all bundled up and covered with a lining called mucosa.  When, for many possible reasons, the hemorrhoids enlarge, much like varicose veins in the legs, the lining, or mucosa, stretches and becomes irritated, leading to symptoms:

  • Bleeding.
  • Pain.
  • Itching.
  • Discharge.
  • Prolapse, whereby the hemorrhoid falls out, or protrudes from the rectum.

What Irritates Hemorrhoids?

Many factors come into play that might set off an hemorrhoidal “attack”.  Food may be one of those factors, but not in the way that you might imagine.  Lack of enough daily fiber, may cause a hard bowel movement, which, in turn may irritate your hemorrhoids.  Most adults need between 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day to promote a “fluffy” or soft stool.

Certain medications, such as the cholesterol-lowering medications called statins, can irritate hemorrhoids. While not strictly a food, statins may be taken with fiber to promote soft stools. Certain foods can constipate you. Chocolate, large amounts of dairy products, large quantities of red meat, bananas and caffeine can be constipating. They can also cause diarrhea and these can all act in combination with other bodily factors.

There is no evidence that spicy foods irritate hemorrhoids.  However residual pepper or hot spices in the stool may aggravate the already sensitive anal lining.

Eat Healthy.  Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates.

The board certified surgeons of Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates are experienced in diagnosing and treating hemorrhoidal problems.  They will be able to discuss your dietary habits with you.  To schedule a confidential consultation, call (310)273-2310. Education is empowering.  Learn about hemorrhoids and foods today.

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