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12 Foods to Avoid if You Have Hemorrhoids

Have hemorrhoids? Avoid these 12 foods to ease the pain.
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If you have hemorrhoids, the last thing you want to do is eat something that will make them even more painful.

The trick in reducing hemorrhoid pain is to prevent constipation, which is one of the worst triggers and pain-increasers for hemorrhoids. Eating foods that will make elimination easier (but not too much easier), is the best way to prevent constipation and reduce pain during painful hemorrhoid flare-ups.

If you are suffering from a hemorrhoid outbreak, avoid the following foods:

Excessive Fiber

Everyone tells you to eat more fiber to reduce constipation, but fiber as a constipation remedy will only solve one kind of constipation- and not the kind associated with hemorrhoids. Fiber is bulk-forming, which means that it creates bulk in the intestines.

Contrary to popular belief, fiber does not act like little brooms sweeping out your intestines. Rather, it builds larger stools, which then encourage your intestines to pass the stool. However, if you have hemorrhoids, you do not want bulkier stool, which will simply make the problem worse. Do not try to take fiber supplements to prevent hemorrhoid-related constipation.

Laxatives

Although it may seem like a good idea to take laxatives to prevent constipation while dealing with hemorrhoids, laxatives can also have a painful effect on hemorrhoids. Laxatives promote loose stool, which often has a high acid content. As you can imagine, bothering hemorrhoids with frequent, acidic stool can only lead to pain and discomfort.

Additionally, taking laxatives for extended periods can actually result in constipation. Laxatives are diuretic, encouraging fluids to leave the body. After a while, your body becomes dehydrated, which is a trigger for constipation.

Alcohol

Alcohol is dehydrating, which means it can lead to the development of constipation. If you drink large amounts of alcohol, not only will you be more likely to face constipation, but you may also upset the digestive balance in your stomach in intestines, which could make elimination more painful. For the least amount of pain during your hemorrhoid outbreak, avoid drinking more than a glass or two of any alcoholic beverage.

Refined Grains

Refined grains lack fiber and other nutrients that aid proper digestion and elimination. Consequently, any refined grains that you eat can sit in the stomach or intestines for a while, contributing to constipation and stomach pain. This will make any hemorrhoid flare-ups more painful and can contribute to pain and swelling at the hemorrhoid site.

Processed Foods

Just like refined grains, processed foods are a danger during periods of hemorrhoid flare-ups. Processed foods contain few nutrients, a lot of salt and unhealthy fats. All of these ingredients can contribute to poor digestion and constipation. Processed foods like freezer meals, junk food, packaged sweets, and any other pre-packaged and processed foods will only contribute to further hemorrhoid pain. Additionally, many processed foods contain inflammation-promoting ingredients. The more inflamed the blood vessels are, the worse your hemorrhoid pain will be.

Dairy

Dairy products could promote constipation and make hemorrhoids worse. Typically, dairy products do not cause constipation on their own, but they can contribute to constipation discomfort and pain during hemorrhoid outbreaks. Dairy does contribute to the production of gas, which can contribute to hemorrhoid pain and stomach cramps if you are already constipated. In some studies, large consumption of dairy products leaves fatty acids in the intestines which bind to calcium deposits. This leads to the accumulation of bulk called “soaps,” which contribute to constipation and harder stool.

Salt

During hemorrhoid flare-ups, salt can be a dangerous food. Salt is dehydrating, and can make stool harder to pass. Excessive amounts of salt can slow the digestive system, making bowel movements more painful. Additionally, a build-up of salt in the blood can cause bloating, which may make swollen hemorrhoids worse and more sensitive. Watch your salt intake carefully during hemorrhoid flare-ups and you will find your pain lessened.

Deep-Fried Foods

Fried foods are full of unhealthy ingredients like unhealthy oils, a high fat content, and typically unhealthy foods before they were fried. Although deep-frying foods every now and then probably won’t damage your health permanently, during hemorrhoid flare-ups, you should avoid any inflaming foods.

Deep-fried foods can be damaging to hemorrhoids in two ways. First, the foods are heavy and hard to digest. This can slow down your entire digestive system, making it more difficult to have a bowel movement. Second, fried foods are typically cooked in vegetable oils like corn, soy, and rapeseed oil. These oils are extremely inflaming and can cause damage to the intestinal walls. The damage can exacerbate existing hemorrhoids, making them larger and more painful.

Spicy Foods

Ordinarily, spicy foods do not cause pain or even contribute to the development of hemorrhoids. However, if you have swollen hemorrhoids, you will want to stay away from spicy foods for a few days until your hemorrhoid pain leaves. Spicy foods can make bowel movements more painful, particularly if your hemorrhoids are bleeding or sore. In some cases, spicy foods may contribute to diarrhea, which is also painful during hemorrhoid flare-ups.

Iron Supplements

If you take iron supplements and also have hemorrhoids, you should stop taking the supplements during hemorrhoid outbreaks. Iron is a known constipating supplement, which is something you don’t want on top of hemorrhoid pain. Until your hemorrhoids heal, avoid taking iron in supplement form, and you may want to avoid iron-fortified foods for a few days as well.

Unripe Fruit

While ripe fruit is beneficial and healthy, unripe fruit could contribute to pain and suffering for someone with hemorrhoids. Unripe fruit is difficult to digest, and some fruit, like bananas, contain constipating compounds until the fruit fully ripens. Much of the fruit sold at the grocery store is unripe, so if you plan to eat fruit during your flare-up, make sure it is fully ripe before consuming.

Many fruits can be encouraged to ripen by placing them in a warm spot inside a paper sack for a couple of days.

Constipating Medications

Many medications have the unfortunate side effect of causing constipation. This can spell disaster for hemorrhoids. Consult with your doctor about the option of stopping these medications until your hemorrhoids have healed. A list of common constipating medications follows:

Constipating Medications

Prescription Medications: Blood pressure medicine, cholesterol medicine, pain relievers, heart medication, anticonvulsants, tranquilizers, antidepressants

OTC Medications: antacids with aluminum, pain relievers, cold medicine, laxatives or diuretics, anemia medication, iron supplements, antihistamines


What Can I Do to Heal Hemorrhoids?

Other than avoiding the above foods and ingredients, there are a few steps you can take to heal hemorrhoids if you have them. Soothe Hemorrhoids A few topical treatments can make your hemorrhoid pain bearable. Try the following steps to heal hemorrhoid pain during flare-ups:

Witch Hazel or Canphor Sitz Bath

This is simply a soak in warm water with some witch hazel added to reduce swelling and inflammation. A sitz bath usually has less than 3 inches of water, which you can do in a special tub or in your own bathtub. A camphor bath will have similar soothing abilities but is designed to relieve pain and soothe itching.

Aloe Vera

Aloe is a soothing plant that can help soothe painful, swollen hemorrhoids. Apply aloe directly to the affected area twice daily for relief.

Oat Poultice

If your hemorrhoids are particularly painful, you may find a poultice of mashed oats to be an effective relief. Simply sit on the poultice for a few minutes daily to relieve itching and swelling at the site.

Reduce Inflammation

One of the biggest triggers for hemorrhoids is inflammation. Inflammation encourages the hemorrhoids themselves to flare up. You can control inflammation by supplementing with anti-inflammatory herbs, including horse chestnut and turmeric. 

Strengthen Blood Vessels

Hemorrhoids are simply inflamed and swollen blood vessels. The purpose of hemorrhoids is to help aid elimination. Ordinarily, hemorrhoids are contained inside the anus, but when swollen, they can enlarge and descend, which is why hemorrhoids are so painful. However, by strengthening the blood vessels, you can make it more difficult for the hemorrhoids to swell. This promotes circulation and prevents further flare-ups.

The following 4 ingredients are effective at promoting circulation and preventing swollen hemorrhoids:

Blood Vessel-Strengthening Herbs 
  • Bioflavonoids
  • Butcher’s broom
  • Bilberry
  • Cayenne pepper (take in small doses until your current flare-up has passed)

Heal Hemorrhoid Fissures

If you have bleeding hemorrhoids and fissures, they will remain sore and painful until they heal. You can speed the healing process with cascara sagrada, zinc, and arginine.

Easing the Pain of Hemorrhoids

When you have hemorrhoids, you don’t want to do anything that will make the condition more painful. Luckily, there are a variety of treatments that will lessen the pain of current outbreaks and help prevent future outbreaks. However, if you are currently facing a hemorrhoid outbreak, the above foods can contribute to increased discomfort while you hemorrhoids heal. For best results and the most pain-free hemorrhoid flare-ups, avoid all of the above foods until your hemorrhoid pain is completely gone.

Prevent future flares by continuing to supplement for hemorrhoid health even after your flare-ups heal.

Sources


http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-hemorrhoids-basics

"The Doctors Book of Home Remedies"; Don Barone; 2003

http://www.everydayhealth.com/constipation-pictures/foods-to-avoid-for-constipation-relief.aspx#/slide-8

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