The Importance of a High-Fiber Diet for Hemorrhoid Prevention
If you’ve ever asked, “How can I prevent hemorrhoids?” then you’ve probably been told to make sure you’re getting enough fiber in your diet. While that’s good advice, you might be eager to learn more about the reasoning behind it.
The more you know about eating a high-fiber diet for hemorrhoid prevention, the more effective you’ll be at putting the idea into practice — and the more committed you’ll be to including fiber on your plate every day.
Fiber and Constipation
A high-fiber diet may keep you from getting constipated. Constipation happens when stool sits in your colon too long. When that happens, it dries out and gets hard. That makes it harder to pass the stool out of your body.
Fiber is helpful for avoiding constipation in two ways.
First, there’s a type of fiber that your body can’t break down. It’s called insoluble fiber. This type of fiber works by helping food move through your colorectal system at a good pace. That way, it doesn’t linger in your colon and become hard.
Secondly, there’s another type, soluble fiber, that dissolves in water. Soluble fiber is beneficial in the fight against constipation because it adds shape and softness to stool. That makes it easier for your body to eliminate this waste material.
Constipation and Hemorrhoids
Constipation is uncomfortable, but that’s not the only reason you’ll want to avoid it. Struggling and straining in the bathroom could lead to hemorrhoids.
As you bear down in an attempt to push out hard, dry stool, you can put excess pressure on your rectum. That can lead to inflammation in your rectal veins. Irritated, enlarged hemorrhoids may be the result.
By eating a diet that keeps you regular, you’ll have a better chance of keeping hemorrhoids away.
Most Americans get around 15 grams of fiber in their daily diets. Unfortunately, that’s not nearly enough.
The amount you should be getting depends on your age and gender.
- Through age 50, women need 25 grams or more each day.
- At age 51 and up, women need 21 grams or more.
- Through age 50, men need 38 grams or more.
- At age 51 and up, men need 30 grams or more.
Making sure to hit the recommended fiber intake each day may help you maintain regular bowel habits.
Good Sources of Dietary Fiber
For a high-fiber diet for hemorrhoid prevention, focus on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. With a balanced diet, you should get a good mix of soluble and insoluble fiber.
Fruits like apples, oranges and bananas are good for including more soluble fiber in your diet. This type of fiber is present in oats and potatoes as well.
Many vegetables, including cruciferous and leafy green ones, provide insoluble fiber. You’ll also find it in the skins of many fruits and veggies. For a snack that’s rich in insoluble fiber, try nuts or popcorn.
Getting more fiber in your diet is an admirable goal, but be sure to increase your intake gradually. Trying to do too much too quickly could lead to stomach discomfort. Also, you should drink plenty of water along with your fiber-rich foods.
Watch this video for tips:
If you need more fiber than you’re able to get through diet alone, it might be advisable to take a fiber supplement.
Before you start, make a call to your doctor for a recommendation. Fiber supplements come in several varieties, and your healthcare provider might suggest a certain type for you.
That’s especially true if you have a health condition like diabetes or celiac disease or take medication that might interact poorly with a supplement.
As with increasing the fiber in your diet, take your time when adding a supplement to your routine. It’s better to slowly increase the amount you take than to jump right to a high dose.
Fiber for Hemorrhoid Treatment
Despite your best intentions, you might end up with hemorrhoids. Constipation is just one of the potential causes. You could also end up with hemorrhoids after lifting something heavy, being pregnant or having a bout of diarrhea.
Don't give up on the fiber just because you've developed hemorrhoids. Rather, keep up with your fiber intake. The easier your bowel movements are, the less likely you are to aggravate your condition while sitting on the toilet.
A Word of Caution About Fiber for Hemorrhoids
Fiber consumption doesn’t relieve constipation for everyone. For some patients, it actually worsens the problem. If that’s the case for you, then a high-fiber diet for hemorrhoid prevention isn’t going to work.
See what happens when you slowly increase your fiber consumption. If your discomfort increases in response, then you may need to figure out a different way to address your constipation issue. Talk to your doctor to discuss alternatives.
When Fiber Isn’t Enough
Fortunately, for many people, fiber consumption keeps constipation at bay. Preventing constipation can go a long way toward hemorrhoid prevention. And if hemorrhoids do develop, dietary fiber can help with the healing process.
There are times, though, when you may need something more than just a high-fiber diet. You might be in search of a long-lasting solution for your hemorrhoid flare-ups. Rubber band ligation could be the answer.
This minimally invasive approach to hemorrhoid removal can be more effective than simply upping your fiber intake. To learn more about quick, safe and affordable hemorrhoid banding, see our Adler Ligator resource page.
As with all medical issues, your physician is the ultimate source as to what procedure best fits your needs. Discuss all options and get a second opinion if you have any doubts. These articles are intended to be a source of general information only.