Hemorrhoids are the inflamed, swollen arteries or veins present in the lower part of the rectum or around anus.
Veins can get swollen inside the anus to cause internal hemorrhoids or at the opening of the anus to cause external hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are very common and present in almost half of the people having an age of 50 or above.
About 75% people will have hemorrhoids at some point of their lives.
Internal hemorrhoids can protrude or prolapse through anus permanently and may require a treatment.
What are the causes of hemorrhoids?
- Straining during bowel movements
- Chronic constipation
- Sitting for prolonged periods of time especially in toilets
- Lack of fiber in diet
- Diseases like Liver Cirrhosis
Symptoms of hemorrhoids
A few common symptoms:
- Bright red blood on stools or on tissue paper during bowel movements
- Anal itching
- Difficulty in bowel movements due to hard lumps formed near the anus
- Rectal pain and discomfort
15 Foods that can help in Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are not life threatening. Most of the symptoms go away in a few days. But, hemorrhoids can cause great discomfort and serious pain in the lower part of rectum.
Here are some foods some of which can help prevent hemorrhoids while others can help in symptoms and help avoid further complications.
1. Flax seeds
Painful defecation and hard stools are the major problems associated with hemorrhoids. Lubricating the intestines is one of the major strategies in preventing rectal pain while defecating during hemorrhoids.
Flax seed oil is highly useful in curbing ongoing constipation, inflammation of the lining of large intestine and inside the anus. Flax seed are a good source of dietary fiber essential to overcome constipation. Besides, they are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
Scientists believe that flax seeds make platelets and prevent blood loss. Thus, bleeding in hemorrhoids can be reduced by consuming flax seeds.
What it means? Flax seeds are useful in lubricating intestine, preventing painful defection and also help in arresting blood flow in hemorrhoids.
2. Whole Grains and Grain Products
Products like rice bran, cereals, oats, wheat bran and starchy vegetables such as corn and potatoes are a rich source of fiber.
One should consume six ounces of grain products daily. It is advisable to replace refined products like white rice, bread and pasta by brown rice and whole grain products.
Fibers are edible parts of plants containing complex carbohydrates.
These carbohydrates cannot be digested.
Fibers have cell walls that prevent digestion and retain water within their cellular structure. American Dietetic Association recommends including 30-35g of dietary fiber in the diet.
Scientific studies have shown that dietary fiber can increase the stool frequency in patients with hemorrhoids.
Constipation and painful defecation are the conditions associated with hemorrhoids. Fibers are found to be highly useful in overcoming these conditions.
What it means? Fiber is the vital constituent present in whole grains and grain products. High fiber diet is essential to avoid constipation and painful defecation experienced in hemorrhoids.
Constipation is commonly associated with hemorrhoids. One of the main strategies in curbing constipation is to increase dietary fiber.
Beets are rich sources of dietary fiber with 2.8g of dietary fiber per 100g.
Besides, beets also consist of vitamin C. Vitamin C is useful in preventing bleeding of vessels. Though, no relation has been found between bleeding of vessels in hemorrhoids and vitamin C, some scientists believe that vitamin C can help in restricting blood flow.
Beets contain low amounts of saturated fats and are a good source of energy too. So, start using beets in salads and vegetables.
What it means? High fiber and vitamin C content in beets is highly useful in preventing constipation and bleeding in hemorrhoids.
4. High fluid intake
It is recommended to drink six to seven glasses of non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic fluid drinks daily.
High fluid intake is essential for softening stools and preventing painful defecation. Besides, high fluid intake also helps to increase the stool frequency.
Water enhances the healthy benefits of fiber in avoiding constipation. Thus, water can be a natural therapy to avoid constipation and painful defecation in hemorrhoids.
So, have adequate fluid intake but do remember to avoid drinking caffeinated drinks in excess. Fruit juices, coconut water, lemon water can be good choices to rise up the fluid level in the body.
What it means? High fluid intake is associated with increased stool frequency and easy bowel movements. So, do remember to maintain your fluid levels in hemorrhoids!
5. Psyllium or Isapghula husk
Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products of European Union has confirmed that Isapghula husk can be used to treat hemorrhoids and in conditions where painful defecation is to be avoided.
Besides, psyllium is useful to treat anal fissures and constipation.
Isapghula contains the dietary fiber that acts as a mild laxative. When it is combined with water, it forms a gel like substance that adds bulk to the faeces.
This stimulates the intestine and it helps the stool to pass through the tract easily. Hydrocolloidal polysaccharide (mucilage) is the dietary fiber that helps to retain water, assist in easy cleaning up of bowels and absorb irritating products of gut.
Lubrication of intestine is stimulated by psyllium that stimulates the movements of bowels.
It is advised to use 5-10g of Isapghula husk daily as mentioned in the report of heath system of University of Michigan.
What it means? The mucilage Hydrocolloidal polysaccharide present in Isapghula husk acts as a mild laxative. It promotes easy passage of stools. When used in proper quantities, Isapghula husk can be a good laxative agent.
Oats are incredibly rich in nutrients and should be taken daily. It is wise to kick off your day with oat meal.
Conservative approach while treating hemorrhoids is to avoid any constipation and hard stools. Oats are a great source of soluble fibers. Soluble fiber forms gel with water, make stools bulkier and thus help in easing out stools.
Oats are proved to be a relief in hemorrhoids by preventing constipation and hard stools.
Harvard Medical School recommends using 20-25g of dietary fiber daily to avoid constipation and painful defecation experienced in hemorrhoids.
What it means? High soluble fiber content in oats softens the stools and prevents painful defecation in hemorrhoids.
7. Fruits and Dried fruits
Fruit contains soluble fibers that bind water and form gel like mass. High soluble fiber content makes one feel full, avoids over eating and speeds up the time required to pass the stools.
Fruits and fruit juices taken in regular diet can add up to 0.8 g (for a 20g fiber diet) of fiber content in the body. The excellent combination of fibers and sugar which are difficult for the body to digest make fruits excellent to clear bouts of constipation.
Dried fruits like apricots, raisins and dates have more fiber content than regular fruits.
Evaporation and other methods are employed to remove water content and thus, dried fruits are made.
What it means? Both fruits and dried fruits are rich in fibers. These fibers help in to avoid constipation in hemorrhoids.
Rhubarb’s root and stem are of medical importance. Rhubarb helps to keep our body hydrated, softens stools and helps in easy bowel movements.
It is used to relieve strained bowel movement and this reduces pain from hemorrhoids or tears in the skin lining of anal canal.
A mixture of rhubarb and Glauber’s salt improves constipation.
What it means? Rhubarb is of great help to reduce pain from hemorrhoids and tears in the skin lining of anal canal.
Papaya is a wonder food to aid digestion. This tasty fruit is very healthy and of great help in hemorrhoids.
Scientific studies have shown that papaya is of great help to treat digestive disorders. These disorders constitute constipation and bloating that are common symptoms of hemorrhoids.
Papaya contains a constituent called papain which is a protein digesting enzyme and it is responsible for the healthy benefits of papaya.
Green papaya has more papain content than ripe papaya. So, it is advised to consume green papaya through salads and vegetables.
What it means? Papain present in papaya has significant digestion stimulating properties. So, problems of constipation and bloating present in hemorrhoids can be overcome using papaya.
Prunes are small fruits that are widely used as a natural remedy to improve stool frequency and other bowel disorders.
Prunes are a rich source of fibers that add bulk to feces and enhance easy defecation.
Besides, dihydrophenylisatin is a natural laxative present in prunes which helps in the cleaning up of bowels. Also, sorbitol is a naturally occurring sugar present in prunes that draws water into colon and softens stools. This really helps in painful defecation.
Scientific studies have shown that complete spontaneous bowel movements per week and stool consistency improved significantly with prunes.
One should not eat excessive prunes as they contain calcium oxalate crystals that can lead to kidney problems.
Consume 50 grams of prunes twice daily and forget about constipation, painful defecation and rectal pain.
What it means? Prunes are wonder food to treat constipation, painful defecation and rectal pain observed in hemorrhoids.
It is rightly said “Eat apple a day, keep disorders at a bay”.
Apple is a cure to many diseases and can improve stool frequency too.
The high fiber content in apples is beneficial in increasing stool frequency, softening stools and thus avoiding painful defecation.
About 2-3 grams of fiber is present in 3.5 ounces of whole apples. Pectin is a soluble fiber which amounts for a total of about 50% of total fiber content in apples.
So, as doctors say, eat apple daily and stay healthy. Do remember not to peel off the skin of apple because it is a major source of fiber.
What it means? Rich fiber content of apples helps in improving stool frequency. Thus, it relieves patients suffering from constipation during hemorrhoids.
Berries are one of the nutritious foods in existence. Berries provide a plethora of nutrients from vitamin C, anthocyanin, vitamin K and magnesium.
But, dietary fiber is the main constituent present in berries which is helpful in avoiding constipation in hemorrhoids.
Besides, berries help to repair the damaged blood vessels and improve overall health of vascular system. Berries can act as anti-inflammatory relieving the pain experienced in hemorrhoids.
Considering these benefits of berries, it is wise to consume strawberries, raspberries and other berries during hemorrhoids.
What it means? Berries are one of the most nutritious foods. Berries not only relieve pain but are also effective in avoiding constipation and hard stools. So do not forget to consume berries!
13. Gotu Kola
Gotu kola is mostly grown in India and belongs to the parsley family.
Gotu Kola is found to be highly beneficial in treating varicose veins and venous insufficiency.
Varicose veins are caused when veins lose their elasticity. These veins worsen further when pressure is applied leading to the bulging of veins. Such bulging of veins can also lead to hemorrhoids.
Triterpenic fraction of centella asiatica is the chemical present in gotu kola. It is highly beneficial in varicose veins because it stimulates the production of elastin and collagen.
Stronger veins means less bulging of veins and thus gotu kola can help in averting the condition of hemorrhoids.
What it means? Chemicals present in gotu kola are highly beneficial in preventing bulging of veins. So, do consume gotu kola along with tea and avail the benefits of it!
14. Aloe Vera
Anthraquinones and anthrone present in aloe vera produce a laxative effect.
They do so by increasing colonic peristalsis and intestinal water content. These chemical constituents open up chloride channels to prevent reabsorption of water by colon.
This softens the stools, eases out the bowel movements and thus painful defecation is avoided.
Hemorrhoids can lead to rectal pain and constipation. Hence, laxatives are essential to ease out stools. It should be noted that excessive usage of aloe vera can lead to colon cancer. Consult your physician before consuming aloe vera.
What it means? Aloe vera is a strong laxative agent making it easy for stools to pass out in hemorrhoids.
15. Horse Chestnut
Horse Chestnut is a tree found in diverse parts of Europe and North America. Horse Chestnut contains aescin, the main chemical constituent responsible for its medicinal properties.
Horse Chestnut is found to be beneficial in chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), hemorrhoids and also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Chronic venous insufficiency can lead to bulging of veins leading to edema. Hemorrhoids can lead to CVI.
Scientists recommend taking in 90-150 mg of aescin daily to avail the direct medical benefits of horse chestnut.
Consult your physician before taking horse chestnut.
What it means? Horse Chestnut is found to be beneficial in venous insufficiency and hemorrhoids. It is recommended to consume aescin, the chemical constituent of horse chestnut daily 90-150mg.
Hemorrhoids are inflamed, swollen veins around the anus.
They are not life threatening, but they are painful.
If not taken proper care, they can lead to serious discomfort and pain. Proper diet can help to prevent and relieve the symptoms of hemorrhoids.
Eat foods rich in fiber, have high fluid intake and avoid sitting in toilets for long time to prevent hemorrhoids. Conforming to these simple measures can help to get away with hemorrhoids.
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