Foods to Eat and to Avoid for Hemorrhoids

Living with hemorrhoids can be a hellish experience, unless you know what foods to eat and what foods to avoid. You can even improve the quality of life immensely by knowing a few no-cost tricks that help reduce bleeding, inflammation and relieve pain and itching associated with the condition. Hemorrhoids can occur at virtually any age, to any person. Those most at risk of developing them are adults and 50+ people with a poor diet and bad lifestyle habits.

The criteria for developing hemorrhoids lists living a sedentary lifestyle, battling recurrent, chronic constipation and enjoying a bad diet, rich in processed foods and low in dietary fiber. It has been found that genetics also plays a part in hemorrhoids occurrence, but the condition can be successfully prevented or managed without having to resort to costly and painful medical procedures by improving two key-aspects of your life: diet and exercise.


Up next, read simple, cheap and efficient home treatments that can turn around your hemorrhoids experience for the better. Here are 5 solutions to improve your hemorrhoids diet plan and make hemorrhoids better:
1) Dietary fiber. Foods rich in dietary fiber such as whole grains (whole wheat, oat, barley) or nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds) are essential for good transit and easy stools. Dietary fiber basically adds bulk to stools, facilitating passage through the intestinal tract. Stools need to get bulky enough to make the muscles of the intestinal tract contract in view of eliminating them. Having oatmeal for breakfast, whole wheat pasta for lunch or pumpkin seeds for a midday snack prevents constipation, and thus strain, leading to effortless bowel movements that do not upset existing hemorrhoids.

2) Fruits and veggies. Although they may not contain as much dietary fiber as nuts and seeds or whole grains, they are needed to replace the unhealthy, constipating foods in your diet while supplying you with needed vitamins, minerals, calories and other nutrients. After all, one has to eat. But eating more natural foods prevents the condition from worsening. Kiwifruit, oranges, grapes, berries, apples, bananas, watermelons, pumpkins, legumes and green leafy vegetables are all rich in both dietary fiber and water and help with hemorrhoids in two ways: first they prevent constipation and, secondly, they help keep the intestines clean and ensure optimal transit time, all key-elements in reducing hemorrhoids discomfort.

3) Natural, unsaturated fatty acids. Healthy, natural fats such as those found in extra-virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, avocado, tuna, salmon and so on are ideal for anyone dealing with hemorrhoids. Fats help lubricate the passage of our bowel movements, reducing strain and friction which may upset hemorrhoid veins. In addition to this, healthy fats such as these contribute to cardiovascular health and supply good amounts of antioxidants.

4) Herbal remedies to improve intestinal transit time. Drinking herbal infusions made from fennel seeds, senna leaf, licorice root or dandelion can help calm down hemorrhoid flare-ups. All four plants help improve transit time, promote contractions of the intestinal muscles and thus prevent constipation, the main cause of hemorrhoid flare-ups. You can add chamomile and lemon balm tea for relaxation as well. Other combinations that may work for you are welcome. The daily recommended dose is 1-3 cups of tea, but it might be best to ask your doctor for advice on the correct dosage. Pregnant women and anyone suspecting they may be allergic to certain plants should consult a doctor first.

5) Lots of liquids. People dealing with hemorrhoids know that constipation makes everything worse. And a sure way to prevent it is to drink sufficient amounts of liquids, namely water, fruit juices and teas. I say ‘sufficient amounts of liquids’ because every person is different and not all of us need the same liquid intake. If you have a small build, you may need as little as 1.5 liters of water a day. If you have a bigger build, you may drink up to 3 liters of water a day.
A sure way to know how much liquids you need is to make sure you always have water at the reach of your hand so you can drink it whenever you feel thirsty. This way you will stay hydrated enough to prevent constipation and hemorrhoid flare-ups, but won’t drink more than you need, risking mineral deficiencies.

Foods for hemorrhoids

If you do not pay attention to your diet and continue on the same path, your hemorrhoids can get worse up to the point they start bleeding, itching like crazy and become incredibly painful. So what makes hemorrhoids worse?
1) Too much white bread, processed foods such as biscuits, cakes, muffins, puff pastry, candy, pies, doughnuts and so on promotes constipation. In its turn, constipation leads to strain and hemorrhoid flare-ups.

2) Too much meat. Eating meat all the time constipates due to the fact that it is low in dietary fiber. Opt for healthy fish (see our Fish page) or lean chicken meat such as chicken legs to get your supply of proteins and healthy fats at the same time. Also, remember to always add vegetables on your plate next to meat products.

3) Spicy foods. Ginger, pepper, hot peppers can cause even quiet hemorrhoids to get swollen up to the point you cannot sit down without feeling serious discomfort. While they may be healthy, it is recommended to consume them with great care or avoid them altogether if your hemorrhoids are acting up.

4) Eating dairy products. Dairy products tend to have a constipating effect on many people. While kefir or sour milk help with bowel transit, hard cheeses, cow milk and their by products may promote constipation which causes strain which, in turn, worsens hemorrhoid disease. This is because most diary products are harder to digest, slowing down the digestion process and normal bowel transit. Dairy is not a good source of fiber either, making it bad for hemorrhoids if you eat too much.

5) Lack of exercise. Avoid sitting down for extended periods of time to reduce pressure on your bottom area. Get up from your chair every 20-30 minutes and walk for 5 minutes to get your circulation started and ease pressure. You can also do squats, lunges, leg lifts, but no more than 10-15 because strain on your lower body muscles also upsets hemorrhoids.

While surgery is the only way to get rid of hemorrhoids for good (in most cases), dietary changes are the only ones that make the condition tolerable, prevent it from progressing or reappearing. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains, as little processed as possible can improve your condition and its prognosis immensely in only a couple of weeks. Drinking sufficient liquids and exercising a bit help with blood circulation. It takes a while to adopt certain dietary changes and adapt them to your lifestyle requirements, but results can be downright amazing.

If you feel your hemorrhoids acting up, here are 12 great tips to reduce inflammation, pain and itching and restore proper circulation:
1) Exercise a bit. Swimming, jogging, walking all stimulate circulation and ease pressure on the bottom area, helping you better manage hemorrhoids in the long term. But if they are acting up, moderate exercising such as walking in the park or to the grocery store can help reduce discomfort by restoring normal circulation. Remember to avoid intense physical activity. This means avoiding lifting weights, heavy things or strain, including abdominal strain. Strain of any kind to your abdominal area, including strain from forcing out bowel movements, increases pressure and causes hemorrhoids to bleed.

2) Get a massage. Have a specialist or your significant other massage your lower back, bottom and upper and lower legs to get your blood flowing. Restoring circulation will not only relax you and make you feel more energized, but it also helps reduce pressure and help you better manage the pain.

3) Take your vitamins. Taking vitamin C daily is an excellent way to maintain your colon healthy and preserve blood vessel integrity. And because hemorrhoids are nothing more than swollen blood vessels that tend to collapse and bleed at the slightest strain or pressure, high doses of vitamin C makes them less prone to bleeding. Vitamin C is also a powerful natural anti-inflammatory and can help reduce inflammation and pain associated with the condition. It can also act as a treatment for hemorrhoids because it encourage the production of collagen to add elasticity to blood vessels (which is what hemorrhoids are) and help them heal faster.

4) Use petroleum jelly. This is great for easing discomfort on especially bad days because it is an excellent lubricant promoting skin care. Petroleum jelly greatly helps reduce friction and pain and discomfort associated with the condition. Small amounts can be used internally as well, prior to having a bowel movement, so as to ease pain. Petroleum jelly is ideal because it is not absorbed by the skin, but rather stays on it preserving its moisture and reducing friction with underwear or skin-on-skin friction responsible for irritation and pain.

5) Do not scratch. Scratching damages the skin, irritates the hemorrhoids and increases itching and pain sensations. For this reason, sufferers are advised to abstain from scratching the area and resort to sitz baths instead.

6) Do not scrub hard. When washing, gently clean the bottom area to avoid further discomfort. Avoid scratching or rubbing the area excessively with bath sponges or towels to avoid further itching, pain and bleeding.

7) Keep things clean. Bleeding blood vessels and damaged or irritated skin can easily get infected so wash regularly to prevent further complications. Use lukewarm water, mild soaps or gentle antibacterial products specific for the affected area.

8) Enjoy lukewarm sitting baths. While it may not sound as much, sitz baths or sitting baths offer great relief for hemorrhoid disease. Sit in lukewarm water 2-3 times a day, for about 10-15 minutes whenever your hemorrhoids tend to flare up. You can add medicinal plants such as chamomile to the water, but the bath itself should be enough.

9) Do not use conventional laxatives because laxative medication can be easily misused and cause diarrhea which, in turn, causes further irritation and soreness. Moreover, laxatives may be too hard on the already-irritated mucosa and may worsen symptoms.

10) Avoid aspirin and ibuprofen. The greater the amounts of aspirin or ibuprofen you take for pain relief, the higher the risk for bleeding hemorrhoids you have. If sitz baths, diet changes, medicinal remedies do not offer you the relief you seek, then it might be time to address your medical professional for a more definitive solution.

11) Do not postpone bowel movements. As soon as you feel the need to go to the bathroom, go. The longer you delay it, the worse it will be. The strain resulting from holding back will lead to more pain and a longer recovery time. It may help to eat at fixed hours. This should help give you a clear idea of your transit time so you know just about when you should go to the bathroom. This way you should not have to postpone it.

12) Avoid constipation. This is by far the most damaging for the progression of hemorrhoids disease which is why dietary changes and moderate exercising are vital to managing the condition. Overall, increasing your fruits and vegetables intake and decreasing your meat, dairy and processed foods intake is the most efficient solution to preventing constipation and managing hemorrhoids.

197 Replies to “Foods to Eat and to Avoid for Hemorrhoids”

  1. Hi, Marius. Thank you so much for the time you create to help others. Thanks a lot. I am doing way better now. I stop taking the laxative pills. I would say things are getting normal day by day. No pain during BM, it’s getting less and less everyday.

    • So happy to hear you are doing better, Ernst. It takes time to find balance, but small changes every day will help you recover from your hemorrhoids surgery completely. Remember to keep eating enough fiber and drink enough water from now on so the hemorrhoids don’t come back. And if you notice anything that doesn’t seem normal, see you doctor. Wishing you lots of health!

  2. Hii. I am 26 yr old. I got a c section, after 20 days my BM stopped for 2 days. And then the 3rd day got BM with blood. I went to the doctor and she told me I got a small pile, no need to have any treatment. By maintaining diet it will go away. So by maintaining diet, the pain and bleeding have stopped, but when I eat meat the bleeding and pain BM occur again. Now it has been 3rd month. How much time does it takes to recover? Will it go away or not? Shall I take non veg or not?

    • Hi, Chandana. Any form of surgery often results in some constipation, but typically patients successfully have a bowel movement on the second or third day, like in your case. Most doctors will not release their patients from the hospital until they’ve had a good BM.
      This being said, hemorrhoids are only treated with surgery. There is currently no other treatment for them.
      But surgery is not always necessary. If you can maintain a good diet, they can become asymptomatic, meaning there won’t cause pain and bleeding any more and you won’t even know you have them. This is what diet does for hemorrhoids.

      The bleeding you have noticed with your BM after eating meat could be because of constipation: the amount of meat you ate has caused you to develop constipation which upsets hemorrhoids and makes them act up again.
      The bleeding, pain and other piles symptoms come and go, depending on your diet and level of physical activity. As long as you don’t sit down all day, drink enough water and eat enough dietary fiber, they should produce little to no symptoms.
      The problem for most people with hemorrhoids is they struggle to maintain a balanced diet and so their hemorrhoids upset them from time to time. If you improve your diet and drink enough water, you should have minimal to no symptoms.

      What I do with my hemorrhoids is try to eat 70% plant foods (vegetables, fruits, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains) and about 30% animal foods (meat, fish, eggs, milk, dairy). This helps me get all the fiber I need and eat balanced, which is great for my hemorrhoids. You can try a similar ratio and eat more plant foods and less animal foods until you reach a balance that works for you.
      What helps me is to fill more than 1/2 of my plate with salad or cooked vegetables and only 1/4 with animal foods (meat, fish or cheese). This way I don’t eat too little plants foods or too much animal foods. Remember that hemorrhoids don’t go away except with surgery, but eating right usually makes them produce no symptoms. And a hemorrhoids diet is not a restrictive diet: you can eat whatever you like, just make sure you eat more plant foods than animal foods. What do you think of this strategy, Chandana? Do you think it could help you? Hope to hear back with good news and if you have more questions, I will be happy to answer them. Wishing you and your family lots of health!

  3. Hi. I am 24 years old and got hemorrhoids. I took medicines for 5 days and got relief, but not at BM time. I went for doctor again and now got new medicine. I have 2nd degree hemorrhoids. Is this possible to get rid of these without surgery? Please guide me in this regard. Thanks.

    • Hi, Faiza. Hemorrhoids are just swollen blood vessels. They don’t disappear by themselves and you need surgery to remove them completely. But medication and a good diet can help shrink them and have them not bother you anymore. If you eat right, drink enough water and stay active, then they can become asymptomatic and you’ll fell like you don’t have them anymore.
      The issues you’re experiencing during bowel movements are a result of a poor diet. It’s possible stools are not the right consistency and this is bothering the hemorrhoids. You have to change your diet and eat more fiber for softer bowel movements that are easy to pass. Slowly, your hemorrhoids should stop bothering you. Read the article and the comments to learn more about what foods are good to eat for hemorrhoids and what foods are best avoided. Wishing you lots of health.

    • I am so scared, I am a male of 24 years old and I have a painful hemorrhoid. I am trying my best to sustain it. I stay in Nigeria and I need help. My email is (…). Thank you.

    • Hello, Augustine. If the hemorrhoid hurts so much, please see a doctor. The doctor will tell you if you need minor surgery (if the hemorrhoid is 4th degree, you may need minor surgery; if it’s not, medication and a good diet can provide some relief).
      Please tell me, Augustine, have you seen a doctor? If you have, what did the doctor tell you? What kind of hemorrhoids do you have, internal or external? And what degree are they?

      I understand how painful hemorrhoids can be. But please understand they can be treated. In addition to seeing a doctor, you need to work on your diet. It is recommended to eat more vegetables rich in dietary fiber and drink more water so you can have soft stools every day. Overall, the best treatment for hemorrhoids is eating more vegetables (fruits, nuts, seeds) than meat, dairy and eggs to make sure you get all the fiber you need, drinking more water and following your doctor’s advice.
      I’ve been in your shoes and believe me, it will get better and you will forget the pain and the discomfort. Hope this helps and wishing you lots of health!

    • Hello, Emy. What do you mean more exactly? Do you mean can hemorrhoids grow in size during or after a period? If so, then yes. On the one hand, inflammatory compounds are released during that time to promote contractions. But this also results in contractions of the intestinal muscles and a faster transit causing loose stools or watery diarrhea. You may easily have 4-5 bowel movements in the day your pain is the worst. Bowel movements that are so frequent and especially diarrhea irritate and can cause hemorrhoids to become swollen. The second explanation would be that there is also a tendency for constipation during this time. Hard, dry stools rub the hemorrhoids on their way out and may cause them to swell or bleed. You can counteract the constipation by including more vegetables in your diet around this time to get more fiber and drinking more water.
      If this wasn’t what your question was about, I’d love it if you could explain to me what was it your meant more exactly. Wishing you lots of health, Emy.

  4. Hi. I’m angel. 23 years old.
    I got internal and external hemorrhoids.
    I took suppositories about 2 months but there was no change. What is best treatment for hemorrhoids in order for me to heal?

    • Hi, Angel. There are two aspects to consider if you want to get rid of hemorrhoids:
      1) Surgery to remove the hemorrhoids. There are a few options available and it’s best to talk to your doctor about what the best treatment option is for you, what complications may arise, what the recurrence rate is etc. There is the classical surgery which simply removes the hemorrhoids. There is also a procedure called a stapled hemorrhoidectomy which essentially staples the hemorrhoids. There is laser treatment to remove the hemorrhoids. There is also a procedure called hemorrhoids ligation which essentially ties them and cuts off the blood supply so they dry and fall off.

      2) Diet management. Whether you’ve had hemorrhoids surgery or not, diet is still vital for preventing their recurrence or managing them. Eating more fiber and drinking more water are essential. What eating more fiber means is including more vegetables into your diet as well as moderate amounts of fruits, whole grain cereals, nuts, seeds. More plants than meat and dairy should help relieve and prevent constipation which is good for hemorrhoids. For me personally, eating at home all the time and cooking my food myself has helped me a lot. Read the article for detailed information on what to eat for hemorrhoids and what to avoid.

      So, Angel, these are the two main options for dealing with hemorrhoids. Whether you have surgery or not, you still have to change the way you eat. You need to learn how to have soft stools that are easy to pass almost every day so hemorrhoids don’t bother you anymore. Hope this helps and wishing you lots of health!

  5. Hello, I’m Harish. I had surgery for piles before 6 months. But doctor left 1 of the hemorrhoids as it was a bit deep and told me to apply ointment. But now, if I have a hard stool, it causes pain and blood passes. How do I remove it permanently?

    • The same way you had the other hemorrhoids removed, Harish: through surgery. That is the only way really to get rid of hemorrhoids.
      But you still need to work on your diet. The fact that you experience hard stools is what causes the pain and bleeding. You need to learn how to eat so that you have soft stools that are easy to pass. This way, they won’t upset the hemorrhoid left. Diet is important even after a hemorrhoids surgery so the hemorrhoids don’t reappear. You can talk to your doctor more about your options for the remaining hemorrhoid. As for the diet, it is recommended to eat more fiber (so more plant foods) and drink enough water, eat food cooked at home and avoid processed foods as well as keep moderately active. Hope this helps and wishing you lots of health, Harish!

    • I’m happy you found the information on hemorrhoids useful. Wishing you lots of health, Rohit!

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