Foods to Eat and to Avoid for Hemorrhoids

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 things that 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 melissa 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 diet and continue on the same path, your hemorrhoids can get worse up to the point they start bleeding, itching like crazy and 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 grilled pork neck with olive oil or lean chicken meat such as chicken thigh to get your supply of proteins and healthy fats at the same time.

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.

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 prognostis 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 slighest 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.

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.

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

    • Hello. Smoking doesn’t cause constipation, but it can have long term effects on piles. Studies show smoking causes blood vessels to shrink and become less resistant and since piles are nothing more than swollen blood vessels, it can affect them (for example, they can bleed easier). The best way to manage hemorrhoids in my experience is to avoid constipation by eating mostly a vegetarian diet and less meat, less dairy and less white rice and pasta and keep active. If you can make the effort, giving up smoking can help too by improving your health in many ways. Hope this helps.

  1. Thank you for the valuable information and one more thing I used to smoke cigarette and some kind of chewing tobacco leaves for 2 years after getting hemorrhoids. But now I didn’t use these items and constipation is worse. What should I do? I really don’t know what to do, I can’t go for job or outside. I am always lying in bed thinking about it. I am only 23 years old. My friends are either studying or doing some job. I am at home for 2 years. Sometimes I think my future has ended. And one more thing I had constipation since my childhood. So please tell me what to do. Kindly give me an answer.

    • I know from my own experience with hemorrhoids that they can make you feel like everything is over, but there is a lot you can do about it. The most important thing, in my experience, is to manage constipation. Just like you, I have suffered from constipation since I was a child and because I didn’t do anything about it, I eventually got hemorrhoids. So, first of all go to a doctor and ask to know what degree your hemorrhoids are. First and second degree are manageable with diet, third and fourth may require medical treatment. If pain is manageable, then look to relieve constipation. The way I did this was by changing my diet completely.

      For the first few months I ate mostly vegetarian (about 80% vegetables and fruit and 20% other foods). I had vegetables at every meal and ate a lot of spinach, lettuce, peas, beans, chickpeas, lentils, green beans, carrots, potatoes etc. Once or twice a day I ate boiled chicken with my vegetables and once or twice a week boiled fish or brown rice or whole wheat pasta. I had some fresh cow cheese once a week and ate a few slices of whole grain bread every day (not white bread). For more protein, I ate soft boiled eggs. For snacks I ate almonds, walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and all sorts of nuts, seeds and dried fruit. For desert, fruit (bananas, apples, peaches, cherries, plums etc.) or some quality chocolate. No coffee, no alcohol, no white rice, no white bread, no fried foods, no processed foods (everything was cooked at home, boiled or steamed), no fatty foods, no junk food, no cold meats and especially no spicy foods.

      With this diet I started having soft and easy stools and went to the bathroom almost 3 times a day. As I felt better, I started reintroducing other foods in my diet like cheese or meats, but always made sure I had more vegetables on my plate than anything else. I drank enough water or herbal teas to stay hydrated and walked a lot (avoid staying in bed or on a chair too much). You have to make sure you eat so that you have soft and easy stools at least once a day and, in time, you get a better understanding of what foods are good for you hemorrhoids and you should eat more of and what foods you should eat less off. So start with your diet because if you eat right, there will be no more constipation and the hemorrhoids will become easy to live with and they shouldn’t bother you any more. You can read the article again for more examples of what I ate for my hemorrhoids. It will take a few weeks until you learn what foods help you most, but you will succeed if you continue. I speak from my own experience when I say it will get better if you change the way you eat. Wishing you lots of health.

  2. With lot of respect once again thanking you for your great service. It will help a lot of people. May God bless you.

    • Hello, Sheez. You have to eat fiber to prevent constipation. Dietary fiber can be found in generous amounts in foods like beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, green beans, spinach and other green, leafy vegetables, carrots, pumpkin, corn, peppers, almonds, walnuts and other nuts, fruits, especially those with edible skin like apples, peaches, pears, cherries, sour cherries, nectarines and so on. Whole grains like whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, red rice etc. eaten in moderate amounts. Eating too much meat, milk, cheese and other dairy can constipate because they take longer to be digested than vegetables and fruit. So, for relieving constipation you need to eat more vegetables and fruits than meat and dairy. Curd is healthy, but if you eat too much of it, it can delay transit and contribute to constipation. As a general idea, there isn’t one food that can cure constipation. It’s an overall good diet, rich in dietary fiber (low in meat, dairy and refined food products) that can cure constipation. And remember, dietary fiber needs water to perform its benefits, so stay hydrated. Also, it is important to keep active (walk, jog, dance) too. Hope this helps.

  3. Thank you so much for the information. I too am changing my diet. I see some changes and benefits to that. I am hopeful and will continue.

    • I am so happy you are seeing benefits to the diet changes, Romona. It takes time for the changes to become visible, but I can tell you from experience that hemorrhoids can be successfully controlled by eating right. In time you will learn which foods are good for you and which ones you should avoid and it will be a lot easier. Wishing you lots of health.

  4. Hello! Does garlic help with hemorrhoids? I have been suffering a second degree hemorrhoid but I’m better. Now I go to the bathroom mostly once per day, sometimes two or three times. But today I could not. I don’t know why because I’ve been following a really strict diet. Is eating cereals in morning bad for hemorroids? I’m really worried. Thank you in advance.

    • Garlic doesn’t necessarily help with hemorrhoids. Foods rich in dietary fiber do because they prevent constipation and help you have soft stools which is good for hemorrhoids. And it seems you are eating right because you are going to the bathroom daily, even several times a day. Maybe today you didn’t eat just the right foods or didn’t eat enough to go to the bathroom. Eating too little food or having more stools in one day can make you skip a day. In my experience, it is important to keep eating foods with fiber and drinking plenty of liquids and it will be okay. Also, eating cereals in the morning can be really good for hemorrhoids because cereals are often rich in fiber and help with transit. My favorite cereals are oats or whole wheat with fruits or chocolate. They regulate transit and help me have soft stools every day. So keep eating the way you have and see what happens. If you are not satisfied, then think about what you ate the day before and if any of those foods might have slowed transit time. And try not to worry. Eating for hemorrhoids is a challenge and you need to take each day as it comes. Hope this helps.

    • Hi, Hayley. It really depends on how your body responds to dairy. Some people get constipated from dairy really quickly, which is bad for piles, while others tolerate eating it daily and still have good transit. Also, using skimmed milk doesn’t necessarily make it better because it’s still dairy. Actually, some fats could help make transit better (think about almonds, walnuts, chocolate spread, even a bit of whole fat milk, but since you are planning to lose weight, I’m guessing you want to cut down on the calories). If you make sure you get enough dietary fiber in your diet every day and drink sufficient liquids, then it should be okay because fiber and liquids are what you need for piles. So see how your transit changes from eating the skimmed milk and you can tell from there on. Hope this gives you better insight into what you should eat and to avoid for piles.

  5. Does piles ever go away? Is it possible to end it forever if we follow good diet and healthy lifestyle as told in the article?

    • Hello, Mir. No, they don’t. Even after surgery piles may come back. But if they are in the first two stages, then a good diet and a good lifestyle can make them become asymptomatic and never bother you again. And that is something so many of us want. And please don’t be discouraged because this is good news. Piles themselves are harmless. Only if we don’t eat and live right, then they become upsetting. Even after surgery we have to eat certain foods and avoid others so the piles don’t reoccur. So whatever we do, a good diet is still important so keep to it because you will see the benefits over time.

    • Hello, Dora. Yes, you can eat them if you like. But when you have piles you have to eat foods rich in dietary fiber and drink plenty of liquids, especially water. Read the article and the comments below it for more examples of foods to eat and to avoid for piles. Wishing you lots of health.

    • Hi, Xandra. You don’t heal hemorrhoids. You can only make the symptoms go away. And it is possible to use coconut oil topically to reduce itching, irritation and discomfort. I think you can use it just like petroleum jelly: after having a bowel movement, you clean yourself with water gently and apply the oil for soothing purposes. It might be best to get an organic, cold pressed oil. Coconut meat is good for hemorrhoids because it has about 9 g of dietary fiber per 100 g, which is a generous amount and should help improve transit time and make stools softer, easier to pass. This can improve symptoms and offer relief. Hope this helps and wishing you lots of health.

  6. Hello. I had hemorrhoids and it’s been 4 years ago until now. What should I do? I’m scared to consult the doctor. Also, how long hemorrhoids last?

    • Hello, Vergie. If you suspect you have hemorrhoids, then it’s important to go to the doctor. You need confirmation from the doctor it’s hemorrhoids and not something else. There is no need to be afraid. Diagnosing hemorrhoids is easy and it gives you a good idea what stage the hemorrhoids are and what is the best treatment option for you depending on this. I’ve had hemorrhoids for several years now and I have kept them asymptomatic with diet alone. As for how long hemorrhoids last, they generally never disappear. But if you eat right, then they become asymptomatic and don’t bother you at all. It’s mostly constipation that makes them act up. The important thing with hemorrhoids is to learn what foods to eat and what foods to avoid, keep hydrated, avoid sedentarism and lifting heavy weights. So go to the doctor. You will feel relieved you have. Wishing you lots of health.

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