Let’s face it, the aging process is not always fun and can get a little complicated, even painful. The prevalence of hemorrhoids is widespread with an estimated 36 million adults or 20% of the U.S. population diagnosed with hemorrhoids each year, and over 50% of the population will be affected from hemorrhoids by age 50. Inevitable to some degree and part of the natural aging process, hemorrhoids can be painful, cause swelling, inflammation and irritation. In some cases, it may even require surgical intervention. Food and diet plays a huge factor into preventing and maintaining hemorrhoids. We're going to talk about what foods you need to eat and what foods to avoid when you have hemorrhoids.
What Are Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are a pillow-like cluster of veins that reside just beneath the mucous membranes lining the rectum and the anus. What most of us more commonly know as, ‘Hemorrhoids’ is when those veins become swollen and enlarged, much like varicose veins that can occur in the legs. An estimated 75% of all people will experience some form of enlarged hemorrhoids at some point in their life.
Hemorrhoids come in two different forms, internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids sit in the lining of the rectum and gradually will get larger and distended. They are usually painless and become noticeable when bleeding occurs during a bowel movement. Sometimes internal hemorrhoids can prolapse, which means they protrude outside of the anus, and can become very uncomfortable and irritating.
External hemorrhoids are usually more severe and uncomfortable than internal hemorrhoids. Blood clots can occur inside external hemorrhoids and form what’s called thrombosis. Thrombosis of external hemorrhoid can be very painful, and form lumps or bulges around the anus which often requires medical attention.
Foods To Avoid For Hemorrhoids
There are certain foods you want to stay away from when you have hemorrhoids, especially those that are inflammatory or that can cause constipation.
These foods include but are not limited to
- White Bread
- White pasta
- Processed foods
- Foods high in refined carbohydrates or sugar
- Fast food
Foods To Eat For Hemorrhoids
Eating foods that are high in fiber will help pass bowel movements easier and help treat and prevent hemorrhoids. The more fiber rich foods you include in your diet such as grains, bran cereals, oatmeal, fruit, vegetables, and beans will help reduce symptoms of hemorrhoids and ease the pain.
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First, let’s discuss what kinds of fiber you want in your diet to help reduce symptoms of hemorrhoids.
Fiber comes in two forms, soluble and insoluble. Your body does not absorb fiber, it passes directly through your gastrointestinal tract (GI). That means that fiber is not metabolized like other types of carbohydrates such as simple carbohydrates or refined sugars which raise your blood glucose and insulin levels.
Insoluble fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases bowel movement. Essentially, it’s like a broom that sweeps your gastrointestinal system, so you can easily pass bowel movements on a consistent basis. If you don’t get enough insoluble fiber in your diet, you can have symptoms such as irregular bowel movement and constipation. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes, are all great food sources packed with insoluble fiber [R].
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Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, and the fleshy part of fruits and veggies such as apples, carrots, and citrus fruits. Soluble fiber partially ferments in your gut and forms a gel-like material that passes through the GI tract slowing digestion and allowing better nutrient absorption. One of the benefits of soluble fiber is that it lowers cholesterol and maintains stable glucose levels.
Studies show that dietary fiber also helps maintain bowel health, reducing chances for hemorrhoids and colon cancer. Including more dietary fiber in your diet can help with normalizing bowel movements and decreasing the chances for constipation.
Foods To Avoid And Foods To Eat For Hemorrhoids: Takeaway
Well, there you have it. If you have hemorrhoids, or experience mild to moderate constipation, add more fiber rich foods into your diet. Water is also helpful to aid the digestion process, and together, you'll be able to maintain and possibly prevent hemorrhoids from ever occurring. When you have hemorrhoids stay away from refined sugars, simple carbohydrates, and minimize processed foods, to help ease the pain and live in a little more comfort.
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