A high-fiber diet is one of the best ways to avoid hemorrhoids and prevent them from recurring after they've been treated, says MayoClinic.com. A diet lacking in fiber may cause constipation, which does indeed contribute to hemorrhoids. However, many factors associated with this painful and often itchy condition affect the lower rectum.
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Data supplied by the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, or NDDIC, indicates that around 75 percent of people get hemorrhoids at some point in life. This condition is more common to people in the 45 to 65 age group. Hemorrhoids, or "piles," are swollen, inflamed veins around the anus, the point where stool leaves your body, or inside the lower rectum. If you strain during bowel movements, as people may do when they're constipated, this can contribute to hemorrhoids. However, other types of pressure on the veins in this very delicate area can cause hemorrhoids as well.
Other Contributing Factors
Weight gain and obesity can put added stress on the veins in the anus and lower rectum. For example, many pregnant women experience hemorrhoids that resolve after childbirth. Other contributing factors to hemorrhoids include diarrhea, sitting on the toilet for long periods of time, anal intercourse and cirrhosis of the liver. MayoClinic.com indicates that some people may simply be genetically predisposed to get hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are likely to occur as you get older because the tissues in the rectum and anus are weaker and stretch more easily.
Fiber in Diet
Preventing constipation by increasing the fiber in your diet is one home treatment for hemorrhoids, according to the Cleveland Clinic. If you consider your diet high in fiber, review what you're eating to see if you're getting between five and 10 servings of fiber foods a day. Fiber-rich foods include fruits, vegetables and foods made with whole grains. Beans and peas like navy beans, split peas, lentils and kidney beans are particularly high in fiber, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Adult women and men age 19 to 50 should try to get at least 25 and 38 g dietary fiber daily, respectively.
You can treat hemorrhoids at home with topical, non-prescription hemorrhoid creams and suppositories and by soaking in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes two or three times a day. MayoClinic.com suggests using damp toilet paper or moistened towelettes rather than tough, dry toilet paper. Get regular exercise to decrease constipation; exercise can also help you lose extra weight that might be a contributing factor. Most hemorrhoids resolve with home treatments; however, in some cases, they must be surgically removed. If you've tried a high-fiber diet and other home treatments and hemorrhoids persist, please see your doctor.