5 Foods To Avoid With Hemorrhoids & What To Eat To Help Piles

Hemorrhoids, or piles, occur when there are swollen veins in the anus or lower rectum. 

They can develop both inside (internal hemorrhoids) or outside (external hemorrhoids) of the anus. 

1 in 20 Americans suffer from hemorrhoids, and most of them are over the age of 50. 

Both medication and lifestyle changes can help treat piles. 

Hemorrhoids can be an uncomfortable condition that some people may find challenging to discuss openly.

Understanding the condition and its management can contribute to a more comfortable and regular lifestyle.

Here, we’ll review 5 foods to avoid if you have hemorrhoids and the best foods to eat to treat piles. 

If you are still struggling with the condition, speak to your healthcare provider to determine the best treatment. 

Foods To Avoid That Make Hemorrhoids Worse

To help you manage your condition, it’s important to know which foods can increase the pain (triggering a flare) or can make your bowel movements worse. 

Below, we list 5 foods that are advisable to avoid when dealing with hemorrhoids:

1) Processed Flour

Highly processed foods that contain white flour are low in fiber, which may increase the risk of constipation. 

They also contain gluten, which, for some people, may cause more inflammation in the intestines. 

So, you may want to avoid foods such as: 

  • Donuts
  • White bread
  • White pasta
  • Bagels
  • Pizza
  • Crackers
  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Pastries

2) Dairy Products

Some people get constipated when they eat dairy products due to their high fat and sugar content. 

In some cases, since dairy products are high in lactose, it can irritate the intestinal walls and may increase the risk of diarrhea

So, if you are diagnosed with lactose intolerance, it’s best to avoid foods such as: 

  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Milk

3) Spicy Foods

Spicy foods can irritate the skin around your anus, making your hemorrhoids hurt. It may also make stomach or intestinal ulcers hurt. 

Also, spicy foods may affect those who have hemorrhoid-related constipation since they can cause muscle contractions in the intestines, causing irregular bowel movements

So, avoid the following spicy foods if you have piles:

  • Chili peppers
  • Hot sauce
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Other spicy foods

4) Processed Meats

High-sodium foods, such as processed meats, can aggravate your hemorrhoids. 

They may increase blood pressure, causing more pressure on the circulatory system. 

In addition, processed meats are high in fats and additives, which can increase the risk of symptoms. 

Also, red meats can increase the risk of constipation in some people. 

Avoid foods like: 

  • Hot dogs
  • Salami
  • Sausages
  • Ham
  • Bacon
  • Other deli meat

5) Alcohol and Caffeine

There are several ways in which alcohol and caffeine can affect your hemorrhoids. First, these tend to cause more dehydration and increase the risk of irregular bowel movements. 

In addition, they can also cause more irritation in the digestive system, and they increase the pressure in the hemorrhoidal veins. 

So, keep the alcohol intake and caffeine to a minimum. 

Now, remember that this is a general list. When it comes to digestive issues or anything food-related, everyone is different. 

What may cause symptoms in some people, others may not get them. In the end, it’s trial and error. 

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Foods To Eat If You Have Piles

Since hemorrhoids have to do with bowel movements, one of the key nutrients to help manage the condition is fiber. 

The most important thing when it comes to hemorrhoids is to make sure you reach the recommended intake of fiber, which is set at 25 to 30 grams. 

However, if you are not used to a high-fiber diet, start slowly. Otherwise, it can increase digestive issues such as gas, bloating, and stomach cramps. 

Here is a list of high-fiber foods you may want to include to help manage your hemorrhoids. 

1) Vegetables

  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Swiss chard
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Asparagus
  • Turnips
  • Pumpkin
  • Broccoli
  • Artichokes
  • Squash
  • Green beans
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Collard greens

2) Fruits

  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Tangerines
  • Prunes
  • Berries
  • Figs
  • Avocados
  • Kiwis

3) Grains

  • Oatmeal
  • Whole grains
  • Quinoa
  • Popcorn
  • Whole grain bread
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Bran muffins

4) Legumes

  • Lentils
  • Black beans
  • Split beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Lima beans
  • Navy beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Chickpeas

5) Nuts and seeds

  • Pistachios
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Walnuts

When having fruits and vegetables, leave the skin on since it’s where most of the fiber is located. 

Foods to eatFoods to avoid
VeggiesProcessed flour
GrainsSpicy foods
LegumesProcessed meat
Nuts and seedsAlcohol and caffeine

Tips To Reduce Hemorrhoid Flare-Ups

Besides nutrition, there are other lifestyle changes you may want to make to help you manage your condition. 

Here is a list of those things that can help improve bowel movements and decrease the risk of hemorrhoid flares: 

  1. Avoid staying seated for a long time. Set alarms to remember to move every 30 or 60 minutes. 
  2. Take regular walks to increase digestion and improve bowel movements. 
  3. Stay hydrated. Drinking water can help reduce the risk of constipation and improve bowel movements. 
  4. Apply cold packs for 15 minutes to the area two to three times a day if you are having flare-ups. 
  5. Avoid straining during bowel movements. Putting too much pressure while going to the bathroom can increase the risk of hemorrhoids and flares. 

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What Triggers Hemorrhoids?

There are different causes for hemorrhoids to happen. But the most common reasons are the following. 

  • Trouble during bowel movements
  • Having chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • Sitting for long periods
  • Being overweight
  • Anal intercourse 
  • Eating a low-fiber diet 
  • Lifting regularly heavy items 


Hemorrhoids are a very uncomfortable condition. The problem is that most people don’t like to talk about it, meaning they suffer in silence or don’t know what to do to make things better. 

While the symptoms may vary depending on which type of hemorrhoids you have, here are some of the most common signs of piles:

  • Itching or irritation in the anal region
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Swelling around the anus
  • Bleeding 

A high-fiber diet can help improve symptoms and prevent you from having flares. 

If you are still making all the right choices and continue to have symptoms, make sure you talk to a doctor to determine what the best course of action is for you. It may mean taking medication or making other lifestyle changes.

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  1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Definition & Facts of Hemorrhoids.
  2. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020 – 2025. Make Every Bite Count With the Dietary Guidelines.

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