Things that Aggravate Hemorrhoids and How to Prevent

Hemorrhoids or piles are swollen veins that form along lining of rectum and anus. The cause of hemorrhoids is usually straining while passing stool. The symptoms include irritation or itching in anus, bleeding while passing stool, leakage of stool, swelling around anus and discomfort or pain. Living with hemorrhoids may impact your routine life significantly. Everyday activities such as going to toilet and working in office may seem challenging due to constant discomfort, pain and anal itching. If you are suffering from hemorrhoids, then you should avoid the following to prevent aggravation.

What Aggravates Hemorrhoids?

  1. 1. Being overweight and physically inactive

  2. Being obese or overweight can aggravate your problem. If you have a job where you have to spend the majority of your time sitting, like either in front of the computer or TV, it will result in constipation and increased straining while passing stool. Moreover, sitting at one place also puts more pressure on the blood vessels around the anal area. Hence, do some sort of physical activity for at least 30 minutes every day and try to lose excessive weight.

  3. 2. Lifting heavy objects regularly

  4. Weight lifting at the gym, particularly with heavy weights, can put more pressure on the external hemorrhoids, making it worse. Hence, you should avoid overdoing weight lifting and avoid lifting heavy weights completely. Only do moderate exercise.

  5. 3. Ignoring signs and symptoms of diarrhea or constipation

  6. Constipation can lead to formation of external hemorrhoids. Similarly, diarrhea may also aggravate the symptoms of hemorrhoids. If you are suffering from constipation or loose stools, it is recommended that you keep a food journal. Carefully evaluate your diet to find out the foods that are causing the diarrhea or constipation and try to eliminate them from your diet. If the symptoms of diarrhea or constipation still persist, visit your physician.

  7. 4. Maintaining anal hygiene

  8. What aggravates hemorrhoids? Not taking shower regularly and not keeping anal area dry and clean can make the itching and irritation in the anal area worse. After going to the toilet, wash your anal area with lukewarm water and pat gently to make the area dry with toilet paper. Don’t rub the toilet paper as it will worsen the hemorrhoids. Females should use sanitary napkins that are specifically made to be used for sensitive skin during their menses.

  9. 5. Overuse of laxatives

  10. Your physician may prescribe laxatives and stool softeners to relieve symptoms of constipation. These medicines are given for short term use, usually for a week and you should not overuse them or form a habit of taking them regularly as that will worsen your hemorrhoids.
  11. 6. Having high stress levels

  12. Having high stress levels over a long period of time results in depression and anxiety, which can flare up your hemorrhoids. Take some time out of your stressful routine to de-stress yourself. Do deep breathing, meditation, yoga etc. to relieve stress.
  13. 7. Using wet wipes (scented)

  14. Avoid using wet wipes to clean anal area as most of the wet wipes contain perfumes and irritants such as alcohol, which can result in severe pain in the hemorrhoids. Keep the anal area free of any feces with a sitz bath.
  15. 8. Using a smart phone or reading a newspaper while using the toilet

  16. Make sure to not spend greater than 10-16 minutes on the toilet. What aggravates hemorrhoids? Sitting and straining on the toilet will aggravate the hemorrhoids. While you are focused on other things, you become unaware of the time spent and a lot of pressure is put on the hemorrhoids.
  17. 9. Not going to the bathroom on time

  18. When you don’t go to the toilet whenever there is an urge to defecate, it puts a lot of pressure on your hemorrhoids, aggravating them.
  19. 10. Taking certain medicines

  20. Certain medicines can have constipation as a side effect, which can aggravate your hemorrhoids. Some of these medicines are blood pressure medicines, pain relievers, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, certain OTC antacids containing aluminum, iron supplements, antihistamines, anemia medicines, etc. If you are taking any of such medicines, you should consult with your physician about changing the medicine to a different one which does not have this side effect.

Foods that Aggravates Hemorrhoids

There are certain foods that should be avoided if you have hemorrhoids.

  • Excessive fiber in diet: Though fiber is recommended to decrease constipation, it will not solve the constipation that is associated with hemorrhoids. Fiber leads to formation of bulkier and larger stools, which will worsen the hemorrhoids. Hence, avoid taking fiber supplements, if you have hemorrhoids.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol causes dehydration, resulting in constipation. Drinking excessive alcohol will make elimination of stool painful; thereby, worsening hemorrhoids.
  • Refined grains: Refined grains can result in stomach pain and constipation. They can therefore worsen hemorrhoids, and contribute to swelling and pain at the site of hemorrhoids.
  • Processed foods: What aggravates hemorrhoids? Processed foods such as junk foods, freezer meals or packaged sweets contain lots of unhealthy fats and salt and contribute to constipation and poor digestion. They also contain ingredients that promote inflammation. Hence, they also aggravate hemorrhoids.
  • Coffee: Coffee is dehydrating and can cause constipation. Hence, drinking excessive quantity of coffee can aggravate hemorrhoids.
  • Dairy: Milk and milk products can cause constipation and gas formation. This can lead to worsening of hemorrhoids.
  • Salt: Salt can cause dehydration; thereby, making it harder for you to eliminate stools. Excessive quantities of salt may make the digestive system slow and bowel movements painful. Furthermore, excessive salt in blood may cause bloating, which can worsen hemorrhoids.
  • Fried foods: Fried foods contain unhealthy ingredients such as high content of fat and unhealthy oils. Fried foods are difficult to digest. Therefore, the digestive system becomes slow and it becomes difficult to pass stool. Moreover, the oils used for frying are corn, rapeseed and soy oil, which are extremely inflaming oils and aggravate and inflame the hemorrhoids.
  • Unripe Fruit: While fruits, when they are fully ripe, are healthy and beneficial, unripe fruits can contribute to aggravation of hemorrhoids. Unripe fruits are difficult to digest. Moreover, certain unripe fruits such as bananas contain compounds which cause constipation.