Foods that Irritate Hemorrhoids

A glass of whiskey on a bar top.

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins along the lining of your anus and rectum. They may be caused by straining during bowel movements. Symptoms include bleeding during bowel movements, itching or irritation in your anus, swelling around your anus, stool leakage and pain or discomfort. Certain foods may irritate hemorrhoids and should be avoided in order to reduce or control symptoms.

Alcohol

Alcohol may aggravate your hemorrhoid symptoms, so you may need to avoid alcoholic beverages. You should drink 6 to 8 glasses of water and other fluids per day and not consume alcohol. Alcohol can dehydrate you, and dehydration can contribute to straining during bowel movements. Clear liquids can help keep your stools soft and prevent straining that can worsen hemorrhoids and their symptoms.

Low-Fiber Foods

Fiber is important to add bulk and softness to your stools. This can prevent straining during bowel movements that leads to or irritates your hemorrhoids. Foods that are low in fiber may contribute to problems. Low-fiber foods such as white rice, white bread, white crackers and commercially prepared goods such as cookies, cakes, and pies have been stripped of their bran component. Choose high-fiber foods instead. Good choices include oatmeal, brown rice, barley, fruits and vegetables.

Food Irritants

Many chemicals in foods may lead to or worsen symptoms of anal itching that is common to hemorrhoids sufferers. These foods may directly irritate your colon and anus and can include chocolate, tomatoes and citrus fruits. Caffeinated beverages and milk may also irritate hemorrhoid symptoms, so you may need to reduce or avoid consuming them.