Eat more fruits, vegetables and grains. Doing so softens the stool and increases its bulk, which will help lessen the straining that can cause hemorrhoids. Strive to get between 20-30 grams of fiber a day.
How much water and other fluids should you drink daily? The National Research Council (NRC) uses a sliding scale of 1 milliliter (mL) of water for every calorie burned. This scale is not for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, infants, children and older adults who are unhealthy. The NRC says the average man — who burns about 2,900 calories daily — needs 2,900 mL, or about 12 cups, of water each day. The average woman — who burns 2,200 calories daily — needs about 2,200 mL, or about 9 cups, of water each day. For your own calculations: One measuring cup (8 fluid ounces) of water equals 236 mL. But these cups don’t have to be filled with water. Solid food contains water. In an average diet, food provides about 3 to 4 cups of water each day. Men, because they generally are bigger and have more lean muscle tissue, they usually need more water each day than women do. Total intake should be about 64 ounces a day (8 cups) of total fluid from all sources.
Over-the-counter products such as Benefiber™ can help keep stools soft and regular. Check with your doctor about using stool softeners. If you use fiber supplements, be sure to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water or other fluids every day. Otherwise, fiber supplements can cause constipation or make constipation worse. Add fiber to your diet slowly to avoid problems with gas or bloating.
Stay active to reduce pressure on the rectal veins. Increased pressure can occur with long periods of standing or sitting. Exercise can also help you lose excess weight and help prevent constipation. Be sure to breathe properly and avoid heavy straining during exercise.
Do not sit longer than 5 minutes on the toilet. Prolonged time on the toilet with straining can worsen hemorrhoid problems. If you are not finished in this time frame, try again later.
Straining and holding your breath at any time creates greater pressure in the lower rectal veins.
If you wait to pass a bowel movement and the urge goes away, your stool could become dry and be harder to pass. Also, don’t try to force a bowel movement if you don’t feel the urge.