In this article, we will be discussing hemorrhoids the different diet options that will be associated with the healing process, and What to not eat after a Hemorrhoid Surgery.
In recent times, there has been an increase in the number of hemorrhoid-related cases, possibly as a result of the rate of people living sedentary lifestyles, especially in the urban areas, a growing tendency of the masses to fast food that is considered unhealthy, rich in unsaturated fats and oil and practically devoid of any necessary vitamins. Occasionally, these hemorrhoids progress to a stage where surgical excision is a necessary course of action. Follow-up actions following a successful surgery are also important.
Whether you have just had a hemorrhoidectomy, are about to have one, or are just curious about hemorrhoids, then this article is for you.
1. What are Hemorrhoids?
According to an article from the National Library of Medicine, “Hemorrhoids are the pathological term to describe the abnormal downward displacement of the anal cushions, leading to venous dilation.” There are a lot of other medical jargon that is included in the medical article which includes the various theories that support other pathophysiologies of hemorrhoids.
Now, let us try to simplify things. In a normal human being, hemorrhoids can be comparable to varicose veins, (varicose veins are tortuous dilated blood vessels, typically seen in the calf of the legs. Think of hemorrhoids as sacs of tissue whose main job is to improve the muscle tone of the anal canal and tighten them to prevent leakages during bowel movements.
Now, in cases where there is intense pressure on the bowel, probably due to abdominal cramping, constipation, etc., there would be an influx of blood into these sac tissues causing them to be inflamed and displaced from their normal positions. These inflamed and displaced tissues now become what we know as piles/hemorrhoids.
2. Types of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids can be classified based on their location within the wall of the rectum/ anal canal.
2.1 Internal Hemorrhoids/ True Piles
These Hemorrhoids are located inside the rectum. They are formed as a result of the dilation of a network of blood vessels called the internal rectal venous plexus. This is a silent, yet deadly kind of hemorrhoid because they do not cause any pain or discomfort, but they bleed profusely on stooling, allowing passage of bright red blood or relative training of the abdomen.
2.2 External Hemorrhoids
External hemorrhoids usually occur just under the skin around the anus. They cause pain and discomfort, but they do not cause bleeding or straining. They feel like lumps on palpation.
3. Common Causes of Hemorrhoids
Several things can cause hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are caused by factors that increase abdominal pressure
3.1 Common causes of Hemorrhoids include:
- Chronic constipation
Most hemorrhoids are asymptomatic, do not require treatments, and eventually resolve on their own. However, for the more serious cases, treatment and sometimes surgical intervention may be necessary.
4. Surgery for Hemorrhoids
According to statistics, only about ten percent of all hemorrhoid cases require surgical intervention and post-op treatments.
The surgical procedure for the treatment of hemorrhoids is called a HEMORRHOIDECTOMY, and it is indicated in the following scenarios;
- Strangulated Internal Hemorrhoid, in which the blood supply of the protruded internal hemorrhoid is cut off and is at risk of undergoing gangrene
- Thrombosed External Hemorrhoids, whereby a thrombus forms around an external hemorrhoid.
- Hemorrhoids coupled with associated anorectal malformations
- Patients who fail to respond positively to less invasive procedures
A Closed Hemorrhoidectomy is the surgical procedure most commonly used to treat internal hemorrhoids.
It involves the complete excision of the hemorrhoids with the use of a scalpel or laser technique, then complete closure of the wounds.
A closed hemorrhoidectomy isn’t always the safest method. Its possible complications are delayed bleeding, infection, urinary retention, and fecal impaction. However, it has proven to be the most reliable surgery with the best long-term results and low recurrence rates. Other surgical procedures are:
- The open hemorrhoidectomy
- The stapled Hemorrhoidectomy
- The rubber-band Ligation
- The lateral Internal Sphincterotomy
Following a Hemorrhoid surgery, certain post-operative care must be taken to ensure a complete successful procedure.
Such Care includes implementing lifestyle modifications such as changes in dieting, certain physical activities like weight lifting, wardrobe changes, Medication, etc.
5. What to Not Eat after a Hemorrhoid Surgery
Dieting is one of the most important post-operative measures that needs to be adhered to. As annoying and as discomforting as changing diet may seem, it is very important to include it in the treatment plan to discourage the recurrence of hemorrhoids.
Certain meals can increase abdominal pressure, harden feces, and irritate the lining of the stomach
To attain a successful surgery, certain types of meals must be avoided at all costs.
A. Hot Spicy Foods:
Hot spicy meals such as hot pepper, Chili, and spicy mustard can irritate the Gastro-Intestinal tract and accentuate discomfort. These meals have hot properties that can be absorbed into the body and this can lead to an increase in temperature, sweating, and increase in blood pressure. The subsequent increase in internal blood pressure can cause constipation and this can impair healing. They are listed as what to not eat after a hemorrhoid surgery
B. Gas-Producing Foods:
Gas-producing meals such as kidney beans, Lentils, carbonated drinks, and vegetables like uncooked broccoli and cabbages can produce gas and increase abdominal pressure. An increase in abdominal pressure can impair the healing process of the anal tissues. They are listed as what to not eat after a hemorrhoid surgery.
As painful as it sounds, and yes, it is very painful, eating too much meat, especially red meat must be avoided. Meat contains little fiber so there is a risk of indigestion and cramping that can cause an increase in abdominal pressure. A compromise can be made in certain cases though. Eating meat from poultry, fish and lean cuts of beef can be tolerated. Also, combining it with a high-fiber diet should reduce the risk of indigestion. The meat should be well cooked (avoid fried meat) and chewed properly to make it easier for digestion. Excess meat is listed as what to not eat after a hemorrhoid surgery.
D. Meals with Excess Sugar and Starch:
These meals can also increase pressure on the walls of the intestine and aggravate hemorrhoids. They are listed as what to not eat after a hemorrhoid surgery.
E. Oily Food:
Meals containing excess oil should also be avoided. They promote indigestion, and bloating and can increase the risk of constipation. Oily meals are listed as what to not eat after a hemorrhoid surgery.
F. Dairy Products
Most dairy products can cause abdominal cramps that can lead to an increase in abdominal pressure and subsequently cause constipation. This will aggravate hemorrhoids and impair the healing process. Dairy products are listed as what to not eat after a hemorrhoid surgery.
G. Salty Foods:
Salt has a dehydrating effect on the body. extremely salty foods and snacks will dehydrate the body system and this will contribute to constipation. This will worsen the hemorrhoids. Salty food is listed as what to not eat after a hemorrhoid surgery
6. Diet Plans for People who are Recovering from Hemorrhoid Surgery Should Include Meals that have:
- High fiber intake
- Rich in vitamins to promote vessel growth and rapid tissue healing
- High in fluid
- Meals rich in omega-3
- Meals rich in zinc and magnesium
- Other Essential Nutrients
Such meals will prevent increased abdominal pressure, and promote healing and increased fluid intake will help soften stool during the passage of feces, reducing strain and potential damage to the anal canal.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids help discourage inflammation following the surgery. I.e Redness and swelling are reduced.
Whole grains, such as cereals, oats, and brown rice are some of the best foods to eat after hemorrhoid surgery. This is because they have high fiber content that promotes bowel movement.
Fruits, nuts, and vegetables are highly encouraged.
Also, the administration of pharmaceutical supplements like laxatives and stool softeners as directed by a doctor can enhance bowel movements and prevent constipation
7. Measures to Reduce the Risk of Hemorrhoid Surgery
If there was a preventive measure to completely eradicate the risk of getting hemorrhoids, many would take such an approach. Hemorrhoids are painful and discomforting and nobody would want to feel that way.
To reduce the risks of hemorrhoids, one has to make healthy life decisions about diet and physical activities.
- Ensure that your daily meals are balanced. Avoid undercooked meat and meals with excess salt and spices. Include fruits and vegetables in your diet to promote growth and regeneration of worn-out vessels.
- Consume enough dietary fiber. Dietary supplements to take in place of fibers can also be prescribed and used.
- Avoid straining during defecation. Use medications such as stool softeners to facilitate easy defecation.
- Ensure that you take enough fluids after every meal.
- Maintain constant bowel movements to avoid risking gut distension. This will also reduce the risk of diarrhea and constipation.
- Obesity is said to be a risk factor for the development of hemorrhoids. Weight loss programs and exercises will help and produce beneficial results. Engaging in activities like jogging will not only help you lose weight but also promote bowel movement.
In conclusion, post-hemorrhoid surgery plans are also as important as the main surgery itself, and the journey to a full recovery is largely based on making healthy dietary choices.
On average, it could take between one week to six weeks to completely recover from a hemorrhoid surgery. During this time frame, it is very important to adhere strictly to the dietary plans.
Avoid meals that would cause an increase in abdominal pressure, take medication to relieve straining on defecation, and moderate exercise during this period will help speed up recovery, reduce complications, and help prevent a recurrence of the hemorrhoids.
Regardless of how inconvenient it will be to effect these lifestyle modifications, the goal in the end is to attain a successful, complication-free procedure. By adhering to these rules, you can optimize your post-surgery experience and look forward to a healthier hemorrhoid-free future.
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