Why do hemorrhoids and heartburn seem to go hand in hand? Does one cause the other? Heartburn and hemorrhoids occur in different parts of the digestive tract, yet they are somewhat connected. Both conditions can stem from inadequate amounts of fiber in the diet, dehydration and eating foods that are poor in nutrition.
Few adults get enough fiber in their diets. Eating too much greasy and spicy food and not eating enough fiber can cause burning and reflux in the esophagus in the form of heartburn. These foods can also irritate the remainder of the digestive tract and cause hemorrhoids. The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults consume 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories. On average, women require 25 grams of fiber and men require 38 grams of fiber. Unfortunately, most adults are only getting 15 grams per day. Adding fiber to your diet just takes a little more planning. Fiber-rich foods such as peas, lima beans, bran, raspberries, blackberries, cornmeal, broccoli, leafy greens, whole wheat pasta, blueberries and apples are just the beginning of a long list of delicious and fiber-rich whole foods (Source: WebMD.com).
Dehydration is another culprit of heartburn and hemorrhoids. Every day, our bodies lose water through our breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. That water must be replenished, but most people are not getting enough water every day. According to the Mayo Clinic, adult men should drink three liters (13 cups) of fluid per day and women should drink 2.2 liters (9 cups) per day. This is more than the eight glasses (8 ounces) of water that we have always heard about. Most adults who complain of heartburn and gastritis are also suffering from dehydration. Constipation also occurs when we do not drink enough water, and the straining from constipation can cause hemorrhoids.
The foods we eat can also trigger heartburn and hemorrhoids. Spicy foods as well as fried foods, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, onions, garlic, tomato and citrus fruits can all cause heartburn. These same foods along with some others such as popcorn, peanuts and beer can also cause hemorrhoids. If you are filling your diet with more filling and satisfying fiber, you will naturally reduce the amount of junk food that you eat.
Although these two unpleasant conditions are not caused by one another, making changes in three areas of the diet can make a dramatic difference. Eat more fiber, drink more water and reduce spicy, oily and acidic foods. Before you pop another Tums or buy another tube of Preparation H, talk to your doctor about methods of treatment.