How to Prevent Hemorrhoids and Colon Cancer
You can take some of the same steps to prevent hemorrhoids and colon cancer. Maintaining healthy digestion will help keep your colon functioning efficiently and may help prevent digestive disease. Preventing constipation will provide protection against hemorrhoids. Try following some of these guidelines:
- Eat foods that are high in fiber—Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds are great sources of fiber. Fiber creates bulk in the intestines and helps you pass stools easily. Eat at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day and remember that peels and skins of fruits and vegetables are full of insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is the kind of fiber that actually cleans your colon because the fiber does not dissolve in water and remains relatively intact throughout digestion. Other good sources of insoluble fiber are whole wheat, broccoli, cabbage, brown rice, couscous, carrots, dark leafy vegetables, seeds, corn bran, barley, zucchini, and grapes.
- Drink plenty of water—As you add fiber to your diet, you will need water to help dissolve soluble fiber, the kind of fiber that dissolves in water. Some sources of soluble fiber are oatmeal, cereals, berries, pears, oranges, peas, nuts, lentils and oat bran. Water helps break down the soluble fiber into a gel-like substance and slows down digestion. You should drink at least 64 ounces of water per day, but use your thirst and the color of your urine as a guide for whether you are drinking enough water. Your urine should be light yellow in color.
- Exercise regularly—Make it your goal to exercise 30 to 60 minutes per day at a moderate or intense level. Exercise stimulates the digestive tract and can help prevent constipation. There are also studies that show that exercise lowers your risk of colon cancer.
- Consider probiotics—Probiotics are live colonies of beneficial bacteria that assist in digestion and eliminate harmful bacteria and toxins from your digestive tract. Talk to your doctor about adding probiotic supplements like kefir, kombucha and kimchi to your diet. Pickles, sauerkraut and certain yogurts are also good sources of probiotics.
- Don’t delay—Use the restroom whenever you have the urge. Delaying can make constipation worse.
- Avoid straining—excessive pressure can make hemorrhoids worse. Using a small footstool to elevate the feet can relieve pressure and actually make elimination easier.
- Add vitamin D to your diet—Optimizing vitamin D levels can reduce your risk for colon cancer by as much as 33 percent. You can increase your intake of vitamin D by consuming more foods that are vitamin D fortified, such as vitamin D milk. Your body can also convert sunlight to vitamin D in as little as 10 minutes of unprotected exposure to the sun.