It’s possible to reduce the risk of haemorrhoids (also spelt hemorrhoids), or 'piles', developing by preventing constipation.
Constipation is a condition where bowel movements (stools) are hard and difficult to pass, causing you to strain when you go to the toilet. It’s also a major risk factor for haemorrhoids. Anyone can develop constipation, but it is particularly common in women during pregnancy.
To help prevent constipation:
- eat plenty of high-fibre foods
- drink plenty of water every day
- exercise regularly
- empty your bowels when you need to – try not to ‘hang on’ to a bowel movement for too long
- avoid any medicines that can cause constipation (for example, painkillers containing codeine)
- avoid sitting on the toilet for long periods of time. (It’s also best to avoid doing activities such as puzzles, reading or playing electronic games as this tends to increase the amount of time you spend on the toilet and places unnecessary pressure on the blood vessels of the anus.)
For more information about constipation and how to avoid it visit the Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA) website.
Maintaining a healthy weight
Being overweight is another factor that may contribute to the development of haemorrhoids.
Exercising regularly, eating a low-fat diet and moderating your alcohol intake can all help to reduce weight.
To check whether you are at a healthy weight for your height, visit the BMI calculator at the Heart Foundation website.
Last reviewed: September 2017