Coffee drinking is a daily ritual for 64% of your fellow Americans. A “cup of joe” is warm and comforting on a cold day (or an icy cold refreshment when it’s hot).
Those with a coffee habit may wonder if frequent consumption is contributing to health problems. Some make a permanent switch to decaffeinated beverages to manage issues like blood pressure, insomnia, anxiety, etc.
What about the bathroom issues? Does coffee cause hemorrhoids? Is coffee bad for hemorrhoids? Today, we’ll look into the effects of caffeine on hemorrhoids, and if you should change your coffee drinking habits.
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are a normal part of your anatomy. Hemorrhoid symptoms occur when the veins leading to the anus or rectum become swollen or inflamed. Signs of hemorrhoids include discomfort in the anal area or a small amount of blood on the toilet tissue.
Internal hemorrhoids don’t usually hurt, so seeing blood on the tissue can indicate that you have this type of hemorrhoid. External hemorrhoid symptoms occur if force pushes the affected tissue outward.
When hemorrhoids are external, symptoms may include itching, burning, irritation, throbbing, or general soreness. External hemorrhoids can worsen when they become thrombosed (blood clotting) and when anal fissures (tears) form.
What causes hemorrhoids in the first place? Any circumstance that would put pressure on the veins around the anus or inside the rectum is what creates hemorrhoids.
- Obesity and pregnancy: Extra weight puts additional pressure on the backside. This also occurs when a woman bears down to deliver a baby.
- Heavy lifting: You may have been told to lift with your legs and not your back. Contracting the muscles of the lower half of the body puts pressure on the anorectal blood vessels (hemorrhoids).
- Straining: Sitting on the toilet for too long, or forcing a bowel movement causes straining that puts significant pressure on the anal area. Any bowel habit irregularities such as constipation and diarrhea contribute to this problem.
Minor cases of hemorrhoids should clear up in about a week. Taking proactive measures to heal hemorrhoids such as lifestyle changes and topical treatments (like Doctor Butler’s Ointment, which contains prescription-strength lidocaine) to improve your chances of a quick recovery. If symptoms do not improve or persist for several weeks, contact your doctor.
Is Coffee Bad for Hemorrhoids?
Is coffee bad for hemorrhoids? Has your favorite beverage betrayed you? Neither coffee nor caffeinated beverages will cause hemorrhoids, but for those who already have piles, the effects of coffee could make matters worse.
Dehydration is known to lead to constipation. It was long believed that caffeine causes dehydration for its diuretic effect, but recent studies cast a shadow of a doubt on this. However, if drinking several cups of coffee means you forget to drink water, this surely contributes to dehydration.
Aside from dehydration, what other connections can be made between coffee and hemorrhoids? Does coffee irritate hemorrhoids? For some, the stimulant effects of caffeine activate the digestive system meaning an increase in trips to the bathroom. When bouts of diarrhea happen, this irritates hemorrhoids.
Also, sleep is conducive to healing the body. If caffeine is interrupting restorative sleep, this also works against you.
To recap, the caffeine in coffee doesn’t cause hemorrhoids, but it may contribute to symptoms or prolong the healing process, especially when it means more time in the bathroom. Constipation, diarrhea (abnormal bowel habits) may prolong or undo hemorrhoid healing.
We associate caffeine with beverages (especially coffee). What else might you be ingesting that has caffeine content? Below are products that contain caffeine:
- Chocolate or coffee-flavored products (cookies, candy, ice cream, pudding, cereals, etc.).
- Energy drinks
- Hot cocoa
- Decaffeinated coffee (While most of the caffeine content is removed, there is still a trace amount left. Drinking many cups of “decaf” coffee can amount to the caffeine content in one cup of regular.)
- Pain relievers such as migraine or PMS medication (caffeine is used to boost the effectiveness of the pain reliever).
Caffeine affects people in different ways. If you notice that your intake of coffee is usually followed by the urge to have a bowel movement, gives you some diarrhea, or causes constipation, then it’s likely that caffeine is the culprit.
Should I Stop Drinking Coffee Immediately?
If caffeine causes you to spend more time in the bathroom, should you stop drinking it until your hemorrhoid symptoms have lessened?
If you are caffeine dependent, abruptly ceasing your consumption of it may cause withdrawal effects such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and brain fog.
To gauge this, try to go a day without caffeine and see how it goes. If completely cutting out caffeine leads to symptoms that make you feel miserable, we suggest you cut back instead of eliminating it.
To cut back gradually, you’d reduce your consumption in increments of 10% or more. Below are some ideas on how to cut back on your coffee consumption.
- Switch to half-caffeinated coffee.
- Count the number of cups of coffee you usually consume and swap one or more with a cup of decaf coffee or other beverage such as hot tea (green tea has less caffeine than coffee).
- Drink just enough coffee to feel the desired effect, and abstain for the rest of the day.
People cut back on caffeine for many reasons. As you cut back on caffeine to help the healing process with hemorrhoids, you may notice other unexpected benefits.
Making Healthier Choices For Hemorrhoids
Coffee is in high demand for a reason. It’s comforting, delicious, and gives you that boost to take on the day. So if you feel torn with the idea of parting with it, you aren’t alone.
Developing hemorrhoids from bathroom issues or digestive problems is a sign that it’s time to rethink your consumption habits. However, making lifestyle changes could mean that you find something else to enjoy as much as you enjoy coffee.
For warmth: Try caffeine-free herbal tea or a tea that has less caffeine than coffee. There are even teas that mock coffee flavor. Blends with anti-inflammatory ingredients could serve as therapeutic tea for hemorrhoids.
For flavor: Try decaffeinated coffee or half-caff coffee (in moderation). As mentioned above, there are caffeine-free teas that taste like coffee. Chicory has a rich and nutty roasted flavor very similar to coffee, but without the caffeine.
For energy and alertness: Products with B-vitamins or ginseng are energizing. Also waking the senses are beverages with peppermint or citrus. You could switch to beverages with reduced caffeine like green tea.
But what hasn’t been mentioned yet is the best way to stay healthy and avoid constipation – drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated prevents constipation and diarrhea that can cause hemorrhoids or make them worse.
Americans love a sweetened or flavored drink, and this can distract us from getting the water we need. There are tools you can use to keep track of your water intake such as health apps, water bottles with progress markers printed on the outside, or setting timers.
If your hemorrhoids turn out to be a one-time issue, cutting back on caffeinated coffee might only be a short-lived adjustment. If hemorrhoids become chronic, you should consider making long-term changes to your diet, including reduced consumption of caffeine.
How to Treat Painful Hemorrhoids
Asking “Is coffee bad for hemorrhoids” is really asking “is caffeine bad for hemorrhoids”. While the caffeine content in coffee doesn’t directly cause hemorrhoids, it can make it worse if drinking it makes you susceptible to constipation or frequent bowel movements, (diarrhea).
When we created Doctor Butler’s potent hemorrhoid cream, soothing wipes, and Hemorrhoid Sprays, the goal was to formulate topical solutions which speed up the healing process so you quickly can resume your normal lifestyle – like enjoying a hot cuppa joe!
With a powerful combination of the best ingredients available, our products are safe and effective for treating and speeding up the healing of hemorrhoids. “Leave the pain behind” and get back to your lifestyle. Order a tube of Doctor Butler’s Hemorrhoid & Fissure Ointment today!