Are potatoes good for hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the rectum and anus that can be itchy, painful, and cause bleeding. Many people look for home remedies to relieve hemorrhoid symptoms, and potatoes are sometimes suggested as a treatment. But are potatoes really an effective hemorrhoid remedy?

Quick Answer

There is no strong scientific evidence that applying potatoes directly to hemorrhoids helps relieve symptoms. Some people claim potato slices or juice provide symptom relief, but studies are lacking. There are no risks to trying potato home remedies, but medical treatments are more consistently effective.

What Are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids, also called piles, are enlarged and swollen blood vessels located in the rectum and anus. There are two types of hemorrhoids:

  • Internal hemorrhoids form inside the rectum and are not visible from outside.
  • External hemorrhoids protrude out from the anus and can be seen or felt as lumps around the anal opening.

Hemorrhoids are very common, affecting nearly 75% of people at some point in their lives. They often develop due to increased pressure in the pelvic and rectal area, such as during pregnancy or straining during bowel movements. As people get older, hemorrhoidal tissue naturally weakens and is more prone to swelling.

Hemorrhoid Symptoms

Symptoms of hemorrhoids include:

  • Itching, burning, or irritation around the anus
  • Pain or discomfort during bowel movements
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Swelling and inflammation around the anus
  • Leakage of feces

Symptom severity depends on the hemorrhoid’s location, size, and whether a clot has formed inside (thrombosed hemorrhoid). Mild symptoms can often be relieved with over-the-counter topical treatments and lifestyle changes. More severe cases may require prescription medications or surgical procedures.

What Causes Hemorrhoids?

Several factors can contribute to the development of hemorrhoids:

  • Straining during bowel movements: Repeated straining causes pressure and swelling in the veins. Constipation and diarrhea can lead to straining.
  • Pregnancy: Hormonal changes and pressure from the uterus on pelvic veins can cause hemorrhoids.
  • Obesity: Excess weight places pressure on the pelvic and rectal area.
  • Aging: Over time, tissues supporting the veins weaken and hemorrhoids are more likely to form.
  • Sitting for long periods: Sedentary jobs or habits cause increased pressure.
  • Heavy lifting: Regularly lifting heavy objects strains the pelvic muscles.

Genetics can also play a role by weakening the supportive tissues or causing veins to enlarge easily. Diseases affecting circulation, such as cirrhosis, can increase hemorrhoid risk.

Treatments for Hemorrhoids

There are many medical and natural treatments for relieving hemorrhoid symptoms, including:

  • Over-the-counter topical treatments: Ointments, creams, medicated wipes, and suppositories containing ingredients like witch hazel or hydrocortisone provide relief from itching and swelling.
  • Sitz baths: Sitting in warm water for 10-15 minutes several times per day can reduce swelling and discomfort.
  • Ice packs: Applying ice packs wrapped in cloth to the area can decrease swelling.
  • Over-the-counter oral medications: Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin help relieve pain and discomfort.
  • Prescription medications: For moderate to severe cases, doctors may prescribe topical nitroglycerin or oral medications to reduce swelling.
  • Procedures: Rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy injections, infrared coagulation, and surgery like hemorrhoidectomy are options for severe internal and external hemorrhoids.

While medical treatments are the most effective options, many people try home remedies and natural treatments to find relief. Potatoes are one food sometimes suggested as a hemorrhoid remedy.

Are Potatoes Good for Hemorrhoids?

Throughout history, potatoes have been used to treat a variety of health conditions. Their starchy, absorbent nature makes them potentially soothing for irritated hemorrhoidal tissue. Some proposed potato hemorrhoid remedies include:

  • Placing thin potato slices directly on hemorrhoids to relieve swelling and pain.
  • Drinking potato juice to reduce inflammation.
  • Sitting in a potato starch bath to alleviate burning and itching.
  • Applying grated raw potato to the area to draw out moisture and calm irritation.

There is little scientific research investigating the efficacy of these potato home remedies for hemorrhoids. Most evidence is anecdotal from people who claim raw potato treatments provide symptom relief:

  • Potato slices can aid swelling through their cool temperature, starchy moisture, and astringent properties.
  • Potatoes contain anti-inflammatory compounds that may reduce irritation when applied topically.
  • The starch in potatoes may coat and soothe irritated rectal tissue.

While topical potato application and sitz baths appear generally safe, ingesting potatoes orally does not have a direct effect on hemorrhoids. There are also some risks and considerations with potato hemorrhoid remedies:

  • Raw potatoes can irritate the skin and delicate rectal tissue, especially if harshly grated.
  • Potatoes may contain pesticide residues if not properly washed and peeled.
  • Topical starch can provide a breeding ground for bacteria on sensitive hemorrhoidal tissue.
  • Oral potato juice has high carbohydrate content and minimal proven health benefits.
  • There are no quality studies proving efficacy of potato treatments for hemorrhoids.

Other Foods for Hemorrhoid Relief

Some other foods suggested to alleviate hemorrhoid symptoms include:

  • Aloe Vera: The anti-inflammatory gel from aloe plants can be applied topically.
  • Cold Milk Compresses: Milk contains soothing vitamins and minerals that may calm irritation when applied via cloth.
  • Witch Hazel: Astringent witch hazel extract can reduce swelling and discomfort.
  • High Fiber Foods: Fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains can reduce straining during bowel movements.
  • Probiotics: Foods like yogurt contain beneficial gut bacteria that improve digestion and decrease straining.

While these remedies may potentially provide short-term relief for some people, there is no definitive scientific proof they effectively treat hemorrhoids.

Are Potatoes Recommended for Hemorrhoids?

Most doctors advise relying on proven medical treatments over home remedies like raw potatoes. However, trying natural treatments can be reasonable in mild cases or in addition to medical care. Key considerations when using potatoes for hemorrhoid relief:

  • Potatoes have not been medically proven as an effective hemorrhoid treatment.
  • They may provide temporary relief of mild swelling, burning, and irritation when applied topically.
  • Potato treatments are unlikely to reduce existing hemorrhoids or prevent new ones.
  • Seek medical advice if symptoms persist more than 1-2 weeks or worsen despite home remedies.
  • Always keep the anal area clean to avoid infection.
  • Stop using any treatment that increases pain, swelling, or irritation.

Medical Treatments for Hemorrhoids

For more reliable relief from hemorrhoid symptoms, medical treatment options include:


  • Over-the-counter topical ointments: Ointments containing ingredients like hydrocortisone and witch hazel can relieve itching, swelling, and pain.
  • Oral pain relievers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen temporarily reduce discomfort.
  • Prescription medications: Doctors may prescribe topical nitroglycerin or oral steroids for severe inflammation.


  • Rubber band ligation: Rubber bands placed around the base of internal hemorrhoids cut off their blood supply, causing them to shrivel.
  • Sclerotherapy: Injecting chemicals into hemorrhoids produces scar tissue that shrinks them.
  • Infrared coagulation: A device applies infrared light to internal hemorrhoids to clot their blood and eliminate them.
  • Hemorrhoidectomy: Surgery removes large external or internal hemorrhoids.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Eat high fiber foods to make stools softer and reduce straining during bowel movements.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.
  • Try not to sit or stand for long periods without breaks.
  • Exercise regularly to stimulate bowel motility and decrease pressure on hemorrhoid veins.
  • Avoid activities that involve heavy lifting or prolonged straining.
  • Keep the anal area clean by washing gently and avoiding harsh soaps or scrubbing.

Making these lifestyle changes can decrease the likelihood of hemorrhoid flare-ups. If symptoms persist longer than 1-2 weeks or frequently recur, see your doctor for an evaluation and discussion of treatment options tailored to your situation.

When to See a Doctor

Most hemorrhoids resolve on their own or with basic home treatments. Consult your doctor if:

  • Symptoms remain after 1-2 weeks of home remedies and lifestyle changes.
  • You experience severe pain or swelling in the rectal area.
  • Bleeding from the rectum persists for more than a week.
  • Hemorrhoid prolapse occurs, with tissue protruding from the anus.
  • Signs of infection like fever, discharge, or foul odor are present.
  • An external hemorrhoid becomes thrombosed, forming a painful blood clot.

Your doctor can examine the hemorrhoids, rule out more serious conditions, and provide medical treatment options for resolution of symptoms.


While there are anecdotal reports of using potatoes to soothe hemorrhoid symptoms, there is no definitive scientific evidence they are an effective treatment. Potatoes may provide temporary relief from irritation when applied topically in mild cases. For more reliable symptom relief and hemorrhoid management, consult your doctor about modern medical treatments and lifestyle changes.

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