Thirty patients undergoing a standard Milligan-Morgan hemorrhoidectomy were used for a randomized study of the addition of postoperative laxatives or wheat fiber to the diet. Seventeen patients received wheat fiber; 13 were given a laxative regime of sterculia, magnesium sulfate, and mineral oil. There were no differences between the two groups in preoperative or postoperative bowel habits. Patients receiving wheat fiber had a shorter postoperative hospital stay four days (three to five) vs. five days (three to six), median (range), P less than .01, and suffered less pain after defecation on the day of discharge from the hospital (P less than .05). Fecal leakage or soiling was seen less frequently with wheat fiber than in patients receiving the laxative regime (5/17 vs. 10/13, P less than .05). The authors conclude that wheat fiber added to the diet will produce a satisfactory bowel habit after hemorrhoidectomy, with a lower incidence of fecal leakage and reduced pain after defecation than the usual laxative regime.