Hemorrhoid Causes Guide 101: Discover What Causes Hemorrhoids and How You Can Stop Them!
Posted on 13 December 2017 by Maryanne Johnson
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In this post you'll discover what causes hemorrhoids and find answers to several other questions about the causes of hemorrhoids.
So, What Really Causes Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are caused when weakened blood vessels that carry blood to and from the anus and surrounding tissue becomes weakened and damaged, leading to swelling.
Hemorrhoids can be internal or external, and while internal hemorrhoids have minimal symptoms unless prolapsed, the swelling of external hemorrhoids can be accompanied by pain, discomfort, itching and burning.
Hemorrhoids are more common with age, because as we grow older, we produce less collagen, the protein that makes up the structural walls of blood vessels.
Because blood vessels become weaker, hemorrhoids are generally caused by anything that puts pressure on those vessels, including:
- pregnancy and childbirth
- bouts of coughing
- heavy lifting
- long-term sitting
There are many different hemorrhoid treatment options to choose from.
What Causes Prolapsed Hemorrhoids?
Prolapsed hemorrhoids are internal hemorrhoids that extend from inside the rectum out through the anus.
While internal hemorrhoids generally don’t cause pain, prolapsed hemorrhoids are subjected to the trauma of passing stool.
This causes them to often bleed, and bowel movements can be painful due to the irritation and inflammation of the hemorrhoid.
What Causes Thrombosed Hemorrhoids?
Thrombosed hemorrhoids are external hemorrhoids that form with blood clots inside them.
External hemorrhoids can be painful, but thrombosed hemorrhoids are particularly so, because they protrude more and are more sensitive and tender.
Take a peek at this post for a guide on painful hemorrhoids.
Severe thrombosed hemorrhoids may require surgical intervention, and as they heal, they can leave behind the skin that stretched along with the swollen blood vessel.
This can create a large skin tag that protrudes from the anus, causing irritation and making anal hygiene a challenge.
Does Pregnancy Cause Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy because the fetus puts extra pressure on the rectum, making bowel movements more difficult, leading to strain.
Constipation combined with increased pressure on the rectum and perineum is the primary reason that women experience these.
This is an excellent hemorrhoid pregnancy guide if you are pregnant and suffering from hemorrhoids.
Does Straining Cause Hemorrhoids?
If you have trouble passing stool, the process could involve straining that puts stress on blood vessels, triggering hemorrhoids.
Taking in the right kind of fiber – fiber that bulks up AND loosens stool by drawing in moisture – will help prevent hard stool that can require straining in order to pass it.
Does Sitting on the Toilet Cause Hemorrhoids?
One of the biggest risk factors for hemorrhoids is straining during a bowel movement, so spending too much time on the toilet can put you at risk of developing the embarrassing, painful condition.
Some experts will say that the toilet itself – positioned in such a way that straining is almost necessary in order to successfully go – could be the biggest culprit when it comes to hemorrhoids in the Western world.
In a sitting position, the colon is positioned in such a way that straining is required, which puts pressure on the lower rectum, causing veins to stretch and weaken, resulting in hemorrhoids.
“Hemorrhoids result from continual aggravation and injury due to excessive straining in the sitting position,” said Israeli physician Dr. B.A. Sikirov, who studied the relationship between sitting and hemorrhoids in 1987, and determined that the squatting position is less likely to trigger the condition.
Does Sitting on Hard Surfaces Cause Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are all about pressure, and sitting for long periods of time, especially so on hard surfaces, can put pressure on the blood vessels of the anus, weakening them over time.
Weakened blood vessels are more likely to swell if blood pools along the walls of the blood vessels of the anus, triggering hemorrhoids.
Can Sitting All Day Cause Hemorrhoids?
Sitting – or standing – for long periods of time can put pressure on the blood vessels of the anus, weakening them over time. Weakened blood vessels are a risk factor for hemorrhoids.
Does Heavy Lifting Cause Hemorrhoids?
In the same way weight lifting can cause hemorrhoids, so can heavy lifting, putting delivery workers at risk of hemorrhoids.
The lift, often accompanied by the holding of one’s breath and straining, can cause a quick increase of pressure on the blood vessels of the anus, causing them to swell and protrude, even when following the “bend your knees, not your back,” lifting advice.
Breathing out when lifting rather than holding your breath can help prevent hemorrhoids.
Can High Blood Pressure Cause Hemorrhoids?
While high blood pressure alone won’t cause hemorrhoids, having high blood pressure can put you at risk for developing the painful, embarrassing condition.
For those who have high blood pressure, blood pumps forcefully against artery walls.
Over time, those walls weaken, and can lead to a wide range of health problems including heart disease.
One lesser but not insignificant risk factor is hemorrhoids, because the weakened artery walls are more likely to swell if put under pressure due to other risk factors.
Can Stress Cause Hemorrhoids to Flare Up?
If you’re under a lot of stress, hemorrhoids can be an unfortunate side effect.
First, stress causes blood pressure to go up, which can potentially damage the blood vessels of the anus, making them more vulnerable to hemorrhoids.
Stress also can lead to constipation, which is one of the main causes of hemorrhoids.
Stress is something that can have a very bad impact on our lives, not just with hemorrhoids. If you are feeling stressed, try meditation or exercising to see if that helps.
Can a Colonoscopy Cause Hemorrhoids?
Technically, no, a colonoscopy will not cause hemorrhoids.
But, even though the procedure will not trigger hemorrhoids in someone with healthy blood vessels in and around the anus, a colonoscopy can cause existing hemorrhoids to flare up if tissue is already swollen or inflamed or blood vessels are structurally weak.
Sometimes, hemorrhoids can go unnoticed, so a colonoscopy is a good way to determine if you have them, so that you can take steps to improve your health and strengthen blood vessels to prevent future problems.
Can Frequent Diarrhea Cause Hemorrhoids?
In the same way that constipation can put pressure on the blood vessels of the anus, causing weakened vessels to swell into hemorrhoids, diarrhea can also cause irritation of the anal area, triggering hemorrhoids.
Chronic diarrhea resulting in hemorrhoids is often associated with itching hemorrhoids.
Can Medication Cause Hemorrhoids?
There are many medications – especially opioids – that can cause constipation, making hemorrhoids more likely to occur.
They change your body's natural flow resulting in dehydration or increased pressure on the veins, which can lead to hemorrhoids.
Medications that cause hemorrhoids should be discussed with your doctor to see if there are any other alternative options.
If your doctor lets you know there aren't any alternatives, you'll want to do your best to prevent hemorrhoids by staying hydrated, eating healthy, and using good bathroom habits.
Hemorrhoid supplements can help people suffering from chronic hemorrhoids. We have a full list of hemorrhoid supplement reviews you can check out to see if one is right for you.
What Foods Cause Hemorrhoid Flare-Ups?
Diet can play a big role in both causing and preventing hemorrhoids, because the right foods can keep bowel movements regular and can lead to more collagen production, making blood vessels stronger.
Some foods to avoid include alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods and citrus fruits, all of which can cause digestive problems that can exacerbate hemorrhoids.
Does Alcohol Cause Hemorrhoids to Flare Up?
Alcohol can contribute to hemorrhoids because it acts as a diuretic, leading to dehydration that can cause constipation.
Alcohol also raises blood pressure, which can weaken the veins of the anus, and when consumed in heavy doses, it can cause cirrhosis of the liver, a condition that slows the flow of blood through the body because it cannot flow smoothly through the liver, which when healthy, filters blood.
Does Coffee Cause Hemorrhoids?
If you love your cup of java in the morning – or maybe two or three – it’s okay to continue the habit, despite the caffeine, as long as you make sure to drink enough water, as well.
While coffee in itself doesn’t cause hemorrhoids, coffee contains caffeine, and in copious amounts, caffeine can lead to dehydration, which can, in turn, lead to constipation, which can trigger hemorrhoids.
Taking in water too will help prevent dehydration, keeping constipation away.
Does Red Wine Cause Hemorrhoids?
Just the opposite!
While alcohol should be avoided by those suffering from hemorrhoids, an antioxidant in red wine – resveratrol – could help improve blood vessel health, strengthening them against hemorrhoids.
Can Antibiotics Cause Hemorrhoids to Flare up?
Antibiotics are great for killing off the bad bacteria that causes illness, but they also kill off the good bacteria that keeps our digestive system running properly.
While some people can develop diarrhea from antibiotics, most people become constipated.
Either way, the irritation caused by either condition can cause existing hemorrhoids to worse or new ones to pop up from the pressure of either going to much or straining to go.
Can a Lack of Sleep Cause Hemorrhoids?
Not getting enough sleep can lead to a wide range of health problems, but hemorrhoids? Indirectly, yes.
Those who don’t get enough shuteye have a slower response time, making them a danger on the road and at work, and they are at risk of developing diseases including obesity – those who don’t sleep often reach for sweet treats to stay awake – which puts pressure on the blood vessels of the anus, as well as depression and anxiety, which can lead to constipation.
Both obesity and constipation are big risk factors for hemorrhoids, so getting enough sleep is one way to keep hemorrhoids from impacting your life.
Can Forcing Flatulence Cause Hemorrhoids?
Flatulence is caused by either swallowed air or the breakdown of certain foods, which can cause bacteria to react in the large intestine.
While those with hemorrhoids may have more gas, flatulence – even forced farts – will not lead to hemorrhoids.
As one bodybuilder said on a forum for the intense sport, “Farting has nothing to do with hemorrhoids.”
Bodybuilding, on the other hand, has plenty to do with hemorrhoids. When lifting the heavy weights associated with bodybuilding, the strain can cause pressure on the blood vessels of the anus, and if they are weakened structurally, they can swell.
Can Excessive Coughing Cause Hemorrhoids?
Because hemorrhoids are caused by pressure on the blood vessels of the anus, coughing, especially long bouts of coughing – can cause weakened blood vessels to swell.
Can Sneezing Cause Hemorrhoids?
While coughing puts pressure on the lower body, particularly the rectum, sneezing does not impact the same muscle group.
So, sneeze away!
Can GERD Cause Hemorrhoids?
While gastro-esophageal reflux disease, better known as acid reflux, and hemorrhoids are related to the digestive system, one cannot cause the other, and GERD does not cause hemorrhoids.
Can Diverticulitis Cause Hemorrhoids?
Diverticulitis is a condition of the colon that causes pockets to form along weak areas of the colon wall. Hemorrhoids on the other hand, are caused by weakened blood vessels. Again, the two conditions are related, but one cannot cause the other.
What Causes Hemorrhoids to Bleed?
Because hemorrhoids become swollen and enlarged, passing a hard stool will often scrape the surface of these veins, resulting in bleeding (1).
This is one reason why people who experience chronic constipation also are faced with the painful symptoms of inflamed hemorrhoids.
Hard stools require more straining to pass, and this increases the chance of the stool disrupting and scraping the cushion of veins on the inside of the lower rectal region.
External hemorrhoids can be a separate cause of bleeding. Blood clots form on the outside of the anal sphincter when the blood pools inside an external hemorrhoids. When lanced, a blood clot can bleed profusely.
What Causes Hemorrhoids in Men?
For men, the cause of hemorrhoids can be anything from sitting for prolonged periods of time, lifting heavy objects, and constipation.
All of these factors put added stress on the veins, causing them to swell and become enlarged, resulting in painful hemorrhoids and the symptoms associated with them.
Hemorrhoids become a more common issue for men over the age of 50.
This is because the connective tissue weakens from aging and the hemorrhoids are no longer being held in place as well they used to be.
Because of this, the veins will begin to bulge and swell, resulting in the formation of hemorrhoid symptoms.
What Causes Hemorrhoids to Itch?
Both external and internal hemorrhoids can itch.
For internal hemorrhoids, a hemorrhoid may protrude through the anal opening, also known as a protruding or prolapsed hemorrhoid.
The irritation of the friction generated from the protruding hemorrhoid against the anal opening can result in itching.
External hemorrhoids form underneath the skin around the anal opening.
Their presence alone can cause itching because when you move around, your skin will itch because of these newly formed bumps around the anus.
In some cases when external hemorrhoids are concerned, a blood clot will form. After a clot is lanced and drained, it can leave behind excess skin, otherwise known as a skin tag.
Skin tags can be itchy because of the friction between the buttocks from moving around.
What Causes Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy?
When we think about what causes hemorrhoids, the factors are usually some kind of pressure, stress, or strain on the veins in the lower region of our rectum and anal canal.
It makes sense that many pregnant women experience hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids occur often during pregnancies due to the enlarged uterus putting additional pressure on the veins.
In the later trimesters of pregnancies, women will experience swollen and enlarged hemorrhoids more often because the uterus at that stage is much larger than normal.
Hemorrhoids also occur during labor because of the amount of pushing and straining that happens when delivering the baby.
What Causes Hemorrhoids to Swell?
Hemorrhoids form because they become swollen and enlarged—so what causes the swelling in the first place?
Hemorrhoids are veins in the lower rectum and anal region and they are sensitive to bowel movements and the regularity of your colon.
Things like constipation, hard stools, sitting for a long time, and anything that adds more pressure to these veins cause them to swell.
The disruption of the blood flow from any of these factors will lead to the swelling of the veins.
The blood vessels in the lower rectal and anal area swell when they experience more pressure than they can handle.
What Causes Chronic Hemorrhoids?
Chronic hemorrhoids are those that are reoccurring and have trouble subsiding when at-home remedies and treatment methods are applied.
People with chronic hemorrhoids are typically older because with age, the cushioning tissue in the lower rectal and anal region begins to weaken, and the veins are more susceptible to swelling.
Chronic hemorrhoids are also caused by chronic constipation.
The constant straining and stress on these veins can lead to hemorrhoids, which is why doctors often recommend more fiber to help with the prevention of both conditions.
For sufferers of chronic hemorrhoids, surgeries and other minimally invasive treatment options are widely available