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The Causes of Hemorrhoids / Hemroids:
Where do hemorrhoids come from? What causes hemorrhoids? When I was growing up, one of my teachers yelled at us kids to get up off the cold cement because it would cause all of us to get hemorrhoids! I believed that to be a hemorrhoid cause for many years and avoided cold cement like it was the plague. The teacher was wrong though: Sitting on cold cement does NOT cause hemorrhoids to develop. So be aware that some of the causes of hemorrhoids that you may have come to learn as you grew up, may in fact be quite wrong and unhelpful.
You may also be interested in PREGNANCY and hemorrhoids, How do hemorrhoids develop and Preventing hemorrhoids. Each of these articles are related to hemorrhoid causes and controlling them. On the other hand, if you are interested in buying something for hemorrhoid relief or to help get rid of them, how to treat hemorrhoids at home has some good suggestions.
A) INCORRECT TOILETING POSTURE CAUSES HEMORRHOIDS AS IT CAUSES YOU TO STRAIN - SO HERE IS THE CORRECT WAY TO SIT / USE A TOILET!
Sitting on a toilet can also cause hemorrhoids, as it causes the pelvic floor muscles to relax and the rectal muscles to strain. The toilet robs our hemorrhoidal area of all of the support that the pelvic muscles have to offer and it also causes us to retain the poo inside of us and makes it more difficult for our bodies to eliminate it, so we are more prone to straining and developing hemorrhoids. This lack of support is often one of the hidden causes of hemorrhoids.
Think about it, in the days before toilets, people squatted to do their poo. Our bodies were designed to eliminate the solid type wastes by squatting - for 1000's of years man and woman have squatted. Someone came up with the new idea of redesigning our toilets to be squat toilets, but the idea hasn't caught on in most places. Until that day, I suggest you follow the following toileting posture on your toilet - one of which was suggested by some medical specialists at my local hospital - as it can cause much easier elimination and also reduces straining immensely when on the toilet.
Put your feet up on a small footstool while you are sitting on the toilet OR You could also lean forward on your tiptoes and balls of feet (front part of foot). Next bend forward with your elbows resting on your knees. Both of these methods allow you to use a modern sitting toilet while getting some muscular support from the pelvic floor.
B) Constipation is another cause of hemorrhoids, BUT WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE CONSTIPATED SITTING ON THE TOILET:
In this xray of someone who is badly constipated, you can see what all that straining on the toilet is about - all that cloud like appearance is fecal matter, also known as poo.
Dealing with constipation for hemorrhoid relief and to stop causing new hemorrhoids developing:
2... Constipation is a Really BIG Major Cause of Hemorrhoids in the Western World, while Diarrhea is a Major Cause of Hemorrhoids in the Eastern World
Constipation and diarrhea both cause straining or violent bowel motions and spikes in blood pressure. They also irritate to the lower intestinal tract in general. Naturally, all of this pressure and irritation causes hemorrhoids.
The urge to defecate is very weak, so if you ignore it, it will go away for a while - then more moisture gets sucked out and constipation problems just get worse and you are more likely to cause the hemorrhoids. Considering that constipation is such a major cause of hemorrhoids, you should always go just as soon as you feel the urge.
Constipation is caused by a variety of other things, including a low fiber diet, a lack of water ( dehydration ), excessive lactic acid from dairy problems, vitamin E deficiency, lack of exercise and the side effects of some medications. Excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption. In fact go back to the late 1800's and you will find many of the core points identified back then:
"[Ignoring the urge to go and]...Many other influences contribute also to constipation, such as those which interfere in general with the health of the body - excessive brain work and mental emotion, neglect of physical exercise and improper diet [pastry in particular]" .. and then there is this gem from the late 1800's as well - "if he is cultivating and exercising the mind, to the neglect of the body, he can scarcely hope that the latter will perform all of its functions properly." and yes, way back then they also identified hemorrhoids as being caused by it all. Found in THE PRACTICAL HOME PHYSICIAN AND ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MEDICINE of the late 1800's - They also advised not to take laxatives but to focus on the lifestyle. After 150 years we are still making the same mistakes as then!
Constipation and the hemorrhoids it causes can both be prevented by eliminating the constipation and the dietary suggestions below may help considerably.
THE DIETARY CHANGES FOR HEMORRHOID RELIEF AND PREVENTION - OR - IMPROPER DIET CAN CAUSE HEMORRHOIDS:
The photo shows the typical western type of refined diet renowned for causing hemorrhoids, as well as the tv remote, a frequent symtpom of the sedentary lifestyle, which is another reason you can come down with hemorrhoids - also known as piles, hemorrhoids and haemorrhoids.
The good news, simple changes to your diet can help bring relief from hemorrhoids as well as help to prevent new hemorrhoids from developing. Three articles are devoted to this: Hemorrhoids Diet and the High Fibre Diet and the foods to avoid when you have hemorrhoids.
Specifically, eat fibre rich foods and drink plenty of water to keep the stools soft. This will then help to reduce or eliminate the straining that can cause hemorrhoids to develop or get them pushed outside.
Avoid excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption - both can cause hemorrhoids indirectly, as both dehydrate the body of water: The water is pulled out of the body and urinated out, which in turn makes constipation a much more likely scenario, as the dehydrated body will attempt to gain water by pulling it out of the stuff travelling down the intestines - the poop in other words. Caffeine also produces a temporary spike in blood pressure, which doesn't help matters.
Avoid the heavily refined foods such as those made with white flour and sugar, as these heavily refined foods are harder for the body as they normally have very little, if any, dietary fibre in them, to help get the digested waste products of the refined foods back out of the body. Many find their problems with constipation and painful hemorrhoids are directly linked to their intake of these highly processed, refined type foods. A cause that you can remedy.
Gastrointestinal upset can cause inflammation, which increases the amount of blood drawn to the hemorrhoidal area. So, anything that affects your intestines can really cause a lot of hemorrhoid trouble. Gastrointestinal irritation can be caused by such a variety of foods and drinks, that you should probably keep a journal to figure out your specific triggers. Once you figure out what's causing the problem, you've gone a long way towards preventing hemorrhoids.
If you know you're prone to constipation and you really have serious issues with hemorrhoids, then you should keep some anti-constipation suppositories on hand for when all else fails. Using the suppositories is better than straining and pushing to try and solve the problem.
You may well find that just those simple suggestions will help considerably in controlling hemorrhoids and preventing further hemorrhoids from appearing.
Diarrhea is commonly caused by overly spicy foods, allergies, lactose intolerance and incipient infections. It can indirectly cause hemorrhoids by virtue of the fact that if you have diarrhea, it is normally messy and the longer and harder you wipe your anal area to get clean, the more likely such rubbing will cause hemorrhoids. So best to wipe lightly and perhaps use a clean damp cloth or a baby wipe to clean up.
3.. Wiping too hard can be the Cause of Hemorrhoids
Yes, even wiping too hard can cause hemorrhoids. When you wipe hard or scrub at the area, your body responds by increasing the flow of blood to the area in an attempt to cushion it. Naturally, that doesn't do your hemorrhoids one bit of good. Excessive wiping is particularly bad for external hemorrhoids and for internal hemorrhoids that have come outside, as if your hemorrhoids become scratched or abraded, they can hurt, bleed and swell even further.
Hard toilet paper can also contribute to causing hemorrhoids, as the hardness of the paper makes it much easier for even gentle wiping to abrade and scratch the area, making hemorrhoids more likely as well as making it much easier for existing hemorrhoids to be damaged and become more symptom prone.
If hemorrhoids are originating from weak tissue close to or on the anal opening, then hard or excessive scrubbing risks causing new hemorrhoids to pop up. Excessive or hard wiping is a cause of external hemorrhoids, which can develop suddenly and out of the blue from the wiping. It happened to me, so I know that for an absolute fact and mine became thrombosed within several hours.
You must learn to wipe gently if you want to successfully eliminate this cause of hemorrhoids. Gentle wiping both eliminates this basic cause of hemorrhoids, while helping avoid or even soothe hemorrhoid bleeding and hemorrhoid pain. The first step is to follow the dietary fiber and water recommendations. If you follow these recommendations, it will create bowel movements that are easy to clean up after and reduce the need for excess wiping, which effectively eliminates this cause of hemorrhoids.
Using something damp to get completely clean is often a good alternative to excessive wiping. Witch hazel wipes, baby wipes, or even dampened toilet paper are all good choices for gentle hemorrhoid hygiene. Dab gently at the area to get as clean as possible, but under no circumstances should you scrub at the area.
On occasion a hemorrhoid can retain fecal matter (poo) or make it hard to complete a bowel movement. The result is typically a small leakage of poo. Many people reflexively want to scrub at themselves to get clean and rid of the seepage, however, if you want your hemorrhoids to get better, it's an impulse you should restrain. Instead, get up, move about and come back later to help complete your bowel movement - for many of us, completing the bowel movement is the only way to really stop the seepage, excessive wiping does NOT make the area clean for very long at all.
If you had an anal stretching operation back in the medical Dark Ages for an anal fissure, incontinence and hygiene problems can plague you for quite some time, maybe even the rest of your life. Even so, these wiping recommendations still apply to you. However, as a bonus, following these hygiene suggestions can help reduce the fecal incontinence that hemorrhoids can sometimes cause or cause to increase.
4.. Risky adult behavior can be a Cause of Hemorrhoids:
See our page on anal sex and hemorrhoids for more information on how this happens, why this happens and how to greatly reduce the risk of developing hemorrhoids from this behavior, but there will always be risks.
Hemorrhoids can obviously be caused, when you consider that just hard wiping with toilet paper is considered a risk factor for developing hemorrhoids.
Although less informed, poorer content web sites state otherwise concerning hemorrhoid development, the fact is, anal sex can and frequently does cause hemorrhoids.
You also have to expect, that if you have existing hemorrhoids, it may cause the hemorrhoids to get worse in some way - common symptoms can include the inflaming of existing hemorrhoids, enlarging the hemorrhoids and causing the hemorrhoids to bleed or internal ones to prolapse out.
If you've got a current case of hemorrhoids, consider abstaining from anal intercourse until they are completely resolved.
5.. Sedentary Lifestyle can Cause Hemorrhoids
How does the gastrointestinal system push food through, anyway? One of the methods it uses is the body's own movements. The compression and movement of the abdominal muscles while walking or running helps push blood and food through the intestines. If you sit down for too long, it can seriously slow down the peristaltic movement that pushes stuff through the intestines. If those peristaltic movements slow down, constipation is usually an inevitable result.
A sedentary lifestyle also often leads to weakened circulatory tone because the circulatory system is never stressed and never gets stronger. Each vein has tiny muscles in the walls that expand and contract according to the circulatory demand. Naturally, these muscles aren't under your conscious command, but if you exercise then they will inevitably get stronger.
However, too much of using exercises that puts strain down through the rectum, like mountain bike riding and squat weight lifting can be very counterproductive to preventing hemorrhoids. So be discerning in developing a more active life style.
Special Mention: Just Sitting too long can worsen, or cause hemorrhoids to appear
When you sit, naturally all the pressure is going down onto your seat area and this may causes hemorrhoids, or worsens them. When you sit, you sit on the hemorrhoidal cushions, which means that sitting puts a lot of pressure on your hemorrhoidal area. If your job involves a lot of sitting, or if you find yourself sitting for large portions of your day, then always remember to stand up every 30 minutes or so. In addition, it's important to go for a walk every couple of hours just to get the circulation moving and keep the blood pressure from building up. Remember, get and move round and you give the rectum area a rest from all that sitting pressure!
Another suggestion if you find that you have to sit a lot is to tighten up the glute (bum) muscles in your backside as you sit down to give your hemorrhoids as much muscular support as possible. From my own experience I believe this provides welcome additional support to the hemorrhoidal area while you are sitting and some welcome comfort as well. While this method isn't proven to have any benefit, it may help and it costs you no money.
Doing Kegel exercises and pelvic squeezes every so often while you're sitting down may also help keep things moving and keep your hemorrhoids from flaring up.
American Gastroenterological Association medical position statement: Diagnosis and treatment of hemorrhoids. Gastroenterology. 2004 May;126(5):1461-2.
6.. Being Overweight can Cause of Hemorrhoids:
Obesity does tend to go hand in hand with the sedentary lifestyle. I would also add, that if you are overweight, you are lifting your excess weight up every time you stand or walk or run. To help alleviate the suffering from hemorrhoids, to bring relief to your hemorrhoids and perhaps prevent new hemorrhoids from developing, you may like to try losing the excess weight you are carrying around on your body and tone it up a bit.
Especially when sitting, such as on a toilet, the pressure of your body is bearing on your anal region and may well be weakening it or aggravating existing hemorrhoids.
Another of our web sites is devoted to rapid weight loss. Losing weight if you need to is one of the best ways possible to both alleviate the suffering caused by hemorrhoids and to prevent new ones from developing. It's also one of the best possible things you could do for your overall health.
7... Strenuous Occupation or Sport may be Another Cause of Hemorrhoids
Any activity that creates stress or pressure in the anorectal area (lower end of the 'poo' canal) can cause hemorrhoids to develop or worsen. For example, mountain motor bike riding has been linked to causing hemorrhoids. (Link is to a forum site I stumbled across years ago, unfortunately they give the guy a terrible ribbing over his hemorrhoids). Other activities that can cause hemorrhoids may include running, weight lifting, snow shoveling, squats and anything else that increases pressure in that area.
If your favorite sport is one of your major hemorrhoid causes, then you may want to take a break from that particular sport until your hemorrhoids clear up. Unfortunately, you may not have that option if it's your occupation that's causing problems. If your occupation is causing your hemorrhoids or making them worse, the first thing to do is to make sure that you're doing your job correctly and in the safest manner possible. The next thing to consider is whether there's any way you can do something differently to take the burden off your hemorrhoids. Third, you may want to try talking to whoever is in charge to find the best way to deal with the situation before it gets out of control.
Whether your occupation or your favorite sport is a cause of hemorrhoids, you need to take a break and give your body a chance to heal. Your hemorrhoids won't get better without it.
8.. Heavy Lifting is an Obvious Cause of Hemorrhoids:
Heavy lifting or straining can cause hemorrhoid issues in a big way, considering that it forces a lot of blood into the lower half of your body. Heavy lifting can cause hemorrhoid suffering to increase and also cause more hemorrhoids.
It's always important to remember to practice proper lifting technique and to avoid heavy lifting as much as possible while you're trying to cure an active case of hemorrhoids. If you must do heavy lifting for your job, review your workplace lifting guidelines to find the safest way to do it - it may also suggest better work place practices for lifting need to be developed. An occupational health and safety issue to discuss with someone specially trained in your area of work perhaps. If you're lifting at home, then you may benefit from going online to find the best way to get the job done. In any case, try to avoid lifting at all while you're getting rid of your current set of hemorrhoids.
Remember, always bend at the knees, wear a back brace if you have one and keep your head looking straight ahead, have been the golden rules for a long time, but the new one that has been added is always lift heavy things with the help of others or with weight lifting equipment. Sharing the load can help stop those hemorrhoids from being caused in the first place.
9.. Chronic coughing is another cause of hemorrhoids
Coughing, along with sneezing and extreme laughing, are sudden violent physical exertions that affect the whole body. In particular they spike the blood pressure in the lower anorectal area ('poop' canal). The odd cough won't cause hemorrhoids or make them worse, but constant coughing spikes the blood pressure repeatedly and puts the anorectal area under constant strain. People who have smoker's cough or lung disease often find that they suffer from hemorrhoids too.
Successful treatment for chronic coughing is rather difficult and is often determined by the syndrome or disease that's causing the coughing. Unfortunately, while some relief can be gotten from suppressing the cough, treatment of the core cause is often a necessity to fully resolve this particular hemorrhoid cause.
10.. Irritants can Cause Hemorrhoids
When you're suffering from hemorrhoids, you know that irritation is not your friend. However, what you may not know is that irritation can actually make your hemorrhoids much worse or even cause hemorrhoids to start up. Whenever your body is irritated, it automatically sends a lot of blood to the area. This increases the local blood pressure, which both makes the current hemorrhoids worse and can make new ones start up.
There are a lot of irritants that can cause hemorrhoids. Anything that you're allergic or sensitive to, such as detergents, soaps, perfumes or dyes, can irritate the area. The same goes for synthetic materials and overly tight clothing. When trying to get rid of hemorrhoids on a permanent basis, you should switch to loose fitting clothing, white cotton underwear and try using laundry detergent and soap made for babies or for sensitive skin. Get rid of any irritant causes of hemorrhoids to make sure they go away for good.
THE 6 THINGS THAT MAY BE OUTSIDE YOUR CONTROL
11.. Old age can cause hemorrhoids.
Getting older isn't often much fun for a variety of reasons. The tissues of the body get more brittle and muscle tone goes down. The gastrointestinal muscles don't push material through as efficiently, leading to constipation. Vein walls are much more likely to just give way and circulatory valves just don't work like they used to. All of these lead to increased risk of hemorrhoids. Old age is one of the leading causes of hemorrhoids, which may help to explain why people become much more concerned with fiber intake as they get older.
Of course, those things that help counteract the effects of aging also help counteract the causes of hemorrhoids. A healthy diet, a suitable amount of exercise, interests, hobbies and motivation to do something active are all important factors in avoiding the various diseases of aging, including hemorrhoids.
12.. The Cause of Hemorrhoids: Elevated Resting Pressure of the Anal Sphincters.
Anal sphincter muscles are the ring of muscles that surrounding the anal opening. They serve to control the end of the gastrointestinal tract, preventing uncontrolled access from any direction - they hold the poo in.
One of the things that doctors have found is that 40% of the people who develop a hemorrhoid have increased resting pressure in their anal sphincter muscles, while for people who were hemorrhoid free, the increased resting pressure was only found in 5% ... Elevated resting pressure means that the pressure and tension was higher than usual even when the muscles weren't doing anything. This increased resting pressure is believed to be one of the main causes of hemorrhoids.
However, elevated resting pressure in your anal sphincters isn't really something you can treat directly. You have to get the resting pressure to come down by treating the things that cause it to go up. One of the main causes for elevated resting pressure of the anal sphincters is constipation (surprise, surprise), while another is stress. Treating the causes of the elevated resting pressure of the anal sphincters, also treats the likely causes of hemorrhoids.
Realistically though, if you just focus on the causes of your hemorrhoids, then you'll naturally treat elevated resting pressure of the anal sphincters as well. So, for most people, treating the elevated resting pressure directly, is not really worth even considering except as an academic exercise. Under no circumstances should you start stressing about it, considering that will just make the problem even worse. The article "anal sphincter muscles can cause hemorrhoids ", covers the topic much more completely.
13.. High blood pressure can cause hemorrhoids
Considering everything we've been saying about increased blood pressure in the hemorrhoidal area being one of the major causes of hemorrhoids, is it any surprise that overall high blood pressure can both worsen and cause hemorrhoids? If you know you're prone to high blood pressure, there are a multitude of reasons why you should take care of it as much as you can. Find everything that causes high blood pressure and get rid of it if you can do so safely. This can include:
Take all of your medications on time, eat a healthy diet and follow your doctor's recommendations. If your hemorrhoids motivate you to reduce your overall blood pressure, then your hemorrhoids might just save your life.
Maughan, R. J.; Griffin, J. (2003). "Caffeine ingestion and fluid balance: a review".Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 16 (6): 411–20.
14.. Cysts and Tumors can cause hemorrhoids.
In the rare event that you get a cyst or tumor in the anorectal area (which is about the last six inches of the large intestine - the end of the 'poop' canal), then the hemorrhoidal veins may come under increased pressure because the growth pushes on or pinches those veins. This can cause hemorrhoids or make them worse. Of course, if you have a cyst or tumor in that area that's big enough to affect the veins, then you've also got a major health problem that makes hemorrhoids look like peanuts by comparison. However, if you're trying to deal with such a major health problem, then it's a fair bet that hemorrhoids are an unwelcome and uncomfortable complication.
That being said, its things like this that should motivate you to find out what has caused your hemorrhoids - don't just assume its hemorrhoids and nothing more. Hemorrhoids really can be an important red flag that there's something wrong that needs attending to immediately.
15.. Gastrointestinal Diseases and Syndromes can Cause Hemorrhoids:
One of the questions that often comes up is whether or not these other diseases actually cause hemorrhoids. Most doctors will tell you that they don't cause hemorrhoids and that answer is right.
However gastrointestinal diseases often do cause serious gastric upset, constipation, or diarrhea. As has been extensively discussed elsewhere on this page, these three conditions do tend to lead directly to hemorrhoids though. So hemorrhoid prevention should still be high on the list of ongoing health concerns.
EXAMPLES: Crohn's Disease and Iritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can and do lead to hemorrhoids
If you ask a doctor, they will normally say that Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn's Disease do not cause hemorrhoids - they are correct. Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn's Disease do not cause hemorrhoids, at least not directly.
Crohns disease acts to cause hemorrhoids by its action of causing constipation or diarrhea or inflammation.
Irritable bowel syndrome causes you constipation, which it can do, or causes you diarrhea, which it can do, then these things may in turn cause your hemorrhoids.
The same applies to other diseases or conditions that may affect the gastro intestinal tract likewise.
16.. Diseases that affect our muscles and or neural networks can cause hemorrhoids.
Considering that the intestinal system is controlled by an extensive neural network interacting with involuntary muscle, it should come as no surprise that any condition that affects muscles or nerves can cause hemorrhoids. When you have a disease that affects the muscles and nerves, then constipation and diarrhea becomes much more likely. In addition, people with diseases that affect muscles or neural networks often have a serious lack of physical activity , which in itself can cause hemorrhoids. If you should suffer from one of these diseases, then ongoing hemorrhoids prevention measures should be a part of your life.
Why is it vitally important to understand the true causes of hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoid Causes: Conclusion
Do you like having hemorrhoids? Is enduring the vicious cycle of recurring hemorrhoids your idea of a fun time? If so, by all means carry on. Ignore the causes of your hemorrhoids and you will reap what you sow!
As you can see, there are a multitude of potential hemorrhoid causes. This page really does give you some great places to start looking. However, you should have a good basic grasp on the underlying mechanisms and the tools to discover your personal hemorrhoid causes and the best solutions for those hemorrhoid causes. By taking the important first step of taking responsibility for your own health, you've exponentially increased your chances of getting rid of your hemorrhoids for good.
One of the first things you have to do when trying to get rid of hemorrhoids is to get rid of as much strain on the hemorrhoidal area as you possibly can. Systematically identify all of the areas of your life that put strain on your hemorrhoidal area and manage them as much as possible. You may have to think outside the box on this one. For example, chronic sneezing causes a lot of strain on the hemorrhoidal area. So does heavy lifting, excessive carrying, anal sexual intercourse and over enthusiastic scrubbing on the hemorrhoid.
References For Hemorrhoid Causes
American Gastroenterological Association medical position statement: Diagnosis and treatment of hemorrhoids. Gastroenterology. 2004 May;126(5):1461-2.
Feldman M, Friedman LS, Sleisenger MH. Sleisenger & Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders; 2002.Marx JA,
Hockberger RS, Walls RM, eds. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 5th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby; 2002.
Rakel P.Textbook of Family Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders; 2002.
Maughan, R. J.; Griffin, J. (2003). "Caffeine ingestion and fluid balance: a review".Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 16 (6): 411–20.
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