What causes hemorrhoids?

There are several different potential causes of hemorrhoids, with many factors likely contributing to each patient's condition. The traditional causes of hemorrhoids include pregnancy/obesity, chronic constipation, straining during bowel movements, and spending excessive amounts of time sitting (especially on the toilet). One reason these may lead to hemorrhoids is that they all result in poor blood flow to and from the blood vessels involved with hemorrhoids due to increased pressure in the area. This causes blood to accumulate and the vessels to swell.  
Another reason the above causes may lead to hemorrhoids is that they cause the smooth muscle which makes up the anal canal to be strained. This also increases pressure in the lower rectum and pushes hemorrhoids against the tightened sphincter muscle. Additionally, aging can lead to a higher risk of hemorrhoids as the connective tissue that holds the hemorrhoid blood vessels starts to weaken and stretch. More potential causes of hemorrhoids include anal intercourse, chronic diarrhea, straining to lift heavy weight, and low-fiber diets.
man carrying a huge cardboard box on his back

  • "Hemorrhoids and What to Do about Them - Harvard Health." Harvard Health Blog, Harvard Health Publishing, Oct. 2013, www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/hemorrhoids_and_what_to_do_about_them.
  • "Hemorrhoids Treatment, Symptoms & More." Cleveland Clinic, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 2016, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15120-hemorrhoids.
  • "Hemorrhoids." Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 6 Mar. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hemorrhoids/symptoms-causes/syc-20360268.



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