Hemorrhoids - Causes

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What causes hemorrhoids?

While the presence of hemorrhoids is a reflection of the normal anatomy, most people and care professionals refer to hemorrhoids as an abnormal finding because they only present when they swell and cause problems.

Hemorrhoid swelling occurs when there is an increase in the pressure in the small vessels that make up the hemorrhoid causing them to swell and engorge with blood. This causes them to increase in size leading to symptoms. Increased pressure may be caused by a variety of factors:

  • Low fiber diet and smaller caliber stool causes a person to strain when having a bowel movement, increasing the pressure within the blood vessels.
  • Pregnancy is associated with hemorrhoid swelling and is likely due to increased pressure of the enlarged uterus on the rectum and anus. In addition, hormonal changes with pregnancy may weaken the muscles that support the rectum and anus.
  • Prolonged sitting on the toilet may increase pressure within the hemorrhoid blood vessels
  • Obesity
  • Diarrhea, both acute and chronic
  • Colon cancer
  • Previous rectal surgery
  • Spinal cord injury and lack of erect posture
Return to Hemorrhoids

See what others are saying

Comment from: DirtyOne, 55-64 (Patient) Published: October 28

I have had hemorrhoids for years and never had any problems that lasted over a day until half way thought my prostate radiation, which gave me proctitis further inflaming them. It was a year last week when this started, everyone involved in the radiation treatments said for 10 months radiation had nothing to do with it.

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Comment from: pratik, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: March 07

I felt a swelling on the left side of anus. Then it increased in size within 3 to 4 days and developed pain. The doctor examined it and declared external hemorrhoids. He gave me some anesthetic cream and asked me to add fiber in the diet. Then after 10 days the swelling was over so is the pain, but still after 10 months I have a small lump over the same place and my toilet paper has small blood mark after bowel moments. I don"t have constipation. I exercise a lot. I eat vegetables and fruit. I don"t know why my problem is still not over. I am ashamed of telling others.

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