There are several causes of hemorrhoids, which occur from inflamed and swollen veins around the rectum and anus. Some of the causes are preventable, while others are symptoms from a separate health condition. It is estimated that by age 50, nearly half of the adult population has experienced hemorrhoids. This equates to a lot of people bleeding, itching and feeling constant discomfort.
Internal hemorrhoids are located inside the rectum; external hemorrhoids are beneath the skin surrounding the anus. Most physiological descriptions are consistent about what causes hemorrhoids, whether internal or external. Typically, the veins located around the anus stretch due to a physical activity or condition.
When under pressure, the veins might begin to bulge or swell. When these veins become swollen, hemorrhoids may develop.
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
1. Bowel movement strains
Constant straining when you are having a bowel movement can lead to hemorrhoids. Blood supply increases, filling the veins during the straining. The result could be an external hemorrhoid.
2. Prolonged sitting
The pressure from sitting is what causes hemorrhoids to flare in people with jobs that require hours of sitting. Getting up occasionally to stretch is one way to alleviate the pressure.
3. Diarrhea or constipation
Long-term episodes of diarrhea may lead to hemorrhoids. At the other end of the spectrum, constipation can also cause hemorrhoids. People who are constipated have to strain to have a bowel movement. This places excessive pressure on the rectal area that leads to swollen veins.
Overweight, particularly in the pelvis and abdomen region causes pressure on the pelvic veins.
Having a baby can be a joyous occasion, but having hemorrhoids can dampen some of that joy. Most women naturally gain weight during pregnancy. This places pressure on the rectum.
Other Causes of Hemorrhoids
It is fair to ask what causes hemorrhoids if you do not have any of the above conditions. In some cases, hemorrhoids are hereditary. Muscles tend to loosen as you get older. The tissues supporting the veins weaken and stretch. Additionally, a sedentary lifestyle coupled with aging could result in hemorrhoids.
Some might think that hemorrhoids are a work hazard. While some people get hemorrhoids from sitting for prolonged times, others may also get hemorrhoids from jobs that require heavy lifting. Minimizing the level of strain placed on the body is one way to avoid hemorrhoids.
External hemorrhoids are visible and easy to diagnosis. However, your doctor might need to conduct several different types of tests to diagnose internal hemorrhoids.
The doctor may perform a digital rectal exam (DRE) of the anal canal and rectum. He or she inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to check for any abnormalities. This initial test determines if further diagnosis is needed.
Sometimes, internal hemorrhoids are not felt during the rectal exam. If this occurs, your doctor may look at the lower portion of the rectum and colon. He or she may use one of three types of medical instruments, a sigmoidoscope, proctoscope or anoscope, that are used to examine the rectum and anus to rule out hemorrhoids.