Hemorrhoids are swollen and enlarged veins that form inside and outside the rectum and anus. Hemorrhoids are uncomfortable, painful, and cause bleeding in the rectum; they are also known as piles. Everyone is born with hemorrhoids, however, they are at baseline and only become a problem when they become enlarged and swollen due to several factors.
Symptoms include excessive itching around the anus, faecal leakage, pain and irritation around the anus, painful swelling or lump near the anus, painful bowel movements, and blood after a bowel movement. The following are the causes of hemorrhoids:
1. Sitting for long periods of time on the toilet
If you sit for long periods on the toilet, the toilet puts pressure on your anus and rectum. Due to the seat being cut out, the rectum sits lower than the other part of your backside. The law of gravity applies causing blood to collect and clot in the veins. When combined with pushing or straining, you create a recipe for hemorrhoids.
2. Having chronic diarrhea or constipation
Applying a lot of pressure on your lower rectum causes swollen hemorrhoids. This normally occurs when you strain to empty your bowels, such as when constipating or having chronic diarrhea. To prevent constipation, eat foods high in fiber, such as bran, whole grain cereal, fruits, vegetables, and beans and do not ignore an urge to empty your bowels.
3. Straining during bowel movements
When you strain during bowel movements, pressure builds up in the veins situated in the lower rectum leading to swelling. If the pressure is excessive, you can have painless bleeding when passing a stool. You will notice the presence of blood in the toilet or your toilet tissue. Too much straining can also cause the hemorrhoid to protrude from the anal opening resulting in irritation and pain.
4. Lifting too heavy objects
Heavy lifting causes straining, which puts pressure on internal body organs and veins around the rectum. If you are obese, you are at a higher risk of developing hemorrhoids as the extra weight adds pressure to anal and rectal veins, causing inflammation and swelling.
5. Excess weight during pregnancy
Excess weight and increased pressure on the pelvis during pregnancy can lead to swollen veins in the lower body, causing hemorrhoids. They are common in pregnancy because of increased pressure on the pelvis brought about by the increasing foetal weight and uterus.