Hemorrhoids are caused by swelling in the anal or rectal veins. This makes them susceptible to irritation.
This swelling can be caused by several things, including
- standing or sitting for long periods,
- straining on the toilet,
- chronic constipation or diarrhea,
- eating a low-fiber diet,
- vomiting, and
- holding your breath while straining to do physical labor.
Diet is believed to have a big impact in causing—and preventing—hemorrhoids. People who consistently eat a high-fiber diet are less likely to get hemorrhoids, while those people who prefer a diet high in processed foods face a higher hemorrhoid risk. A low-fiber diet can cause constipation, which can contribute to hemorrhoids in two ways:
- It promotes straining on the toilet; and
- It also aggravates the hemorrhoids by producing hard stools that further irritate the swollen veins.
The most common symptom and sign from hemorrhoids is painless bleeding. A hemorrhoid sufferer may notice bright red blood on the outside of the stools, on the toilet paper, or dripping into the toilet.
The bleeding usually resolves itself without treatment. Nevertheless, bleeding with a bowel movement is never normal and should prompt a visit to a health care professional. While hemorrhoids are the most common cause of bleeding with a bowel movement, there may be other reasons for bleeding, including
- inflammatory bowel disease,
- infection, and