Stated simply, hemorrhoids are caused by an increase in pressure on the veins in the pelvic and rectal area that causes blood to pool or collect inside them which in turn causes them to swell. A slight increase in pressure causes the irritating itching sensation which affects most people. This itching sensation can go away by itself if the underlying cause is temporary and not too much pressure has been placed on the veins. However, if the pressure continues to increase, the tissue will continue to swell, which in turn will stretch the surrounding tissue and more serious hemorrhoids may develop. The slight itching sensation will turn to a more prevalent burning sensation and spots of blood will start to appear on bathroom tissue after bowel movements.
Bathroom habits are a primary cause of most common, uncomplicated cases of hemorrhoids. Such habits are usually temporary, do not cause undue damage to the tissue and will disappear by themselves or with a few simple treatments.
Some of these habits are:
Rushing to finish eliminating fecal matter. When rushed, the common impulse is to push harder to move the fecal matter through the large intestine faster. While saving time, this practice puts more pressure on the veins and tissues than normal and can cause them to swell or even rupture.
The temporary onset of either diarrhea or constipation, or one followed by the other (which is common), can place undue pressure on the veins and tissues again causing them to swell or burst. If the condition clears up quickly, little damage will be done to the anal cushions and the condition should reverse itself naturally. However, if the condition persists, even over a relatively short period of time, the damage to the veins and surrounding tissue can become quite pervasive and require more extensive treatment.
Hard, dry stool. This is primarily a function of diet however the condition may be caused by a variety of factors not the least of which is a common side affect of a whole host of medications prescribed for numerous ailments. If left untreated, even if the symptoms persist intermittently, the condition can lead to a sever case of hemorrhoids.
Other factors that can lead to the development of hemorrhoids are:
Especially if one is not used to hard physical labor, a sudden increase in physical activity, such as helping a friend move large objects, or lifting heavy items alone, can cause an immediate onset of hemorrhoids. This condition usually leads to the painful itching sensation brought on by the sudden increase in pressure to the area. It usually subsides, if not too serious, by itself, in a matter of days as long as no more heavy lifting is done. The sensation has been unceremoniously described as having the feeling of having something resembling a stick inserted into ones anus.
While causing a variety of problems in and of itself, obesity can place increased pressure on the pelvic veins especially if the increased weight is carried predominately in the abdomen and pelvis.
Pregnancy and delivery.
In addition to the commonly regarded hemorrhoidal aftermath of delivering a baby due to the increased pressure on the anal area while pushing the fetus out of the womb, simply being pregnant causes changes to the mother’s body which increases the blood flow to the pelvic area and relaxes other tissues while the constantly enlarging fetus causes increased blood pressure on many blood vessels in the area.
A variety of medical conditions and a similar variety of treatments have as one of their side effects conditions which can cause or set the stage for an onset of hemorrhoids. For example, heart and liver disease, treated over a long period of time can cause blood to pool in the abdomen and pelvic area, enlarging the veins and can create the pre-conditions necessary for an onset of hemorrhoids. Similarly, many of the medicines used to treat common illnesses have as one their many possible side effects, conditions that can cause hemorrhoids to form much more easily than otherwise.
Tumors in the pelvic region or tumors whose position in the body can cause an increase in blood pressure.
Infections in the anal canal.
Any interference with normal bowel movements can place increased pressure on the anal cushions which in turn can cause them to swell. In fact, an infection in the area can mimic the symptoms of hemorrhoids.
In most cases hemorrhoids occur infrequently, cause little discomfort and disappear with modest treatment. Furthermore, even in more serious cases, treating the underlying causes, stopping the constipation or the diarrhea, adjusting the medicine, improving the diet, etc., can make even stubborn flare-ups disappear quickly leaving little long lasting effect.
However, some people struggle with hemorrhoids for long periods of time, unable to make them go away completely except for short periods of time, unable to stop the itching, burning sensations and discomfort for a variety of reasons. It is important for all hemorrhoid sufferers to recognize their condition and do whatever they can to alleviate the symptoms and prevent flare-ups. For others, hemorrhoids may be a necessary complication that cannot be 100% controlled but at least may be minimized to whatever extent possible.