Causes and risk factors of hemorrhoids
The exact causes of hemorrhoids are unknown. Hemorrhoids are a part of the natural human anatomy, but they become a problem when they swell. This swelling may occur due to increased pressure on the hemorrhoidal vessels. The following risk factors may predispose to the condition:
- Prolonged straining
- Bowel disturbances, either constipation or diarrhea
- Diet with low fiber content causes small-sized stools, which causes more straining during defecation.
- Pregnancy; Enlarged uterus increases the pressure on the hemorrhoid vessels and causes or increases their swelling. Also, during pregnancy, the hormonal changes may weaken the supportive muscles of the rectum and anus.
- Ascites and intra-abdominal mass
- Prolonged sitting on the toilet
- Chronic cough
- Obesity and lack of physical activity
- Lack of erect position
- Spinal cord injuries
- Previous rectal or anal surgery
- Colon cancer
- Aging and positive family history
- Genetic predisposition, such as the presence of hemorrhoidal veins without valves
- Anal sex
- Repeated lifting of heavy objects
All of the previous factors may cause or worsen hemorrhoids.