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What Causes Hemorrhoids?

Have you experienced hemorrhoids before? If so, you know they can be uncomfortable. But what actually causes hemorrhoids? There are a number of reasons hemorrhoids can develop, but the exact cause in each case is often unknown.

Hemorrhoids are swollen, irritated veins in the anus or rectum. The condition typically results from straining during a bowel movement or strenuous physical activity, which puts pressure on the veins in the anus, causing them to bulge or swell. Depending on the location of the pressure, hemorrhoids can be:

  • Internal – Hemorrhoids form inside the rectum and often don’t result in symptoms.
  • External – Hemorrhoids form under the skin around the anus and can cause significant discomfort or pain. In some cases, blood may pool in an external hemorrhoid and form a clot, which, though not dangerous, can be extremely painful.

Hemorrhoids are common, and while people of all ages may experience them, the condition is more likely to occur as a result of aging because the tissue supporting the veins in the rectum begins to weaken over time. Some of the other common causes of hemorrhoids include:

  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Low-fiber diet
  • Sitting on the toilet for long periods of time
  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea

When to See a Doctor

For most people, a case of hemorrhoids causes only minor symptoms that don’t require a doctor’s visit. In fact, the condition can be self-managed by making changes in diet and taking over-the-counter medications.

However, when these treatments aren’t effective or hemorrhoids cause extreme discomfort and pain, medical intervention may be necessary.

Get Screened at Tampa General Hospital

Tampa General Hospital’s Endoscopy Center provides a full range of treatments for hemorrhoids as well as many other colorectal conditions, including anal and rectal cancer. Simply having hemorrhoids isn’t necessarily an indication of cancer, but it’s best to be screened if you have bleeding hemorrhoids regularly, regardless of your age.

Screening can help our team of experienced physicians, nurses and other medical professionals diagnose your condition and create an individualized care plan that best treats it, whether it’s cancer or not.

We’ll also be sure to address the causes of your hemorrhoids and discuss lifestyle changes that may help to prevent them in the future. If you require more than non-surgical treatment methods, we can discuss surgical interventions, including minimally invasive options, to help relieve symptoms.

As a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Florida, Tampa General Hospital is an academic center at the forefront of advancements in colorectal research and treatments. This is just one reason why TGH was named one of America’s Best Hospitals for Gastroenterology & GI Surgery by U.S. News & World Report in 2019-2020.

Use our Physician Finder to find a gastroenterologist at Tampa General Hospital who can help diagnose the causes of your hemorrhoids and create a custom treatment plan or call 1-800-833-3627.