Hemorrhoids might occur as a result of many factors, but can stress cause hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins around the anus or rectum. They can be painful and embarrassing, especially during bowel movements. Many people suffer from them at some point in their lives.
Stress and anxiety can trigger hemorrhoids. These conditions can increase pressure inside the anal canal, causing blood vessels to swell. Hemorrhoids tend to get worse over time. If left untreated, they can become very painful and even bleed.
Anal fissures are cracks in the skin around the anus. They can occur due to irritation caused by constipation, diarrhea, or other causes. Anal fissures usually heal without treatment.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are also referred to as piles. Piles are clumps or masses of tissues with enlarged blood vessels in the anus.
They are swollen inflamed veins around the anus, hemorrhoids develop from too much pressure and strain on the veins around the anus.
Hemorrhoids can be painful and can worsen with straining. They may become severe when they swell, causing itching, pain, or bleeding.
Hemorrhoids or piles are a common condition and ailment, with occurrence in adults below the age of 40.
It is most common in men and women between 20 and 39 years of age. It can be triggered by a range of many factors, such as temperament, body habits, tight clothing, and others. However, its actual cause is unknown.
There are two categories of hemorrhoids, which are internal and external hemorrhoids.
Internal hemorrhoids involve the lower rectum, they form in the anus’s lining and rectum. They can include bleeding that shows during bowel movements.
Prolapse is also a type of internal hemorrhoid that involves fallen hemorrhoids in the anal opening.
External hemorrhoids. These form beneath the skin around the anus, and they include itching and pain around the anus.
Types Of Hemorrhoids
There are 4 distinct types of hemorrhoids with different symptoms. Although these types may appear similar, they appear in different locations of the anus. These are:
Just like the name suggests, internal hemorrhoids occur inside the rectum, however, it can go unnoticed and resolve on their own. These hemorrhoids may cause discomfort in larger sizes. Symptoms include pain, itching, or burning.
These differ from the internal hemorrhoids, it occurs in the external parts of the anus as visible lumps.
External hemorrhoids do not resolve on their own and co-occur with uncomfortable symptoms such as pain, itching, and burning during activities, bowel movements, or while sitting.
This is a type of internal hemorrhoid that has developed into a protruding point from the anus.
Prolapse hemorrhoids may occur with or without symptoms. There are 4 classifications of internal hemorrhoids according to protruding points or prolapses.
Grade 1. This grade is without prolapse.
Grade 2. Involving prolapse that occurs under pressure or strain such as bowel movement, this usually returns to its normal position after the pressure is gone.
Grade 3. This is a type of prolapse that can be pushed back in.
Grade 4. Hemorrhoids with prolapse are too painful to be pushed back in.
These are internal or external hemorrhoids that develop with blood clots.
They are more severe with intense symptoms like intense itching, burning, redness, pain, and swelling.
These need to be treated on time to prevent further damage.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hemorrhoids?
Dealing with hemorrhoids can be very frustrating. Some may occur unnoticed and resolve on their own, while some may not be so easy to treat.
Signs can range from discomfort to severe symptoms.
- Painful bowel movements
- Itching around the anus
- Pain that may occur during activities, while sitting, or during bowel movements
- Burning sensation
- Intense pain and itching
- Painful lumps that can occur as swelling near the anus
- Straining and/or pressure from bowel movement
- Pain and discomfort in the anal canal and rectum area
- Bleeding during bowel movement with blood on poop, toilet bowl, or paper
- Bulging tissues (prolapses) in the anal canal
- Redness or bluish tinge around the anus
- Irritation in the anus
- Anal canal sensitivity
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are mostly caused by strain or pressure on the veins around the anus and rectum.
Increased or constant straining of these veins can lead to the weakening of the supporting tissues and result in hemorrhoids. Scenarios or circumstances that can lead to pressure in the anal canal include:
- Anal intercourse
- Chronic or severe diarrhea or constipation
- Sitting for too long on the toilet
- Pressure from constant straining during bowel movements
- Diet low in fiber
- Occasional lifting of heavy weights or objects
- Weakening of the rectum’s supporting tissues
Portal hypertension is the most categorized type of hypertension that causes hemorrhoids. This is because of the connection between the portal vein and the vena cava.
Excess weight, poor muscle tone and poor pressure from obesity can cause too much pressure on and/or construction of your veins and blood vessels
Hemorrhoids can sometimes occur during pregnancy due to hypertonia and increased strain during bowel movements
Risk Factors For Hemorrhoids
There are certain factors that can increase your risk of experiencing hemorrhoids. This condition, though more common in younger adults, can also happen in older adults between 45 and 65 years of age since they are also at a greater risk of having hemorrhoids due to the age factor. Risk factors include:
Hemorrhoids are sometimes likely to occur in people with weakened supporting tissues or a family history of hemorrhoids
The older you get, the higher the chances of your body weakening at a faster rate, weakened or poor pelvic floor muscles can also contribute to causes of hemorrhoids.
Lifestyle risk factors
Unhealthy habits like a poor fiber diet, tight clothing, and dehydration can lead to constipation or diarrhea that triggers hemorrhoids.
Not taking enough water can dehydrate your skin and your body and cause constipation.
This may arise from anal intercourse and increase your risk of developing hemorrhoids
Tendency to be constipated
There are some individuals who experience constipation more frequently than others, these people are more likely to have a higher chance of developing hemorrhoids than others.
Relationship Between Stress And Hemorrhoids
Stress affects all systems in the body, as nearly all body functions are wildly interconnected. However, we’ll focus on how it affects the digestive system, leading to the development of hemorrhoids.
The digestive system has a myriad of neurons that are constantly in communication with the brain.
As we all know, stress is a biological response to happenings around us, and there’s a part of the brain called the hypothalamus that coordinates stress response. When your body is stressed, it affects the communication between the brain and the digestive system.
When this happens, the gastrointestinal tract is significantly affected, leading to a series of discomforts such as bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. These might eventually develop to cause hemorrhoids.
How Does Stress Cause Hemorrhoids?
The digestive system is partly connected to the central nervous system, as some neurons are lining the gastrointestinal tract.
These neurons are connected to the brain and the spinal cord. A collection of these neurons makes up the enteric nervous system, which is often regulating some gastrointestinal behavior.
Some of these regulations include swallowing, the constant release of enzymes for the breakdown of foods, and categorizing foods into wastes and valuable nutrients.
When the body is stressed, some alterations occur, which trigger heightened awareness, elevation in blood pressure, and an increase in heartbeat.
These changes usually disrupt blood flow into the stomach, causing a decrease in the flow of blood and oxygen, leading to a series of imbalances in the digestive system. This imbalance induces the development of hemorrhoids.
In simpler terms, while emotional functions are connected to the brain and the nervous system, the brain and the nervous system are connected by a series of neurons to the digestive system.
When our stress level rises, the brain and nervous system get triggered, disrupting our digestive system. These disruptions could be in the form of diarrhea, constipation, or other factors that incite hemorrhoids.
Stress-related activities that cause hemorrhoids
To reduce the risks of exposure to hemorrhoids, you need to understand what activities raise your stress levels and try to cut down on your participation in such activities.
Also, for individuals who already have prevailing signs of hemorrhoidal diseases, strenuous activities can cause irritation, and pain, aggravating any symptoms of hemorrhoids that already exist.
Heavy lifting is one activity that aggravates the symptoms of hemorrhoidal diseases because it exerts pressure on the lower body alongside the walls of the rectum and anus.
Any activity that is bound to strain your back muscles and the lower abdomen should be avoided.
If you’re actively involved in workout sessions and body exercises, pay attention to how your body responds to every activity.
Sometimes you’ll notice that some of them might cause you pain, so avoid such exercise.
Squats are most detrimental in causing hemorrhoids. Rowing, spinning, and other sitting-related activities can cause more pressure on sore parts of your body. Explore other options that are less likely to cause pain and irritate your rectal veins.
How To Relieve From Stress Hemorrhoids
Sadly, stress is a part of life that is inevitable. However, there are remedies for dealing with stress that can help keep your emotions under control.
Seek professional help
Asides from talking to people who can relate, having a detailed conversation with professionals like therapists can go a long way. They can help you identify these problems, those that you’re a little oblivious to, and also prefer practical solutions that work.
Make lifestyle adjustments
This involves taking a holistic approach to stress and making lifestyle changes that influence your physical and emotional health. Some changes include your daily activities, cut down on the hours you spend working, take out days to relax.
Take a break from the troubles of life. Also, your eating habits have a lot of effects on your hemorrhoids.
Sometimes stress influences your eating habits negatively, and you chug down junk that has little or no fiber in them. Such dietary habits might upset your bowels, causing you to visit the toilet more times than average.
Excessive consumption of alcohol and not drinking enough water also causes dehydration, which would later develop into hemorrhoidal disease. Avoid alcohol and unhealthy meals, eat foods relatively high in fiber, and drink at least one liter of water daily.
Workout and exercise
While some workout activities are known to aggravate your hemorrhoids, others help you release toxic energy and make you feel good.
There are plenty of less strenuous and calm activities that, to get your body moving, it doesn’t have to be a high-impact workout.
Yoga practices and after-dinner walks around the neighborhood clear your mind and thoughts after a long day.
Most of these things might seem unimportant, but they come together to make a lot of difference in the long run. Our daily routines have the most effect on our overall health. Go back to your schedule and add some alone personal time to relieve your stress.
How To Get Relief From Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are treatable, however, a diagnosis is essential to determine the severity of your hemorrhoids and the treatment best suitable for you.
During the diagnosis, your doctor notes your previous medical records, onset, and severity of your hemorrhoids, it may also require checking of the hemorrhoid area.
Treatment for hemorrhoids usually varies from home remedies to medical procedures, depending on your condition.
Medical procedure involves cutting off the blood supply in the hemorrhoids to shrink them, which is done through scar tissues in the hemorrhoids.
Severe cases of hemorrhoids are treated through surgery.
Prevention Of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are preventable with:
- Stay hydrated. Drink enough fluids, especially water daily. This does more good than you think as it rejuvenates your skin, body, and health.
- Stop spending long hours in the toilet. Sitting for so long in the toilet is one of the causes of hemorrhoids, reducing the time you spend there can help prevent straining.
- Reduce or discard constant straining during bowel movements
- Increase intake of fiber with fiber supplements or eat foods rich in fiber
- Use stool softeners in cases of hard stool. If you have difficulty with bowel movements, take soft foods, enough water, and medications that help soften stool.
- Practice stress and anxiety management techniques such as mindfulness, and yoga.
- Exercise regularly to help boost your body’s metabolism
- Take a break from time to time to relax
- Regular sleep patterns. Go to bed at a set time, turn off everything that distracts you from sleeping early, and use activities like reading, listening to music, or watching a movie to calm your mind.
Sometimes, it’s so easy for you to forget how much your emotions and state of mind affect your general health. From issues related to our mental health to psychological and digestive problems, every system in our body is interconnected.
Although stress is unavoidable, we need always to ensure that it doesn’t get out of control.
Relieve stress, take time out with friends, and families, and engage in social activities. Read a book once in a while, and join book clubs if you find it hard to be consistent. Some time with yourself is also an excellent way to soothe your mind.
A bit of yoga, mind therapy, and pleasant music. Taking these tips into practice would help you adjust your daily routine, and rid yourself of physical and remote exhaustion.
Relieving stress might not cure your hemorrhoids, but it will help reduce uncomfortable symptoms and prevent further complications.
However, if your hemorrhoids do not go away within a week after following these tips religiously, see a doctor for other professional advice.
Pristen Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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4. Verywell Health: Common and risk factors of hemorrhoids Updated on July 03, 2021