Constipation and Hemorrhoids: Are They Related?

Constipation and Hemorrhoids: Are They Related?

Your bathroom habits have been out of whack lately, and now you’ve developed hemorrhoids. Is there a connection between constipation and hemorrhoids, or is it just a coincidence?

Most experts will tell you that constipation is a top cause of hemorrhoids. By learning more, you may be able to clear up your current problem and prevent future occurrences.

How Hemorrhoids Develop

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in or around your rectum. They push through the rectal wall or bulge out around your anus.

Pressure on the rectum is responsible for the development of most hemorrhoids. That pressure could be caused by:

  • Being overweight
  • Bowel irregularities
  • A lifestyle that involves a lot of sitting or standing
  • Lifting heavy items
  • Pregnancy

Constipation and Hemorrhoids

One of the primary bowel troubles associated with hemorrhoids is constipation. When you’re constipated, you may spend long stretches of time sitting on the toilet. You may bear down frequently in an effort to pass stool.

Those actions aren’t kind to the veins in and around your rectum. In response to the pressure, they may become inflamed and push out from their normal spots.

Unfortunately, this can become a vicious cycle. In an effort to avoid irritating your hemorrhoids more, you might try to avoid bowel movements. That will only worsen your constipation, which can exacerbate a hemorrhoid flare-up.

Signs of Hemorrhoids

How can you know if your constipation has led to hemorrhoids? There are some signs that may clue you in to the problem.

Bleeding with bowel movements can tip you off to the presence of hemorrhoids inside your rectum. In addition, you might notice tissue poking out of your anus after a bowel movement.

Hemorrhoids can also occur around the anal opening. Those hemorrhoids are often sore and itchy, and they, too, can bleed.

Hemorrhoids: Constipation vs. Diarrhea

Since constipation can cause hemorrhoids, you might assume that diarrhea is better for your rear end. That’s not the case. Any bowel irregularities can inflame hemorrhoids. In fact, some research indicates that diarrhea is actually more problematic than constipation.

In your quest to tame your constipation troubles, be careful not to swing too far in the opposite direction. You want to aim for soft, regular bowel movements that are neither too dry nor too loose.

Relief for Constipation Hemorrhoids

If you have constipation and hemorrhoids, what can you do about it? Fixing the constipation issue should be a top priority. You might also need to talk with your doctor about hemorrhoid treatments.

1. Drink plenty of water.

If you want your bowel movements to be easier, then staying hydrated is essential. When your system is short on water, your body may pull water from the colon. That leads to dry stool, which is much harder to pass.

The general recommendation is to drink 6 to 8 cups of water daily. For a more specific figure, do a bit of math. Divide your body weight (in pounds) by two. That will tell you how many ounces you should drink each day.

2. Get enough fiber.

Water alone won’t solve your constipation issue. It’s also important to make sure that your diet includes plenty of fiber.

For advice on how much fiber to get each day, check out this video:

If your regular diet doesn't include enough fiber, you may want to add a supplement. It’s a good idea to chat with your doctor about the options first. Be sure to drink plenty of water along with your supplement, or it may end up worsening your constipation issue.

No matter what form of fiber you decide to add, make sure you increase your intake gradually.

3. Reduce toilet time.

Yes, you can spend too much time on the toilet. The longer you sit, the more pressure you’ll put on your rectum and the more likely you are to strain.

When you’re struggling with constipation, give yourself only a few minutes on the toilet at a time. If you can’t go right away, come back later.

4. Listen to your body.

When you do feel the urge for a bowel movement, hurry to the restroom as quickly as possible. Responding immediately can make it easier to pass stool without excessive straining.

5. Keep moving.

When you are sluggish, so are your bowels. Frequent exercise can promote regular bowel movements. As an additional benefit, getting up and moving will reduce the pressure on your rectum from prolonged sitting.

6. Get help from your doctor.

Your doctor can provide strategies for improving your bowel movements. The treatment plan might include prescription laxatives or stool softeners.

You can also talk to your doctor about hemorrhoid treatments. While some hemorrhoid flare-ups will resolve on their own, severe or recurring hemorrhoids may require medical intervention.

One of the first options to consider is rubber band ligation. Using a tool like the Adler Ligator, your doctor can restrict the blood supply to the hemorrhoid so that it will wither and fall off. The benefits of this in-office procedure include a promising success rate and a quick recovery period.

Treat Your Colorectal Concerns

Constipation and hemorrhoids can be a miserable combination. To feel better, you will need to clear up both problems. Fortunately, once you regulate your bowel movements, your hemorrhoids might improve as well.

If not, set up an appointment with a colorectal specialist to discuss hemorrhoid ligation. A banding procedure with the Adler Ligator may help you find long-term hemorrhoid relief.

As with all medical issues, your physician is the ultimate source as to what procedure best fits your needs. Discuss all options and get a second opinion if you have any doubts. These articles are intended to be a source of general information only.

Brian Chandler