Hemorrhoids, also called piles, are an uncomfortable difficulty, and over half the population will have dealt with them by the time they reach late adulthood. They are fairly easy to prevent with a few basic lifestyle changes, but knowing what causes them and the populations at risk can help further prevent the discomfort of hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids, both internal and external, occur when the veins in the rectal area undergo too much strain and become inflamed and irritated. Internal hemorrhoids occur when the veins in the rectum swell. When additional strain forces these to the outside, they become prolapsed hemorrhoids. External hemorrhoids form under the skin outside the anus.
Primary Condition Risk Factors
As in many medical issues, the causes and risk factors of hemorrhoids are intertwined. The strain that causes piles can come from a variety of places. Chronic diarrhea and constipation put stress on the walls and veins, thus leading to hemorrhoids. Those with a heart or liver disease or weak blood vessels are also more likely to develop hemorrhoids, as their veins are weaker to begin with, making them more susceptible to additional strain. Pregnant women as an entire population are at a higher risk than most. Being pregnant puts constant strain on the area, and the act of giving birth is a serious strain in itself.
Lifestyle Risk Factors
Excessive drinking may increase the chances of hemorrhoids, largely because of the change in the blood vessels that alcohol causes. Many people with alcohol problems also tend to eat poorly, and a poor diet is a major contributor to hemorrhoids. Diets that don’t incorporate plenty of fruits, vegetables, and other fibrous foods won’t supply the body with the necessary fiber to make bowel movements soft and easily passed.
A sedentary lifestyle also puts pressure and strain on the rectal area. A lifestyle with excessive sitting and lack of movement increases the chances of hemorrhoids, while sufficient exercise can actually help keep them at bay. Not surprisingly when you consider all of these factors, obesity is also a risk factor.