A common question of those suffering from diarrhea and/or hemorrhoids is whether they are related. While everyone experiences different symptoms, diarrhea and hemorrhoids can have a connection.
Hemorrhoids are not an illness or infection, so they can't cause something like diarrhea to occur. However, diarrhea can irritate the rectum and cause hemorrhoids to become inflamed.
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Hemorrhoids are clusters of veins that lie beneath the mucous membranes that line the lowest parts of the anus and rectum. Everyone has them, but occasionally hemorrhoids become swollen and distended, often causing pain and a general sense of discomfort.
The swollen and distended hemorrhoids are typically what is being referred to when someone mentions having hemorrhoids.
Internal hemorrhoids occur in the lower rectum and are typically painless, though they can cause bleeding. If too much force is used when trying to pass stool, the anus can prolapse and cause potential problems, such as pain and/or irritation. In most cases, the worst internal hemorrhoid will do is cause some bleeding when stool is passed.
External hemorrhoids are what people typically refer to when talking about hemorrhoids. They form under the skin of the anus, causing pain, itching, irritation, swelling, and bleeding. This can result in pain when passing a stool or sitting down.
These hemorrhoids often appear as bumps on the skin and may bleed when further irritated.
External hemorrhoids may appear as a blue lump near the opening of the anus, resulting in itching and/or pain. Similar symptoms can be caused by another more serious condition, so it's important to keep your doctor updated on your symptoms. These symptoms typically go away after a few days if caused by hemorrhoids.
The symptoms a person experiences will depend on the type of hemorrhoid they have. With internal hemorrhoids, the main two symptoms include painless bleeding and/or a prolapsed anus.
External hemorrhoids can pose more of a problem, though, as they present more symptoms with varying levels of severity. These symptoms may include:
Itchiness or irritation in the anal region
Pain and/or bleeding
Swelling around the anus
Hemorrhoids and diarrhea can be connected, but that doesn't mean they always are. Prolonged or chronic diarrhea can cause, or worsen, painful hemorrhoids around the anus. However, hemorrhoids won't cause diarrhea.
Diarrhea can also be a sign of something more serious, such as irritable bowel syndrome or an infection, as well as many other medical conditions. If you experience diarrhea or hemorrhoids, it's best to go to the doctor and have everything checked out.
Yes, diarrhea can cause hemorrhoids to bleed, as can straining during a bowel movement or sitting for an extended period of time. Diarrhea often causes hemorrhoids to bleed due to the presence of digestive acid or bile in the loose stools. When diarrhea causes hemorrhoids, it usually comes with a burning sensation after a bout of the illness.
Hemorrhoids and diarrhea are not likely to be caused by the same issue. It is advisable to be sure you're washing your hands often, cleaning food surfaces regularly, and cooking food thoroughly to avoid any gastrointestinal infection. Try not to sit down for too long while using the restroom to reduce the risk of developing hemorrhoids.
Here are just some of the issues that can cause hemorrhoids:
Straining while using the bathroom
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Sitting on the toilet for a long time
Frequent heavy lifting
Avoid taking your phone into the restroom as this can cause you to become distracted, potentially resulting in sitting on the toilet for longer than recommended
Here are some common causes of diarrhea:
Bacterial or viral infection
Food intolerance or allergy
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
There are several methods of preventing hemorrhoids and diarrhea. Some methods overlap due to the similarities in what tends to cause these conditions.
Make sure your diet has enough fiber in it (25 to 30 grams of fiber per day for the average adult)
Drink plenty of water
Avoid straining during bowel movements
Go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge
Wash hands regularly
Get vaccinated for common illnesses
Don't eat foods you're allergic to or have an intolerance to
There is no immediate cure for hemorrhoids, so they may take a few days or weeks to go away, even with treatment. You may be able to relieve some pain or swelling with at-home remedies or over-the-counter (OTC) ointments.
Diarrhea may be treated with antibiotics or over-the-counter medication, but there are a few at-home remedies you can try as well.
OTC ointments or witch hazel pads
Take a sitz bath
Antibiotics and/or OTC medications such as Pepto-Bismol
Eat low-fiber foods such as bananas or white rice
Hemorrhoids will not cause diarrhea, but diarrhea can contribute to the development of hemorrhoids. The two medical conditions are typically not serious and can be prevented by staying hydrated, eating enough fiber, and avoiding food to which you have an intolerance or allergy.
Straining and/or sitting for a long period of time can lead to or worsen hemorrhoids, as is often seen with diarrhea.
Yes, you can get hemorrhoids from diarrhea. When a person has diarrhea, they are often stuck on the toilet for an extended period of time, or they may strain more than usual. The prolonged period of time sitting down and the strain from diarrhea may cause hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids cannot cause gas and/or diarrhea but are rather a symptom of the two. Gas and diarrhea are not caused by hemorrhoids. Since hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anus and lower rectum, they can't cause you to become ill or pass gas. Diarrhea and hemorrhoids often appear together due to the inflammation from the watery stool and prolonged sitting.
Diarrhea often contains bile or gastric acid, so passing the watery stool can irritate the rectum, which can cause hemorrhoids to flare up. The long periods of straining and sitting down associated with diarrhea can also contribute to the formation of hemorrhoids.
Using a medicated ointment or cream won't make hemorrhoids go away immediately, but it may speed up the process. The same is true for most of the at-home remedies for hemorrhoids. After treating the hemorrhoids, make sure to follow preventative measures so you can lower your chances of getting hemorrhoids in the future.
Hemorrhoids and what to do about them | Harvard Health Publishing
Diarrhea | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Natural remedies for hemorrhoids | Harvard Health Publishing