What Is The Connection Between Hemorrhoids And Gas Buildup?

When blood vessels in and around the anus become inflamed, swollen tissues called piles or “hemorrhoids” result.

Hemorrhoids are actually a normal part of physiology. They assist in closing the anal canal and contribute to up to 20% of the anus's resting pressure. They are also believed to somehow differentiate between stool, liquid, and gas.

This raises numerous questions about passing gas with hemorrhoids. Can hemorrhoids cause gas buildup? Do hemorrhoids make you fart?

Depending on their severity, passing gas with hemorrhoids can be difficult — we'll cover the relationship between the two and whether hemorrhoids cause gas, either directly or indirectly.

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Can hemorrhoids cause excessive gas?

Hemorrhoids can create a feeling of increased pressure in the anus, prompting people with hemorrhoids to ask, do hemorrhoids make you fart? Because inflamed hemorrhoids often alter bowel activity, they can lead to abdominal bloating and gas. This is particularly possible with internal hemorrhoids, which can physically obstruct bowel movements. It can also cause pain, which makes it difficult to pass stool and release gas.

Currently, there is no evidence that hemorrhoids themselves cause or directly create a gas — but as we'll explain, it can indirectly cause gas to build up and complicate how it is released, especially with painful hemorrhoid symptoms.

Do hemorrhoids make it hard to pass gas?

Swollen hemorrhoids create potentially severe pain in and around the anus. They become sensitive, and relieving pressure can increase that pain.

At the same time, regularly relieving oneself is necessary to handle swollen hemorrhoids. Failure to do so can worsen constipation — and constipation can increase gas buildup. 

The cross purposes between trying to minimize hemorrhoid pain and regularly relieving oneself can leave those experiencing both swollen hemorrhoids and excessive gas simultaneously in a difficult position.

What helps relieve gas from hemorrhoids?

The main cause of excessive gas is an improper balance of soluble and insoluble fiber, which affects stool and digestive processes and can create bacterial overgrowth. Whether bacterial overgrowth is causing gas can be determined by a breath test.

Bacteria located in the colon are there to digest food — but when the stool fails to pass through the body, the bacteria continue digesting it, which creates a buildup of gas.

The best way to relieve abdominal gas depends heavily on the individual experiencing it and the factors influencing their digestive health.

How to avoid gas buildup with hemorrhoids?

As mentioned, relieving oneself whenever necessary and not delaying bowel movements is important both for the relief of painful hemorrhoids and excessive gas. Methods for reducing gas include lifestyle changes, such as avoiding gum and refraining from talking while eating and drinking. Diet itself is also a major factor.

Diet to reduce gas

Some people experience gas differently, and everyone's microbiome is different. The National Institute of Health recommends limiting certain types of carbohydrates that don't fully digest. Once these kinds of carbohydrates reach the large intestine, they require much more bacterial activity to fully digest food and turn it into the stool.

These foods include:

  • High fructose corn syrup

  • Candy and gum — especially those containing sorbitol, erythritol, and other sweeteners ending in "-ol"

  • Dairy products

  • Legumes

  • Whole grains

  • Cruciferous vegetables

The NIH also suggests trying a FODMAP diet, which helps zero in on those particular carbohydrates that are hardest to digest for the individual. They also stress the importance of ruling out other potential causes of gas, such as celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and dietary allergens.

In addition to altering diet, it can help to simply sit and eat more slowly rather than "eating on the run."

Other causes of abdominal gas buildup

Discomfort caused by gas can also be caused by other factors and conditions, including smoking, acid reflux, and intestinal obstructions.

Certain cancers are sometimes associated with intestinal obstructions. In particular, colon and rectal cancer can cause gas and anal bleeding. Because these conditions are more serious and have similar symptoms to hemorrhoid issues, care should be taken not to mistake hemorrhoids for cancer and vice versa.

Other symptoms caused by hemorrhoids

Aside from possible pain and swelling, symptoms of swollen hemorrhoids include itching and small amounts of bright red blood in the stool. Larger amounts of blood — more than several drops — could indicate other, more concerning issues.

Note that hemorrhoids can occur externally, on or around the anus, or internally, in the anal canal. If internal hemorrhoids continue to swell, they could be pushed out, especially through excess strain.

These “prolapsed” hemorrhoids are often about the size of a grape and are very tender. They may return inside the anus or be carefully pushed back in.

Hemorrhoids can also become "thrombosed," where a blood clot is present. In rare cases, hemorrhoids can rupture, causing more severe bleeding. Anal bleeding and pain are symptoms of several other conditions, however, so it's extremely important to receive medical attention if you experience ongoing anal bleeding of any amount.

Treatment for hemorrhoids

Without continual aggravation, hemorrhoids most often disappear on their own in around one week. The main treatments for hemorrhoids involve home care, but clinical treatments may be necessary if they worsen.

One essential treatment for reducing the blood vessel inflammation that causes hemorrhoids is to reduce swelling and strain and encourage the muscles around the anus to relax. Similarly, softening one's stool helps relieve the strain involved in hemorrhoids. To these ends, common treatments for hemorrhoids flare-ups include:

  • Reducing lower body strain and exertion

  • Laying down on one's side

  • Wearing loose-fitting clothing

  • Refraining from scratching or touching the area

  • Softening the stool (but not with laxatives)

  • Taking a sitz bath (possibly with Epsom salt — although exercise caution, as if the hemorrhoids have broken open, it could sting)

  • Squatting over a toilet instead of sitting on it

Other treatments for external hemorrhoids

Keeping external hemorrhoids clean can be challenging, especially if they are extremely tender. Even if not too painful, it's important not to make them worse with excessive friction — and yet they must be kept clean to prevent infection, especially if the skin starts breaking.

Some find soothing, chemical-free wipes useful in keeping the area clean and soothing the discomfort. Many such wipes contain witch hazel or aloe vera. There are also over-the-counter creams.

Outpatient procedures such as rubber band ligation and infrared photocoagulation are also options, as is surgical removal. These can result in a recurrence of symptoms, but they provide more immediate relief. Some clinical procedures require low-intensity recovery periods, while others are less invasive and allow patients to return to their normal functions.

Other treatments for internal hemorrhoids

Internal hemorrhoids can be somewhat harder to treat. Treatments for internal hemorrhoids include internal suppositories with soothing ingredients, such as witch hazel and coconut oil, as well as pharmaceutical compounds.

If internal hemorrhoid has prolapsed outside the anus, it can become "strangulated,” where the anal muscles cut off blood flow. The prolapsed hemorrhoid may go in on its own — otherwise, it can be gently pressed back into the anus. Relaxing the anal muscles should help.

Like external hemorrhoids, internal hemorrhoids can be treated through clinical and surgical procedures if they become debilitating or painful enough.

When to seek clinical treatments for hemorrhoids?

If hemorrhoid symptoms persist without relief for more than a week, even with over-the-counter products, consider consulting a doctor to determine other possible causes. A professional diagnosis may help you understand whether your hemorrhoid symptoms correlate with other issues that could be more serious.

Also, seek a diagnosis if you suspect blood-clot-related hemorrhoids (aka a “thrombosed” hemorrhoid), as blood clots affect 900,000 Americans yearly, killing 100,000. External thrombosed hemorrhoids are more likely with "acute constipation" and those with a history of prolonged straining.¹

The lowdown

Hemorrhoids are a normal part of the physiology of the anus. But even though they help maintain the right level of anal pressure, there is no evidence that hemorrhoids directly cause gas buildup.

If hemorrhoids and gas coincide, their relationship can contribute to the potential discomfort of hemorrhoids, and it's possible they are both being caused by another undiagnosed condition, for which they are both symptoms.

While hemorrhoids haven't been found to cause gas, they can affect gas levels indirectly by making pressure on the anus painful and altering bowel movement activity. Those suffering from painful hemorrhoids may experience painful bowel movements, not relieving themselves as soon as they normally would.

This leads to stool that doesn't move through the body quickly enough, which causes gas to build up as bacteria continue to break down stool more than necessary.

As a result, hemorrhoids can indirectly lead to more gas buildup. This can be mitigated by loosening one's stool, reducing strain, treating the inflammation, and altering one's diet to prevent as much gas from building up.

  1. Impact of blood clots on the United States | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Other sources:

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