Can Hemorrhoids Cause Back Pain?

Do you suffer from both hemorrhoids and back pain? If so, you are not alone. Many people experience this uncomfortable combination. Causing many people to wonder if hemorrhoids can cause back pain. 

In this article, we will explore the relationship between hemorrhoids and back pain. We will also discuss ways to relieve this pain.

Table of Contents

What Are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are veins in the rectum and anus that protrude through the surrounding tissue. They look similar to varicose veins. 

There are two main types of hemorrhoids: internal and external. 

Internal hemorrhoids develop inside the rectum, up to an inch from the anus. These form tear-shaped protrusions and may bleed when you go to the bathroom. In more severe cases, larger hemorrhoids may attempt to push through the anal opening, causing itching and irritation

Exterior hemorrhoids develop outside of the rectum on the anus. These typically appear as lumps under the skin and may have a slightly different color from the rest of the tissue. Common symptoms include swelling, bleeding, itching, and discomfort, particularly when sitting. 

There is a third, somewhat rarer hemorrhoid type called thrombosed hemorrhoids. These grow when a clot forms in an external hemorrhoid and can be extremely painful. Symptoms include inflammation, swelling, and a quick-forming hard lump on the anus. 

Why humans develop hemorrhoids is still being investigated by science. However, researchers suspect it results from diets rich in processed, low-fiber foods. According to research, around 75 percent of adults will develop hemorrhoids at some point in their lives. Once piles form, they tend to remain indefinitely

Do Hemorrhoids Cause Back Pain?

In the past, there was speculation that hemorrhoids might lead to back pain.

One theory was that as veins bulge around the anus and rectum, they become wider, reducing the amount of blood flowing to the lower back. Over time, the theory speculated, lack of nutrients led to pain in this region of the body. 

Another theory was that piles directly impact the back, leading to pain in the tailbone area.

Unfortunately, there is no scientific merit to these theories: a direct connection between hemorrhoids and back pain probably doesn’t exist. However, there might be indirect links

What Could Really Be Causing Your Back Pain?

For instance, people living with obesity often suffer from both back pain and hemorrhoids. Excess weight can put a strain on the spine. And a poor diet makes piles more likely. 

Lifting heavy objects is another possible cause. Heightened intra-abdominal pressure from lifting weights or manual work can increase muscle strain in the lower back area. 

People who sit down all day long might also experience back pain. However, a comprehensive 2010 review of studies failed to find any direct connection between the two.  

An incorrect sleeping position might be another driver of lower back pain. Poor posture in bed places additional pressure on the hips, neck, and back. 

Bulging or ruptured discs can cause pain in some people. When the cushions between the bones fail, it can lead to grinding, stiffness, and poor posture. 

Chronic conditions, such as arthritis or osteoporosis, can also lead to lower back pain. These degenerative diseases damage the spine over time and may require patients to take prescription medication. 

How to Treat Hemorrhoids?

There are several ways to treat hemorrhoids. 

If your hemorrhoids only cause you mild discomfort, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter creams and ointments. These contain ingredients, such as lidocaine and witch hazel, that reduce pain and itching. 

You should not use steroid-containing creams for more than a week. That’s because they can thin the skin and make symptoms worse. 

Lifestyle changes may also help manage hemorrhoids. For instance, your doctor may recommend that you eat more beans, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. These will help your bowel form bigger, softer stools that are easier to push out of your anus, reducing the need to strain. 

They may also recommend regular soaks in warm sitz baths for 10 to 15 minutes, several times a day. Water may reduce irritation and encourage veins to retreat.

Oral pain relievers such as Advil, Tylenol, and Motrin IB can provide short-term relief. These are good if you are having trouble sleeping. 

For patients with more severe hemorrhoids, there are some minimally-invasive surgical options. 

Doctors, for instance, may recommend rubber band ligation. Here, physicians place small rubber bands around the base of internal hemorrhoids to cut off circulation. After a week or so, the vein dies and falls off. 

Sclerotherapy is another option. Here, physicians inject a chemical compound into the varicose vein that causes it to shrivel up. 

You can also get a full-blown hemorrhoidectomy. Here, surgeons remove all the excess tissue that causes bleeding under some form of sedation or anesthetic. Physicians regard it as being among the most effective hemorrhoid treatments

A modified version of this procedure is called hemorrhoid stapling, where staples block blood flow into hemorrhoidal tissues. Unfortunately, the risk of blood infections and rectal prolapse is higher with this procedure. 

What to Do About Your Back Pain?

If you have back pain, there are many things that you can do to fight it. 

The first and most obvious is to keep moving. While you might not feel like it when you are in pain, exercise is good therapy for many back pain cases. 

You might also want to try specific stretches and strengthening exercises. Many people get back pain because of poor posture or lack of strength in some muscle groups. 

You can also try a combination of ice and heat. Both cold compresses and heat packs reduce inflammation and provide temporary comfort. 

When to See a Doctor?

If your back pain lasts for more than a couple of weeks and prevents you from participating in normal life, go and see your doctor. If the pain is severe, you should visit your physician sooner. 

As for hemorrhoids, if you have had symptoms, such as itching, pain, or swelling, for more than a week, you should visit your doctor. While some hemorrhoids can resolve on their own, it is rare. Physicians can provide lifestyle advice, medications, and direct treatment options. 

How Can DrHouse Help You?

With DrHouse you can see an online clinical whenever you need! With our telehealth app, you can start on-demand visits with a doctor, and get fast and easy access to care for your hemorrhoids or back pain.

Our clinicians can provide you with education on your condition, and recommend treatment options that can provide you with virtual prescriptions if needed. Plus, our app makes it easy to track your progress and keep all of your medical information in one place.

If you’re looking for a convenient, affordable way to get care for your hemorrhoids or back pain, try DrHouse today!

Key Takeaways

  • There is no robust link between hemorrhoids and back pain
  • Indirect links may include obesity, heavy lifting, and a sedentary lifestyle
  • You can treat hemorrhoids with lifestyle modification, topical medications, and surgery
  • Relieving back pain requires moving more, stretching, and using hot and cold compresses

Sources:

DrHouse articles are written by MDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. The contents of the DrHouse site are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.

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