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Amy is a Board Certified Family Health Nurse Practitioner (FNP) with over 15 years of experience working in Hospital Medicine, Urgent Care and Primary Care practices. Amy graduated Thomas Jefferson University with high distinction earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2008, a Master of Science in Nursing in 2010 and a Post Master's Certificate in Adult Gerontology Acute Care (AGAC) in 2014. She was recognized by the Elite American Nurses Association in 2013 for her dedication, achievements and leadership in the field Nursing. She served as a clinical preceptor for a number of Nurse Practitioner students and enjoys teaching the bright minds of future NPs.
Although hemorrhoids are very common among the general population, the condition can in fact be influenced by genetics as well. That doesn’t mean that if your genetics don’t have an impact on hemorrhoids – you won’t get them, as there are other factors such as bowel habits to worry about.
Instead, it may just mean that you’re a little less likely to experience them in your lifetime. There are still steps you can take to reduce the risk of you experiencing hemorrhoids for yourself.
Table of Contents
- What Are Hemorrhoids?
- Are Hemorrhoids Genetic?
- What Causes Hemorrhoids?
- Who Is at Risk for Hemorrhoids?
- How Can You Prevent Hemorrhoids?
- When Should You See a Doctor?
- Key Takeaways
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoidal disease or piles are lumps that form in your anus which can cause swelling and irritation. The lumps or blood-filled cushions are caused by swollen veins, and the inflammation can cause great discomfort while sitting, sleeping, and using the restroom.
While the veins are usually swollen inside the anus, external hemorrhoids may also surface, and the pain may be external as well as internal. Hemorrhoids may also lead to rectal bleeding, as well as blood in your bowel movements.
You may experience itching, or notice a hard lump around your anus, which is a sign of a swollen blood vessel.
Despite the symptoms being quite alarming, the condition is often not dangerous, and won’t often warrant immediate medical attention.
Are Hemorrhoids Genetic?
So, are hemorrhoids genetic? Aside from all of the other potential causes of hemorrhoids, genetics and a family history of hemorrhoids do play a role in the causation from time to time. While your genes aren’t directly tied to the swelling of your hemorrhoids, certain genetics may lead to a greater risk of hemorrhoid swelling and other complications as well.
The strength of an individual’s cartilage is impacted by genetics, which can play a role in your susceptibility to hemorrhoids in general. If you’ve inherited genes that allow for stronger cartilage and muscles in that area, you’re less likely to experience hemorrhoids in your lifetime.
Despite having strong muscles and cartilage in the anus, you’re still susceptible to hemorrhoids, especially if you’re careless and aren’t aware of the possible causes of hemorrhoids. Ignoring your body’s warnings and putting too much strain on your muscles puts you at a far greater risk.
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids can be caused by a number of actions, but only when they have too great an impact on the veins and muscles within your anus. When too much pressure or strain is put onto those muscles, it can cause your veins to be pushed out of their position, causing them to swell in an attempt to heal. A strain on these muscles can happen as a result of multiple different activities.
Spending too much time on the toilet may lead to hemorrhoids. Of course, using the bathroom is unavoidable for everyone, but if you’re spending too much time seated on the toilet, you may be putting yourself at a greater risk for hemorrhoids. Toilets are designed for easier bowel movements, but too much of that isn’t good for you. It’s much better to avoid sitting for long periods of time if possible.
Then there are also difficulties in the bathroom such as chronic constipation. If you’re having trouble in the bathroom, it may require you to exercise your muscles more than usual. It’s important that you don’t put too much strain on your body, even when you have trouble. Chronic constipation can make it difficult to relax, but, you can try taking supplements that encourage healthy bowel movements.
Pregnancy may also play a role in your likeliness to experience hemorrhoids. Pregnant women will naturally have a lot more pressure on the muscles in their lower body, and because of this, they’re not only more likely to experience hemorrhoids – but they aren’t likely to go away until the baby is born.
Not unlike pregnancy, hemorrhoids caused by a strain on your lower body may also be the result of extensive lifting. Constantly putting a strain on your lower muscles will lead to a hemorrhoid problem. Limiting your lifting can help to prevent hemorrhoids. While not everyone will experience hemorrhoids from heavy lifting, you’re more likely to if you have a family history of hemorrhoids.
Who Is at Risk for Hemorrhoids?
Aside from those with a family history of hemorrhoids, there are still plenty of people at risk of internal and external hemorrhoids. Anyone with weaker colorectal muscles is more likely to experience hemorrhoids, despite efforts to prevent it.
Individuals leading unhealthy lifestyles are also more at risk. Spending all day seated without making healthy dietary adjustments puts you at increased risk too.
Older people develop hemorrhoids more commonly. As you get older, your blood vessels and hemorrhoid tissue weaken.
How Can You Prevent Hemorrhoids?
As previously mentioned, factors such as your genetic predisposition may play a role in your likeliness for hemorrhoidal disease, but you can work towards preventing it for yourself. While you can’t strengthen the blood vessels in your anus, you make lifestyle changes to lower your risk.
For example, living a sedentary lifestyle puts you at an increased risk of hemorrhoids than others, and simply trying to spend more time standing than sitting can help you prevent that. If you work in an office or work from home, consider investing in a standing or adjustable desk.
Eating a healthy diet can also lower your risk of hemorrhoidal disease, as you’ll be less likely to experience chronic constipation or diarrhea. Less trouble with bowel movements means less strain on your blood vessels. Fiber supplements make your bowel movement easier, too.
When Should You See a Doctor?
Common symptoms of hemorrhoids can be alarming to deal with, and you may want to see a healthcare provider as soon as possible – but it’s not always necessary. You should only consider making a doctor’s appointment if you’re experiencing any of the following:
- You consistently develop hemorrhoids.
- Your symptoms last for longer than a week.
- Bleeding from the anus.
- Dark red bowel movements.
Swelling, itching, and pain are the most common symptoms of hemorrhoids, and won’t require a healthcare provider to provide a physical exam. Instead, you can treat hemorrhoids at home with ice packs. Applying ice to the area can help to reduce swelling and pain, allowing for some relief before the condition clears up. Only in rare cases will you need to see a doctor about your symptoms.
While experiencing your condition, you need to eat plenty of fiber, as well as avoid eating irritable spices or drinking coffee.
How Can DrHouse Help You?
If you have hemorrhoids, DrHouse can help! Our telehealth app makes it easy and convenient to connect with a licensed clinician who can provide you with education on your condition, recommend treatment options, and prescribe any medication you might need.
If you’re looking for a convenient, affordable way to get care for your hemorrhoids try DrHouse today!
- Are hemorrhoids genetic? They Can be. A family history of hemorrhoids can put you at an increased risk.
- Hemorrhoid symptoms can clear up over a few days.
- Swelling and itching are a normal part of hemorrhoids.
- Bleeding in your stool or on toilet paper warrants a doctor’s appointment.
- Zhifei Sun , John Migaly. Review of Hemorrhoid Disease: Presentation and Management. Clin Colon Rectal Surg 2016; 29(01): 022-029. DOI: https://www.doi.org/10.1055/s-0035-1568144.
- IBS Triggers and How to Avoid Them. WebMD. Available from: https://www.webmd.com/ibs/ibs-triggers-prevention-strategies.
- Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Hemorrhoids What should I eat if I have hemorrhoids? National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. Available from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/hemorrhoids/eating-diet-nutrition.
- Why Aging Increases Your Risk of Getting Hemorrhoids. Proctology Institute. Available from: https://www.proctologyinstitute.com/2017/04/06/why-aging-increases-your-risk-of-getting-hemorrhoids/.
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- THE LINK BETWEEN PROLONGED SITTING AND HEMORRHOIDS. Paonessa Colon & Rectal Surgery P.C. Available from: https://www.paonessacrs.com/the-link-between-prolonged-sitting-and-hemorrhoids/.
- What can cause a hard lump in the anus? Medical News Today. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326725.
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