Roughly half of adult Americans aged 50 and up will develop hemorrhoids. Distended rectal veins caused by poor circulation and pressure on the anus and rectum, hemorrhoids develop more easily when a person has weight issues–particularly obesity. Here, we will explore the impact body weight has on hemorrhoid risk and management.
How Hemorrhoids Form
Hemorrhoids are purplish veins which develop inside, outside and around the anus and rectum. Due to slow or poor blood circulation, these veins become distended and painful and can even bulge out of the rectum and anus to the outside of the body.
While there is a hereditary component to hemorrhoid formation, most people develop them as a result of sitting in one place for extended periods of time or from a lack of fiber in their diet. A low “roughage” diet, along with poor hydration, can lead to constipation, hard stools and straining during bowel movements. Being habitually sedentary also causes undue pressure on the anal and rectal circulation, and veins inevitably swell and bulge.
Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids can cause mild, moderate, or even severe, and life-limiting, symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Intense anal itching
- Prolapse of the rectum and anus
- Leakage of feces from the anus
- Straining at stool
The Impact of Weight and Obesity
Dietary issues are often common in some people who are overweight or obese. Many do not have diets rich in healthy fiber, and often overindulge in carbs and sugars that contribute to constipation. Obesity may also lead some to develop harmful lifestyle habits, such as alcohol abuse, which can cause further harm on their peripheral circulation.
Additionally, having excess weight may also cause you to be less active and sit for extended periods of time. This inactivity places extra pressure on the abdominal organs, and the abdominal muscles become weak and unsupportive of the lower gastrointestinal tract. Some studies indicate that the very muscles and connective tissues of the anus and rectum deteriorate due to obesity and its associated sedentary lifestyle.
How To Manage Hemorrhoids
In general, it is best to prevent hemorrhoids before they develop. Good prevention and treatment strategies include:
- Engaging in regular exercise at least 30 minutes a day
- Drinking eight glasses of water daily
- Upping fiber intake in the diet and supplementing with over-the- counter fiber products as needed
- Controlling hypertension
- Losing excess weight
- Using warm sitz baths to soothe irritated tissues
- Applying over the counter ointments or creams, such as Preparation H
- Hemorrhoidal banding, which is an in-office application of a ligature (like a rubber band) which pinches off the hemorrhoid and allows it to slough off
For obese individuals, managing hemorrhoids can be exceptionally challenging. However, working together with a well-informed primary care physician and gastrointestinal specialist can help them develop ways to safely and effectively lose weight and reduce the risks associated with hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids Cure Near You
At Genensis Healthcare Partners, our board-certified physicians understand the pain and unease that come with hemorrhoids. Across each of our 20 locations, they work individually with patients to develop care plans which really work to manage and to prevent hemorrhoids.
Call the location nearest you for an informative consultation with one of our GIP doctors. You may also schedule your appointment by completing our online request form. We look forward to helping you get the hemorrhoid care and relief you need.