Alcohol and Hemorrhoids

Alcohol and Hemorrhoids

What are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in and around the anus and lower rectum that can cause itching, burning, pain, or bleeding. Hemorrhoids can either be inside the rectum (internal) or outside the rectum (external). External hemorrhoids are more likely to bleed and be itchy, while internal hemorrhoids are typically more painful and can also have some bleeding.

Alcohol and Hemorrhoids

In some cases, hemorrhoids may be related to alcohol consumption. Although drinking alcohol alone will not cause hemorrhoids, excessive alcohol consumption can affect the other factors that cause hemorrhoids. This leads to an aggravation of hemorrhoid symptoms, recurrence, and interferes with healing.

Heavy drinking can make hemorrhoids worse because of alcohol’s effect on two things: 1) the health of your veins and 2) your bowel movements.

Alcohol’s Effect on Your Veins

Healthy veins, including the veins in your rectum, require the healthy flow of blood throughout the arteries and veins of the circulatory system. Excessive alcohol consumption (typically more than 2-3 drinks) can cause an increase in blood pressure, which puts stress on the veins and circulatory system. Stressed veins contribute to a higher chance of hemorrhoids and other vein issues occurring. Hemorrhoids can be defined as over-stressed veins becoming inflamed, leading to symptoms of bleeding and swelling. Therefore, alcohol and hemorrhoids share an indirect relationship.

Alcohol and Bowel Movements

Alcohol can also cause issues with bowel movements. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it draws water out of the cells and leads to dehydration in the drinker’s body. Dehydration often causes harder stools and constipation. When constipated, more straining than normal is needed to pass bowel movements. It is this exertion that can strain the hemorrhoids and lead to aggravated symptoms and pain.

People who want to have their hemorrhoids treated and keep them from reoccurring should stop taking alcoholic beverages.

Liver Disease and Hemorrhoids

Alcohol abuse is a known contributing factor to liver disease. Over time, the liver of a frequent drinker will be noticeably less healthy than one of an occasional or non-drinker. This can lead to cirrhosis (scarring, of the liver) hindering its ability to filter and pass blood.

Cirrhosis of the liver can also contribute to hemorrhoids. Scarring of the liver prevents the stress-free passage of blood, causing the body to find alternative pathways to get blood to where it needs to be. When the body needs to divert blood, it can often cause stress on other areas that are not used to the amount of blood needing to be passed. This leads to added pressure on the veins in the anal area, and many other areas as well.

General Hemorrhoid Causes

Hemorrhoids can occur when there is an increase of pressure on the veins in the rectal and pelvic areas. When this pressure is further increased, they swell due to pools of blood in the veins. Over time, these swollen veins cause the surrounding tissue to stretch, leading to the development of hemorrhoids.

Several other factors also cause hemorrhoids, such as:

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Lack of exercise
  • Eating low-fiber diets
  • Prolonged straining
  • Pregnancy
  • Ascites
  • Genetics
  • Aging
  • A lack of valves in the hemorrhoidal veins
  • Obesity
  • Sitting for too long
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction
  • Severe cough

Treatment Options

If you are experiencing hemorrhoid symptoms, call the hemorrhoid specialists today at Avalon Hemorrhoid at (626) 310-0771 for a consultation.

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