What causes the hemorrhoids?
About half of the population in the U.S.A. will suffer from hemorrhoids at some point in life; for most, this will happen between ages 20 and 50. Although hemorrhoids occur in almost everyone, they become large and cause problems in only 4 percent of the general population.
Researchers are not certain what the exact causes of hemorrhoids are. "Weak" veins-leading to hemorrhoids and other varicose veins-may be inherited. It's likely that extreme abdominal pressure causes the veins to swell and become susceptible to irritation. Sources of this pressure include obesity, pregnancy, standing or sitting for long periods, liver disease, straining from constipation or diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, vomiting, and holding one's breath while straining to do physical labor.
Diet has a pivotal role in causing-and preventing-hemorrhoids. People who consistently eat a high-fiber diet are unlikely to get hemorrhoids, whereas those who prefer a diet high in refined foods can expect them. A low-fiber diet or inadequate fluid intake causes constipation, which contributes to hemorrhoids in two ways: It encourages straining to have a bowel movement and it also aggravates the hemorrhoids by producing hard stools that further irritate the swollen veins.
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