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Hemorrhoids - What Increases Your Risk

Bowel habits, physical stresses, and other conditions can raise the risk of developing hemorrhoids or make existing hemorrhoids worse. Some of these factors can be prevented.

Things that increase your risk

  • Constipation or diarrhea that does not go away. These conditions may lead to straining with bowel movements.
  • Being overweight
  • A family history of hemorrhoids. You may inherit the tendency to get them.
  • Being age 50 or older. Half of people who are older than 50 seek treatment for hemorrhoids.
  • Pregnancy and labor and delivery. As the fetus grows during the last 6 months of pregnancy, blood volume and pressure on pelvic blood vessels increase. The strain of labor also can cause hemorrhoids to start or get worse.
  • Liver disease, heart disease, or both. These conditions may cause blood to back up in the pelvis and abdomen.

Things that may make hemorrhoids worse

Hemorrhoids may be made worse by:

  • Prolonged sitting or standing. This may cause blood to pool in the anal area and increase pressure on the veins.
  • Frequent heavy lifting or holding your breath when lifting heavy objects. This can cause a sudden increase of pressure in blood vessels.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 16, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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