Causes and Risk Factors for Hemorrhoids

In many cases, the cause for hemorrhoids is unknown. The following lifestyle choices and conditions can increase the risk for developing hemorrhoids:

  • Alcoholism
  • Anal intercourse
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • Diet high in fat and low in fiber (high fiber foods include whole grain foods, fresh fruits, and vegetables)
  • Obesity
  • Jobs that require sitting or standing for long periods
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Loss of pelvic floor muscle tone due to age, pregnancy, childbirth, or surgery
  • Severe heart disease or liver disease

Adequate fiber in the diet is an important part of reducing the risk for hemorrhoids. The recommended amount of dietary fiber is 20–30 grams per day. In the United States, the typical diet includes only half that amount. Fiber is found in whole grain breads and cereals, fresh or dried fruits, beans, and fresh vegetables. To be sure to get enough dietary fiber, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, check the Nutrition Facts label for the fiber content of other foods, and choose foods that contain 3 or more grams of fiber per serving.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 25 Dec 2008

Last Modified: 18 Sep 2015