Hemorrhoids have been linked to several factors and can be caused by straining when going to the bathroom, hemorrhoids themselves are much more likely to cause stress than stress causes hemorrhoids. In this article, we will explore what stress is, how it relates to hemorrhoidal symptoms and conditions, and whether or not there is a relationship between the two.

Acute Or Chronic Stress, What's The Difference

Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension, either acute or chronic. 

Acute stress is a short-term response to a single identifiable stressor--for example, going into an interview for a job you want. 

Chronic stress is a long-term condition that occurs when someone regularly deals with multiple stress factors throughout the day, such as juggling family life and work life without any help from others. 

People under chronic stress often have apprehension, tiredness, irritability, and muscle pains throughout their bodies. In addition, they may experience headaches, stomach upset, and digestive problems such as hemorrhoids due to changes in blood flow through the veins surrounding the anus.

When hemorrhoids develop, it doesn't necessarily mean that a person has become more stressed. Although stress does not cause hemorrhoids, it can make existing hemorrhoids worse and may contribute to their formation in the first place.

Symptoms Of Stress

People under stress often find that they have trouble sleeping, cannot concentrate on much of anything, and may be less likely to want to eat. These symptoms, in turn, can cause hemorrhoids because when a person is too stressed, the blood vessels in the hemorrhoidal area do not contract enough, which causes hemorrhoids to bloat and become inflamed or swollen.

This swelling makes hemorrhoids hurt more when going to the bathroom, making it difficult for someone to relax--which makes them even more stressed out, resulting in a vicious cycle.

Stress & Hemorrhoid Similarities

In addition, many people do not sleep well while experiencing hemorrhoid discomfort, particularly if they are bleeding from their hemorrhoids. 

They may wake up at night several times because of hemorrhoid discomfort--which will reduce their overall sleep time and can be very frustrating for a person who is already feeling stressed. 

In short, hemorrhoids often become more problematic during times of stress, which only increases the level of stress that a hemorrhoid sufferer experiences.

Hemorrhoid Treatments, Can They Also Help Stress?

There are many potential treatment options available to hemorrhoid patients. Still, hemorrhoid treatment itself might not help with stress since chronic stress and its symptoms (including hemorrhoidal symptoms) can sometimes worsen existing hemorrhoids. Seeing a doctor about your hemorrhoids may include talking about ways to change your lifestyle and reduce stress levels as part of an overall treatment plan.

Since there are no specific hemorrhoid treatments meant to lower stress, hemorrhoid sufferers who would like to reduce their stress levels should look into holistic hemorrhoid treatment options first. Some hemorrhoid patients find that natural hemorrhoid remedies such as increased water intake, eating a healthier diet, and regular exercise can positively affect both hemorrhoids and stress levels.

In addition, certain herbs have been shown to help cultivate a sense of calm in people--including passionflower, rosemary, and lemon balm. In some cases, these herbs might be helpful for hemorrhoid sufferers looking for ways to alleviate their stress levels and cure existing hemorrhoids. However, if you have no experience with herbal remedies, it may be best to discuss this option with your doctor before trying anything yourself.

Many hemorrhoid sufferers also find that yoga and meditation can benefit hemorrhoids and stress. However, if you are new to these activities, it is best to talk with your doctor about them before trying either one yourself.

It May Be Time To See A Gastroenterologist

A gastroenterologist can help patients get their hemorrhoids under control but cannot necessarily lower stress levels. Some people find that seeing a therapist who specializes in assisting people to reduce stress levels can be beneficial once their hemorrhoids have been treated successfully by a medical professional.

While hemorrhoids themselves do not cause stress or vice versa, there is often an overlap between the two conditions regarding symptoms and lifestyle changes that need to occur in order to treat both conditions successfully. 

By learning more about hemorrhoids and stress, hemorrhoid sufferers can better understand their conditions and seek the appropriate help.

Digestive Health Partners Can Help With Hemorrhoids

If you're still unsure how hemorrhoids can affect your stress or vice versa, discuss this with one of our professional doctors. We can provide you with more information about your type of hemorrhoid. We encourage you to contact us and set up an appointment to help diagnose and find an effective treatment, and in turn, assist with any stress you may be feeling about your hemorrhoids.