Frequently Asked Questions

What causes hemorrhoids? 

There are many factors that may increase your risk of developing hemorrhoids:

  • Low fibre intake in your diet
  • Obesity
  • Straining during a bowel movement
  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • Sitting for long periods of time on the toilet
  • Rushing to complete a bowel movement
  • Pregnancy
  • Anal intercourse
  • Alcoholism
  • Illness; long-term heart or liver disease which can cause blood pooling in the abdomen and pelvic area

How can I prevent hemorrhoids?

To help protect you against developing hemorrhoids, try incorporating the following lifestyle changes:

  • Don’t hold it: Use the washroom when you have the urge to go, avoid straining, prolonged sitting or reading on the toilet, and don’t rush; all these will help avoid the build-up of pressure.
  • Inactivity: Avoid sitting or standing still for long periods of time, inappropriately lifting heavy items or holding your breath while lifting. This increases pressure on the anus causing local blood vessels to swell. If pregnant, sleeping on your side can reduce pressure on the blood vessels in your pelvis, preventing hemorrhoids from increasing. 

What are the risk factors for hemorrhoids? 

  • Sometimes, although rare, complications may arise from bleeding hemorrhoids. Anemia occurs when the red blood cell count is lower than normal, and can develop when you continually loose blood. Symptoms of anemia include fatigue and weakness.
  • Another complication is a strangulated hemorrhoid. When the blood supply to a hemorrhoid is cut off, the hemorrhoid may become strangled, which causes severe pain and tissue death.
  • If bleeding from hemorrhoids continues without improvement for more than one week, you should contact your physician.

What is Motility?

Motility describes the contraction of the muscles that mix and move contents along the digestive or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract is divided into four distinct regions -- 1) the esophagus which carries food to the stomach, 2) the stomach which mixes food with digestive enzymes to form what is essentially liquid, 3) the small intestine which absorbs nutrients to share with the rest of the body, and 4) the colon which absorbs water and eliminates indigestible waste.

Can I get hemorrhoids from sitting on a cold floor?

No, developing hemorrhoids has nothing to do with temperature. Conditions that add pressure to the abdomen, such as constipation, pregnancy, childbirth or obesity can cause hemorrhoids.

How do I know if I have hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoid symptoms include pain, itching, rectal bleeding. Sometimes the hemorrhoid will protrude from the anus. If you are experiencing the above symptoms, visit your physician. A physical evaluation will confirm a diagnosis of hemorrhoids

Are hemorrhoids hereditary?

There are many factors, which contribute to the development of hemorrhoids and genetics can play a role. In fact, if you see a doctor about hemorrhoid symptoms, it’s quite likely that they will ask if anyone in your family has had them. If so, your likelihood of getting them is greater.

I have celiac disease. Is it safe to smooch someone who eats gluten? 

Yes, you may kiss that special someone as long as your sweetie’s lips are washed and teeth are brushed before you pucker up

Are other conditions causing my PEI?

PEI can be caused by conditions that affect your pancreas. These include conditions like:

  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Type 1 diabetes (juvenile diabetes)
  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Gastrointestinal surgery

Your doctor will talk to you about the underlying cause of your PEI and how it will affect your treatment.

How can you tell that I have PEI and not another condition?

Since the symptoms of PEI overlap with many other digestive conditions, your diagnosis may seem confusing. To determine if you may have PEI, your doctor will assess your symptoms, rule-out other conditions that cause similar symptoms (such as celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome), and may look for signs of malnutrition. Finally, you doctor may consider a trial of PERT to assess how your respond to therapy.

Enhancing lifelong health

The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation believes our ability to help establish, enrich and protect a healthy gut microbiota is the key to lifelong health