How and Why Does a Hemorrhoid “Grow”?

Even people who do not experience the typical burning and itching we associate with piles have hemorrhoidal tissue. Hemorrhoids are blood vessel-filled soft tissues just inside the anus, at the end of the rectal canal. They play a role in control when stool is released.

When this tissue becomes inflamed and engorged, swelling is the result. This swelling leads to the symptoms we know as “hemorrhoids” or piles. They may bleed, cause itching and burning around the anus, and even come out the anus and become stuck.

Factors that Can Contribute to Hemorrhoid Growth

There are a number of factors that play a role in hemorrhoid growth, either causing inflammation or making it worse once these tissues are already enlarged. This can include:


While it is possible to have problems with inflamed hemorrhoids at any age, the risk increases as you get older. Most people who suffer from enlarged hemorrhoids are over the age of 50.

Diarrhea or Constipation

Either chronic diarrhea or constipation can cause hemorrhoids to grow. Diarrhea irritates the area, causing inflammation. Straining to pass hard or compacted stool puts pressure on the blood vessels, causing engorgement and swelling. You may also spend extra time on the toilet while suffering from either diarrhea or constipation, which further enlarges the tissue.


Pregnant women are at an increased risk of hemorrhoid growth because the growing uterus can put pressure on the colon. Pushing during child birth can also lead to inflamed hemorrhoid tissues.

Sitting on the Toilet

Sitting for too long anywhere can may piles worse. Sitting on the toilet for an extended period is an especially bad idea, since the design of the seat gives no support to your anal area.We recommend only sitting on the toilet long enough to use the bathroom.

Obesity and Poor Diet

Being overweight or obese can put extra pressure on these sensitive tissues, leading to inflammation. A diet that does not have adequate fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains could lead to weight gain, and may also cause problems with constipation.


If your parents or siblings have a history of piles, you have a higher risk of developing enlarged hemorrhoidal tissue as well. The best way to prevent them is by eating a high fiber diet and exercising regularly, as well as avoiding other risk factors for hemorrhoid issues.

Preventing Hemorrhoid Growth

As you can see from the list of risk factors for piles, some of the reasons hemorrhoids grow are unavoidable. You cannot change your age or genetics, and sometimes following all the tips and tricks won’t stop the blood vessels from becoming engorged during pregnancy or after a gastrointestinal illness.

The other risk factors, however, are mostly in your control. You can eat a diet rich in fiber, and lose weight if you are obese. You can reduce the time you spend sitting, and only spend as long as necessary on the toilet. Your doctor may also be able to recommend tips specific to your lifestyle that can help you cut your risk.

Treating Inflamed Hemorrhoids

If you are already experiencing symptoms of hemorrhoids that are enlarged and inflamed, you should see your doctor or a colon and rectal specialist for a diagnosis. Because other, more serious issues can cause rectal bleeding and other symptoms similar to piles, ensuring you do not have something else going on is important.

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, and conduct a visual inspection using an anoscope. This small tube allows them to see just inside your anus to understand the severity of your hemorrhoid growth.

The treatment your doctor will recommend will depend on the details of your condition, the severity of your symptoms, and how large your hemorrhoids have grown. In some cases, we may be able to help you reduce your swelling with a diet change. We can also prescribe creams that may help reduce your pain. Sitz baths – a shallow tub of warm water that fits over your toilet seat – can also offer relief and help you clean after a bowel movement when wiping is too irritating.

More serious cases of piles, such as those with symptoms that inhibit your quality of life or are causing you constant pain, may require in-office treatment. This could include rubber band ligation or other procedures to reduce inflammation and clear your symptoms.

For larger inflamed hemorrhoids, you may need a surgical procedure. There are modern alternatives to hemorrhoidectomy that may allow you to avoid much of the pain associated with this type of surgery and return to work in only a few days. For example, we often perform Procedure for Prolapse and Hemorrhoids (PPH) on Friday mornings, and our patients return to work on Monday.

When you visit our office, we can diagnose your condition, grade your hemorrhoids, and recommend the best treatment for you. For quick relief of enlarged hemorrhoids, your best bet is to talk to your family doctor or contact Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates today.