Background: Constipation, a low fiber diet, sedentary lifestyle and gravidity are commonly assumed to increase the risk of hemorrhoids. However, evidence regarding these factors is limited. We examined the association between commonly cited risk factors and the prevalence of hemorrhoids. Methods: We performed a cross sectional study of participants who underwent a colonoscopy in a colorectal adenoma prevention trial and who had a detailed assessment of bowel habits, diet and activity. The presence of hemorrhoids was extracted from the subjects’ colonoscopy reports. We used logistic regression to estimate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals while adjusting for age and sex. Results: The study included 2,813 participants. Of these, 1,074 had hemorrhoids recorded. Constipation was associated with an increased prevalence of hemorrhoids (OR 1.43, 95% CI 1.11, 1.86). Of the fiber subtypes, high grain fiber intake was associated with a reduced risk (OR for quartile 4 versus quartile 1 = 0.78, 95% CI 0.62, 0.98). We found no association when comparing gravid and nulligravida women (OR 0.93, 95% CI 0.62–1.40). Sedentary behavior was associated with a reduced risk (OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.65–0.98), but not physical activity (OR 0.83, 95% CI 0.66–1.03). Neither being overweight nor obese was associated with the presence of hemorrhoids (OR 0.89, 95% CI 0.72–1.09 and OR 0.86, 95% CI 0.70–1.06). Conclusions: Constipation is associated with an increased risk of hemorrhoids. Gravidity and physical activity do not appear to be associated. High grain fiber intake and sedentary behavior are associated with a decreased risk of hemorrhoids.
Dartmouth Digital Commons Citation
Peery, Anne F.; Sandler, Robert S.; Galanko, Joseph A.; Bresalier, Robert S.; Figueiredo, Jane C.; Ahnen, Dennis J.; Barry, Elizabeth L. L.; and Baron, John A., "Risk Factors for Hemorrhoids on Screening Colonoscopy" (2015). Dartmouth Scholarship. 3171.