Hemorrhoids are a complication of IBS. The condition is often caused by chronic constipation or diarrhea, as well as other side effects of IBS.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a group of intestinal symptoms that typically occur together. These symptoms usually include stomach cramps, diarrhea, constipation, and bloating.

Research shows that people with IBS have significantly higher rates of hemorrhoids. These swollen, inflamed veins in the anus and lower rectum are often caused by chronic constipation or diarrhea, straining during bowel movements, or sitting on the toilet for long periods of time.

Since these factors are common in people with IBS, hemorrhoids can be considered a complication of IBS. Here, we explain how IBS causes hemorrhoids and ways to treat and prevent them.

Constipation and diarrhea are two of the most common symptoms of IBS.

When you’re constipated, your stool may become hard, and you may have to strain to have a bowel movement. As you strain, the blood vessels and tissue around your anus can swell and bulge. The pressure caused by chronic constipation can cause hemorrhoids.

Additionally, sitting on the toilet for long periods of time due to bouts of diarrhea and constipation may increase pressure in the rectum, leading to hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoids can be painful and uncomfortable. They can get better on their own, but complications can occur, especially if you’re unable to control your IBS symptoms.

Potential complications of IBS include:

There’s currently no cure for IBS, but there are treatments and lifestyle changes that can help relieve the symptoms of hemorrhoids caused by IBS and prevent them from coming back.

Home remedies

Home remedies and lifestyle changes can help reduce hemorrhoid inflammation and relieve symptoms. Examples include:

  • soaking in a sitz bath
  • avoiding soap, which can aggravate hemorrhoids
  • avoiding rough toilet paper when wiping after a bowel movement
  • using a cold compress on your anus

Lifestyle changes can also help relieve the symptoms of IBS, such as constipation and diarrhea, that are contributing to the development of hemorrhoids. Steps you can take in your everyday life to help with IBS symptoms include:

Medical treatment

Hemorrhoids often go away on their own, but medications can help ease discomfort and pain in the meantime. These include:

  • OTC topical treatments, such as hydrocortisone or hemorrhoid cream
  • pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin

If these treatments aren’t helping, a doctor might recommend a medical procedure called a rubber band ligation. During this procedure, a doctor places a rubber band around the hemorrhoid to cut off its circulation, making it shrink and disappear.

Large hemorrhoids that don’t respond to other treatments may need to be removed with a surgical procedure called a hemorrhoidectomy.

Medications for IBS that aim to relieve constipation or diarrhea can also help you manage and prevent hemorrhoids.

These drugs include:

To prevent hemorrhoids, it’s important to take steps to manage your IBS so you’re not straining during a bowel movement or spending too long sitting on the toilet.

One important factor in managing IBS symptoms is to track and avoid triggers. Common triggers of IBS include:

  • stress and anxiety
  • foods that contain sorbitol, mannitol, or xylitol
  • beans
  • certain fruits and vegetables
  • dairy
  • spicy foods
  • alcohol

You can keep a food journal to help you learn which foods might trigger your IBS symptoms and then take steps to avoid these foods.

Other ways to prevent constipation and hemorrhoids include:

  • increasing your water intake
  • exercising regularly
  • avoiding sitting for long periods
  • consuming foods high in dietary fiber, such as whole wheat, oats, and bran

If you have IBS and hemorrhoids, speak with a doctor if you have severe pain or rectal bleeding, or if your symptoms don’t go away within a week.

Here are some common questions about IBS and hemorrhoids:

Can IBS cause hemorrhoids to bleed?

Yes, IBS can cause hemorrhoids to bleed. This is because straining during a bowel movement or sitting on the toilet for long periods of time can increase pressure in your rectum and aggravate a hemorrhoid. Frequent diarrhea can also cause a hemorrhoid to bleed.

What are the symptoms of an IBS flare-up?

Even after treating IBS, symptoms can reappear or suddenly worsen. This is called a flare-up or IBS attack. Symptoms of an IBS flare-up include worsened diarrhea, abdominal cramps, bloating, gas, and constipation.

What is the best diet for IBS and hemorrhoids?

A diet high in fiber, especially soluble fiber, can help soften stools and make them easier to pass. Fiber can be found in foods like whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. But, try to avoid any foods that trigger your IBS symptoms.

Hemorrhoids are a complication of IBS. They can usually be managed with home remedies and medications. But, if you have IBS, it’s important to take steps to manage your symptoms so you’re not having diarrhea too frequently, straining during a bowel movement, or spending too long sitting on the toilet.