Hemorrhoids, also known as “piles”, are swollen veins located around the anus or in the lower rectum — the terminal part of the large intestine that leads to the anus.
When hemorrhoids can be seen or felt around the anus, they are called external hemorrhoids. And when they are located in the lower rectum, where they cannot be seen from the outside, they are called internal hemorrhoids.
Common symptoms of hemorrhoids include:
- Swelling around the anus, which bulges or hurts when you poop.
- Blood-stained or dark-colored poop
- Itching around the anus
- Pain — which could be mild or severe
- Felling that you have not completely emptied your bowel
Can Hemorrhoids Cause Gas or Bloating?
No, there is no convincing evidence that hemorrhoids can cause gas or bloating. Bloating, which occurs when your gastrointestinal tract is filled with gas or air, is usually caused by the breakdown of undigested food or when you swallow air.
While air is inevitably swallowed each time you eat or drink, larger quantities are swallowed when you eat or drink too fast, smoke, or chew gum. This excess air is released from your body through burping and flatulence.
Other causes of bloating include:
- Slow emptying of the stomach (such as when you take fatty foods)
- Peptic ulcer disease
- Food intolerance
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa
- Mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and stress
- Certain medications
All these conditions cause gas accumulation, constipation, food malabsorption, impaired gas transit, overgrowth of bacteria within the gastrointestinal tract, altered gut motility, and other factors that contribute to gas and bloating.
As for hemorrhoids being the cause of bloating, as there is almost zero possibility of that. Although internal hemorrhoids can enlarge to take up space within the rectum, they are never strong enough to resist the pressure from feces coming to the exterior. This rules out the possibility of bloating following bowel obstruction by enlarged internal hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids can cause a number of complications, which include thrombosis, anemia, and others. But bloating is not included as a complication in any of the several sources that we checked.
So, if you have hemorrhoids, and you also have bloating, you should consider other possibilities. In fact, in such a case, you should consult your doctor to help you figure out the likely cause of the bloating or treat it right away.
How to Relieve Bloating On Your Own
Here are some things you can do whenever you feel bloated to get some relief:
Physical activity: Exercise is one of the easiest ways to release gas trapped in your stomach. You can try walking, running, skipping, etc.
Activated charcoal: This is an OTC (over-the-counter) medication that helps to eliminate the gas trapped in your colon.
Apple cider vinegar: Dilute a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in tea or just water and drink as at intervals to reduce bloating.
Simethicone: This is another OTC medication that works by consolidating gas bubbles in your stomach, making it easier to expel them. However, be sure to consult your doctor before using this medication.
Tips to prevent bloating
- Stop chewing gum
- Avoid foods with high-fat content
- Avoid soda and carbonated drinks
- Avoid smoking
- Stop taking foods known to generate lots of gas during digestion
- Sit down during each meal and eat slowly
- Avoid drinking through straws
- Reduce your intake of lactose-containing foods, such as milk, cheese, and other dairy products.
Bloating can be quite disturbing. And when you have hemorrhoids, you might want to think that there is a link between the two. However, after going through several resources on the causes of bloating and the complications of hemorrhoids, we found no convincing evidence linking the two together, which means if you’re having both, you should look elsewhere for the cause of your bloating.
If you don’t notice any difference after trying the bloating relief tips listed above, or if the bloating occurs too frequently, consult your doctor. They can run tests to figure out the cause and tell you what to do next.