Hemorrhoids and Hormones: Dr. Karen Pike Sheds Light on Menopausal Changes

Hemorrhoids and Hormones
Hemorrhoids and Hormones

Those who have experienced hemorrhoids are well aware of how painful it could be, especially at times when you are straining hard to pass stool. Did you know? More than half the people aged 50 and above suffer from this condition. To be specific, 1 out of 20 Americans have hemorrhoids. And, if talking about women specifically, many of them get hemorrhoids during pregnancy and while giving birth.

Now, the main question is, what impact do your hormones (reproductive) have on hemorrhoids? Are women at the risk of hemorrhoids in menopause? Or does it get better when they have experienced menopause?

Dr. Karen Pike gives us a detailed insight into hemorrhoids and their connection with menopause. Before we acquaint you with our informative interview with Dr. Pike, we would like to introduce her to our readers.

Dr. Pike has been associated with the medical field for a long. She has been a medical director in the emergency department of El Camino Health’s Los Gatos Hospital. Her determination and hard work built a team spirit among the hospital staff and doctors.

Her curiosity about menopause since the beginning of 2000 compelled her to research this topic actively. She has presented her views on several aspects of menopause through Simply Menopause that she developed. Dr. Pike aims to reach out to the maximum number of women and increase their awareness about menopause, which she felt was lacking in most of them.

So, let’s get started with Dr. Pike’s information about hemorrhoids in menopause.

Q. Can menopause cause hemorrhoids?

Menopause isn’t directly responsible for hemorrhoids. However, the hormonal imbalances could trigger hemorrhoids or even aggravate them in those already with the condition. Let’s see how.

When women are transitioning into menopause, the fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone could result in an alteration in their bowel movements. It could result in constipation, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal disturbances. When you have diarrhea or constipation, it will cause you to sit or strain during a bowel movement.

In such cases, it will exert additional pressure on the hemorrhoidal tissues, triggering episodes of hemorrhoids. So, menopause may not directly lead to hemorrhoids.

However, if the hormonal imbalances lead to diarrhea or constipation, it could manifest into hemorrhoids. For those with hemorrhoids, it could make things worse.

Q. What are the different types of hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids may occur internally or externally – this is what distinguishes one from the other. Let’s look at the different types of hemorrhoids and the symptoms based on their location.

Internal hemorrhoids

As the name suggests, internal hemorrhoids occur inside the rectum. These hemorrhoids are painless but may bleed, which is its identifying symptom. In the case of less severe hemorrhoids, there may be bumps in the anus. If the internal hemorrhoids become severe, it results in protrusion, where it pushes out of the rectum and bulges from the anus.

External hemorrhoids

Again, from the name, you can understand that external hemorrhoids occur externally. They are hard lumps below the skin surrounding the anus. During an examination, your doctor can see the hemorrhoids from outside. The common symptoms of external hemorrhoids include anal itching and irritation. You may even experience pain, bleeding, and swelling in the anal area.

Prolapsed hemorrhoids

Prolapsed hemorrhoids are internal hemorrhoids in their severe form. The veins push outward through the anus hanging outwards. The condition will mostly aggravate after passing the bowels. However, if the prolapsed hemorrhoids have reached their extreme form, the veins will hang out of the anus always, even when you are not passing bowels. Some symptoms of prolapsed hemorrhoids include inflammation, pain, inflammation, and swelling.

Q. Do hemorrhoids go away after menopause?

Once formed, it is difficult for the hemorrhoids to go away, especially if it is bulging out. In mild cases, they will clear up without treatment. However, the ones that bulge out will take time to heal.

With proper treatment and management, your hemorrhoids could eventually get better. If your diarrhea, constipation, and other digestive issues are an outcome of hormonal imbalances as you are transitioning into menopause, then the symptoms will lessen eventually. A lot also depends on the lifestyle changes you make. You will be less susceptible to hemorrhoids when you do not strain while passing stools. This will happen when your bowel movements are normalized.

Q. What are the ways to manage hemorrhoids in menopause?

One of the factors that is of immense importance while treating or preventing the onset of menopause is to eliminate constipation. Below are some ways you may manage hemorrhoids and even prevent them.

  • When treating constipation, a high-fiber diet is necessary. When you eat foods high in fiber, the size and weight of your stool increase, and it eventually softens. At the same time, for those with watery and loose stools, a high-fiber diet helps solidify the stool.
  • Some high-fiber foods include legumes, whole grains, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, turnips, radish, etc.), and fruits (pears, avocados, apples, strawberries, melons, bananas, and raspberries).
  • In menopause, keeping yourself hydrated is essential for many reasons. During an episode of a hot flash, your body loses a lot of moisture. Drinking adequate amounts of water will help compensate for the loss. Similarly, consuming sufficient water helps soften the stool, making it pass quickly. Experts recommend a daily fluid intake of approximately 12 cups for females. When transitioning into menopause, you must do your utmost to maintain this parameter.
  • You should avoid straining while passing stool. This puts pressure on the veins of your lower rectum, putting you at risk of hemorrhoids in the future. If you are already affected by hemorrhoids, exerting force during a bowel movement will worsen your condition further.
  • If you are suffering from hemorrhoids, you can get relief by soaking your anal area in warm water for around 10-15 minutes. You may do this twice or thrice a day. It will help in improving your condition.
  • Applying topical creams and having pain relievers will help relieve the pain and discomfort.

Q. When should you contact the doctor regarding hemorrhoids?

If there’s consistent bleeding during bowel movements, or if your hemorrhoids don’t get better with home management techniques, you should consult a doctor at the earliest. Constant rectal bleeding could sometimes signify any other underlying conditions as well. So early intervention will help to get to the root of the problem soon. Medical help is also needed if there’s a change in the consistency or color of your stool quite often.

Q. How are hemorrhoids treated?

The treatment depends on the severity of the condition. For mild hemorrhoids, the pain and inflammation are often treated with pain-relieving medications taken orally or over-the-counter creams. However, if the hemorrhoids are painful or if the bleeding persists, your doctor may decide on minimally invasive procedures.

Rubber band ligation is one such procedure where tiny rubber bands are tied around the hemorrhoid’s base to control blood flow. In sclerotherapy, the doctor tries to shrink the hemorrhoid by injecting it with a chemical solution.  Surgical procedures might be needed in extreme cases, but that’s rare (barely in 10% of the people).


We hope the information shared by Dr. Pike will be of help. In a nutshell, if you do not take care of your bowel movements in menopause, it will aggravate and lead to hemorrhoids, especially if you have to strain a lot. Moreover, if you already have hemorrhoids, there are chances of your condition intensifying with menopause if proper care isn’t taken. So eating healthy, exercising well, and drinking adequate water are prerequisites.

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