Causes of Piles

Piles, more commonly known as hemorrhoids, can cause pain and bleeding from the rectum. These swollen veins can occur inside or outside the anus, and most people experience at least one incidence of piles at some point in their lives, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Anything that causes pressure in the veins of the rectum and anus can lead to the development of piles.


Medline Plus states that the most common cause of piles is straining during bowel movements. The pressure of such straining causes blood vessels inside the rectum and just outside the anus to swell. Repeated bouts of constipation or diarrhea can make the situation worse. Individuals who experience recurrent hemorrhoids should avoid laxatives and make an attempt to use the bathroom as soon as they feel the urge to complete a bowel movement. While some people try to avoid using the bathroom frequently, holding in a bowel movement often results in the body retaining more liquid from the stool while simultaneously adding solid mass to it inside the body. The end result is that when the person does have a bowel movement, the stool is harder and larger than it would be otherwise, adding to the likelihood of developing piles or making already existing hemorrhoids worse.


Pregnant women frequently experience piles, especially in the later months of pregnancy. According to Baby Center, the growing fetus and uterus put pressure on the lower digestive tract as well as on blood vessels in the lower half of the body, including the inferior vena cava, the vein that brings blood back from the legs to the heart. Pressure in this area can increase the likelihood of hemorrhoids by slowing blood flow and leading to dilation and swelling of the blood vessels in the area, including those in the rectum and anus. The activity of the pregnancy hormone progesterone can indirectly cause piles by making blood vessels more stretchy and by slowing digestion, which may lead to constipation.

Daily Activity

Some daily activities can put pressure on the rectum and lead to piles. Sitting for long periods of time, especially on the toilet, contributes to some cases of hemorrhoids, the Mayo Clinic warns. People who work standing on their feet all day may also notice an increase in the incidence of hemorrhoids. Activities that lead to straining, such as heavy lifting, also may cause piles.

About this Author

Bridget Coila has been writing professionally since 1998 and specializes in health, nutrition, pregnancy and parenting topics. Some of her articles have appeared in “Oxygen,” “American Fitness” and on various websites. Coila has a Bachelor of Science in cell and molecular biology from the University of Cincinnati and over 10 years of medical research experience.