Google search engine statistics showed that the number of Americans searching for information regarding hemorrhoids and their treatment has increased over the years. This research data can mean two thing; one, more Americans now have access to the internet, and second, hemorrhoids in America have been increasing.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) in the US shows that the latter might be a more probable explanation for an increase in search queries involving hemorrhoids. The study claimed that nearly half of the Americans aged above 50 suffer from anal hemorrhoids.
What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your rectum that may form a bump inside or outside the anus. These bumps can be painful and may bleed when hard stools put undue pressure on the swollen veins.
Constipation and excessive pressure on the anus lead to hemorrhoids forming in or around the anal canal. Hemorrhoids sometimes go away on their own. In extreme cases, medical intervention becomes necessary.
Why are hemorrhoids increasing in the US?
Unhealthy eating practices and lifestyle choices cause hemorrhoids to develop. Different studies show that such eating and living practices have become increasingly common in the USA.
1. High Consumption of Dairy Items
With so many different cheeses, ice-creams, and dairy products available in the market, it is almost hard to avoid dairy in America. A study showed that in 2020, an average American nearly consumed 40.2 pounds of cheese in a year.
Consuming dairy items doesn’t directly cause hemorrhoids. Rather, their low fiber values could worsen a person’s constipation. When people consume a high amount of dairy, the chances of them becoming chronically constipated increase.
Chronic constipation could lead to a person forcing out hard stools from their anus, which may result in an anal tear or piles.
2. High Consumption of Processed Foods
With hundreds of brands selling cheap processed foods, working Americans often rely on them for quick meals. Grabbing a burger at a fast food chain is often much easier than coming home from work to cook a meal. Sometimes, it is the cheaper option too. These include burgers, pizzas, donuts, instant noodles, carbonated drinks, ice-creams, etc.
These processed foods are consumed in place of a proper, well-balanced meal. They contain little to no amounts of essential fiber, and can cause or trigger constipation. This eventually can lead to hemorrhoids.
Carbonated drinks can dehydrate a person’s stool. The stiff, dry stool can cause anal hemorrhoids and tears.
In the US, nearly 42.4% of adults are obese. This alarming level of obesity is a result of multiple factors. Easy access to fast and processed food is one of the leading reasons of growing obesity in the United States.
Furthermore, sedentary lifestyles, especially due to desk jobs, prevent people from getting necessary physical activity to burn off calories and body fat.
As a result of these and many other factors, the obesity level in the US is high. The excess body weight exerts unhealthy pressure on the cells and tissue surrounding the rectum and anus. As a result, hemorrhoids can develop.
Being obese also results in a person being unable to examine their bottom properly. Hence many people remain unaware of their hemorrhoids until they worsen and require medical attention.
Obesity can cause a person to sweat more. Moisture can irritate and infect a hemorrhoid.
4. Expensive Healthy Options
Eating healthy is very expensive in the USA. Studies show that cultivating fruits and vegetables is far more costly than growing crops that make processed foods. Furthermore, fruits and vegetables imported from other countries can be too expensive for the common American.
With inflation and low incomes being a big problem in the US, only a few Americans can afford to eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are one of the main sources of essential nutrients and dietary fiber. Without consuming these fruits and vegetables, people rely more on processed foods. These foods trigger constipation and also lead to obesity. As a result, more people suffer from hemorrhoids.
5. Anal Intercourse
Research showed that 20-30% of Americans participate in anal intercourse. The easy accessibility to adult content sites has also contributed to increased anal intercourse.
This sexual activity can rupture the walls of the anal cavity and can also damage the anus if performed without proper preparation and lube. Frequent practice of this sexual activity without care can permanently disfigure the anus and lead to anal tears. As a result, hemorrhoids form.
6. Excessive Weight Lifting
Although lack of physical activity is seen to cause hemorrhoids to develop, excessive weight lifting at the gym is also a problem.
Carrying heavyweights on the body puts pressure on the rectum and anus. When such weight is added frequently, chances of you developing hemorrhoids also increase.
7. Phone Addiction
With addictive video games and mobile applications, more Americans are addicted to their smartphones. A survey claimed that an average American spends 8-14 hours in front of a screen every day.
Phone addiction means that people sit for hours without much physical movement. This leads to obesity, which already causes hemorrhoids and puts a lot of pressure on the rectum and anus. This pressure leads to hemorrhoid forming.
Prolonged use of phones has also resulted in people sitting on their toilet seats for long periods. Doing so is also found to be a cause of hemorrhoids.
With more Americans choosing to eat fast food and consuming unnatural processed foods instead of fresh vegetables, grains, and fruits, hemorrhoids in America are bound to increase. The staggering level of obesity and lack of physical activities also trigger the development of piles and anal fissures. To learn more information regarding hemorrhoids, click here.