Can hemorrhoids cause urinary problems?
It’s possible that hemorrhoids may result in urinary problems, such as urinary incontinence (trouble keeping in urine) as there is a close relationship between the muscles and nerves that control bladder function and those that control bowel movements.
Also, having a procedure called a hemorrhoidectomy to remove hemorrhoids may result in urinary retention (trouble emptying your bladder), likely due to increased fluids given during the procedure and pain experienced post-surgery.
When your bladder and bowel function normally, nerves tell certain muscles when to tense up and when to relax. Nerves in the spinal cord send messages from the brain to the bladder. Sphincter muscles in the pelvic floor help control the flow of urine. Muscles in the rectum and anus control or release stool. These nerve and muscle processes allow urine and feces to be removed when you want them to. Many conditions may affect the nerves and muscles that control the bladder and bowel, including hemorrhoids.
One cause of hemorrhoids is constipation and large amounts of stool in the colon. When large amounts of stool in the colon happen chronically because of or with constipation, it can also put pressure on the bladder, which can cause the bladder to not fill as much as it should, or cause the bladder to contract when the bladder is not supposed to contract. It can also cause the bladder to not empty well.
Both hemorrhoids and urinary incontinence occur more frequently in women than in men, though research on the link between the two conditions is lacking. A 2020 study in the Journal of Women’s Health of more than 8,000 women in Korea found urinary incontinence to be significantly associated with the prevalence of hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins around your anus or in your lower rectum. They are quite common, affecting about 5 percent of Americans and half of Americans older than 50.
Hemorrhoid causes include:
- Straining during bowel movements
- Chronic constipation or diarrhea
- A low-fiber diet
- Lifting heavy objects
Hemorrhoids may be inside or outside your body. Internal hemorrhoids occur just inside the anus. When they are large, they may prolapse, or fall outside. External hemorrhoids occur outside the anus. If a blood clot forms in an external hemorrhoid—a thrombosed external hemorrhoid—it can be very painful.
Treatment for hemorrhoids include:
- Over-the-counter corticosteroid (for example, cortisone) creams to help reduce pain and swelling
- Hemorrhoid creams with lidocaine to help reduce pain
- Stool softeners to help reduce straining and constipation
If none of the usual treatments are successful, surgery is sometimes needed to remove hemorrhoids, called hemorrhoidectomy.
- Malykhina AP, Wyndaele JJ, Andersson KE, De Wachter S, Dmochowski RR. Do the urinary bladder and large bowel interact, in sickness or in health? ICI-RS 2011. Neurourol Urodyn. 2012;31(3):352-358. doi:10.1002/nau.21228. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3309116/
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Definition & Facts of Hemorrhoids. October 2016. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/hemorrhoids/definition-facts. [Accessed June 1, 2021].
- U.S. National Library of Medicine MedlinePlus. Hemorrhoids. May 25, 2021. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000292.htm. [Accessed June 1, 2021].
- Lee K, Lee JI, Park YY, et al. Hemorrhoids Are Associated With Urinary Incontinence. Journal of Women’s Health. 2020 Nov 12;29(11). https://doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2019.8168
- Kunitake H, Poylin V. Complications Following Anorectal Surgery. Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery. 2016 Mar; 29(1):14-21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4755765/
Related support groups
- Hemorrhoids (22 questions, 85 members)