Epidemiology and risk factors of hemorrhoidal disease are not well defined.
Aims and methods: Past history and events occurring during the last two weeks before a medical visit for acute hemorrhoidal symptoms were analyzed and compared with controls consulting for any other diagnosis without exclusion.
Results: Among complete inquiries returned by 931 private gastroenterologists, files from 1033 patients (542 males) and 1028 controls (504 males) were randomly selected. Hemorrhoidal disease patients were younger (47 +/- 14.5 vs. 52 +/- 16.5 yrs; P<0.0001); sex ratio was not different from controls. Factors significantly associated with hemorrhoidal crisis were: past history of hemorrhoidal symptoms, age<50 yrs, past history of anal fissure, occupational activity (OR 5.17; 1.95; 1.72; 1.43; P<0.1) and recent unusual events: spicy diet, constipation, physical activity, alcohol intake (OR 4.95; 3.93; 2.79; 1.99; P<0.1). Stress protected against hemorrhoids (OR 0,49; P<0.0001). For women aged less than 40 yrs, no significant risk factor related with genital activity was found for hemorrhoidal disease.
Conclusion: For young patients, especially those with a past hemorrhoidal history, spice or alcohol intake and constipation are risk factors for hemorrhoidal crisis. For young women, prevention is essentially based on treatment of constipation associated with genito-obstetrical events.