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Are hemorrhoids caused by anal sex? Are they related at all?

— Anonymous, from Tumblr

Sarah: Hemorrhoids, which are just big inflamed butthole veins, are unlikely to be caused by anal sex, according to most of the science-internet, but they can definitely be irritated by anal sex. Generally, I’d say it’s good advice to not stick things in our inflamed orifices, whatever they may be on the day. However, during my research, I did come across an article titled “Anal Sex Cured My Hemorrhoids,” which I can only conclude is a mean internet prank. Just lay off the butt stuff until they heal.

Debby: There is incredibly little research on how anal sex, or how certain ways of anal sex (e.g., rough vs gentle; frequent vs rare), affects the human body so I cannot tell you for sure. This is striking given that around 40% of Americans have tried anal sex at some point in their lives, even though very few people have anal sex with any regularity. However, anal sex can certainly irritate hemorrhoids just like vaginal intercourse can irritate vaginal cuts and masturbating one’s penis can irritate things on the penis that are trying their darndest to heal. If your butt is sore for any reason, lay off potential irritants including anal sex and ways of eating/drinking that are likely to make you constipated or strain while going to the bathroom.

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