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Association of hemorrhoidal disease with diarrheal disorders: potential pathogenic relationship?

UNLABELLED: Despite frequent occurrence of hemorrhoidal disease, its etiology remains controversial. Recent evidence suggests that diarrhea may represent a pathogenic risk factor. The present study examined prevalence of diarrheal disorders in elderly patients with hemorrhoidal disease to provide further insight into its pathogenic mechanisms.

METHODS: Using 8.8 million Medicare patients hospitalized in the United States during 1987, the frequency distribution of all three-digit International Classification of Diseases codes was compared in patients with and without hemorrhoidal disease. A more frequent occurrence of a specific disorder in patients with hemorrhoidal disease compared with the general Medicare population suggests that this disorder may be pathophysiologically related or share common etiologic risk factors with hemorrhoidal disease.

RESULTS: Strong associations were observed between hemorrhoidal disease and a number of diarrheal disorders, including ulcerative colitis, noninfectious gastroenteritis, and functional diarrhea. Hemorrhoidal disease was likewise closely associated with benign and malignant anorectal neoplasms.

CONCLUSIONS: Results of this study must be interpreted with caution because epidemiologic studies cannot establish cause and effect relationships. Nevertheless, these data would seem to further support the pathogenic influence of diarrhea in development of hemorrhoidal disease.

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