Can lifting cause hemorrhoids

Self-help steps to get through hemorrhoid flare-ups

Updated: August 2, 2019Published: July, 2013

Hemorrhoids are common and can be extremely painful and uncomfortable during occasional flare-ups. These swollen blood vessels on the outer rectum and anus can bleed and turn bowel movements into intensely painful experiences. But simple hemorrhoid self-help measures can ease the ordeal of most hemorrhoids and allow healing. Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, suggests some effective steps you can take to care for hemorrhoids—and when it’s time to seek out a procedure to remove them.

Step up the fiber

Hemorrhoids come in two varieties. The internal type sprout from within the rectum. External hemorrhoids develop on the anus itself. Either way, passing stools by hemorrhoids may cause pain and bleeding.

The road to less painful bowel movements starts with the foods you consume. “The most important thing is to add fiber to your diet,” Dr. Wolf says. This is best done with food, but some men may need to take a fiber supplement to get 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day.

Fiber draws water into stools, making them softer and easier to pass. This is helpful if you have hemorrhoids that protrude (prolapse) through the anus during a bowel movement. Research shows that increased fiber reduces bleeding.

To start, try a psyllium husk fiber supplement, such as Metamucil or a generic equivalent. In some men, psyllium causes gas or bloating. In that case, try a supplement containing wheat dextrin or methyl-
cellulose. Check the label on the brand or generic products you buy to find out which fiber source they contain.

Here is another tip that helps during hemorrhoid flare-ups: mix a tablespoon of mineral oil with applesauce or yogurt and eat it at breakfast or lunch. “It allows the stool to slide by more easily, but don’t take it for a long period,” Dr. Wolf says. While taking mineral oil, consider placing a liner in your undergarments to absorb any oil leakage.

Internal vs external hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids develop when the channels that carry blood away from the anus and rectum become dilated (widened). They are classified according to their location. External hemorrhoids develop in the anus, internal hemorrhoids in the rectum. Many people have both.

Less strain, more gain

Prolonged sitting or straining, often associated with constipation or diarrhea, may lead to hemorrhoids. “By straining you are causing more hemorrhoids and creating more symptoms,” Dr. Wolf says.

Don’t delay bowel movements during hemorrhoid flare-ups. Go when you need to go, because putting off bowel movements can worsen constipation, which then aggravates the hemorrhoids.

Also, elevating your feet a bit with a step stool as you sit on the toilet changes the position of the rectum in a way that could allow for easier passage of stools.

Off-the-shelf hemorrhoid remedies

Many over-the-counter products are available for help with hemorrhoids, such as witch hazel infused pads and soothing creams. Also, ask your doctor about prescription preparations, which contain stronger anti-inflammatory drugs and numbing medications.

And don’t forget sitz baths. They’re done in a basin that fits under the toilet seat. Soak the inflamed area in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes, two to three times per day.

Some hemorrhoid sufferers use dietary supplements containing plant-based chemicals called flavonoids. As with any dietary supplement, approach with caution. The evidence for flavonoids is not conclusive; and in the United States, dietary supplements are not regulated tightly for safety or quality.

Your doctor can tell you about medical procedures to remove or reduce hemorrhoids. You might consider these options if, despite all the ordinary measures, your hemorrhoids continue to bleed, start to bleed or hurt more, or begin to interfere with bowel movements. In the meantime, self-care will get most men through hemorrhoid flare-ups.

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Nearly half of all adults have experienced hemorrhoid symptoms by the time they turn 50. A hemorrhoid is a swollen or enlarged vein in your anus or rectum. While not all hemorrhoids cause symptoms, it’s impossible to ignore it when you have a hemorrhoid that causes burning, itching, and bleeding. Treating a hemorrhoid isn’t difficult, and certain lifestyle changes can also help you prevent hemorrhoids before they develop. Here’s what you need to do when you have a hemorrhoid and when you need to see a doctor.

Hemorrhoid symptoms

Hemorrhoid symptoms can vary depending on the location of your hemorrhoid. Common symptoms of a hemorrhoid can include:

  • Swelling around your anus
  • Irritation or itching on or near your anus
  • Pain or discomfort on or near your anus
  • Fecal leakage
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Bleeding, which is typically painless, during bowel movements. This bleeding might show up on tissue or in the toilet.
  • A lump on or near your anus that’s sensitive or painful

You can develop a hemorrhoid internally (inside your rectum) or externally (around your anus) External hemorrhoids can form blood clots, which causes a thrombosed hemorrhoid — which can be especially painful, but normally goes away without treatment any time from within several days to two weeks.

What Causes Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are normal part of our anatomy but several risk factors may increase your chances of developing symptoms. These include:

  • Chronic constipation
  • Straining during a bowel movement
  • Physical inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle
  • Heavy lifting
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy

When to see a doctor

Although a hemorrhoid isn’t a necessarily a serious condition and most symptoms will resolve on their own without intervention, it’s important to see your doctor if your symptoms persist longer than a few days or recur frequently. Bleeding during a bowel movement is usually the most common symptom. However, some conditions or diseases that are more serious, such as colorectal or anal cancer, can mimic the symptoms of a hemorrhoid. Your doctor can help rule these conditions out through a physical exam and additional testing. Your doctor can also help to ease your hemorrhoid symptoms, including excessive bleeding, if they’re painful or don’t improve over time. Call your doctor right away if you’re having excessive rectal bleeding, dizziness, or lightheadedness.

Hemorrhoid treatment

When you have symptomatic hemorrhoids, you have a few different treatment options. Some of them can take place at home, while others need to be overseen by a doctor. These treatment options include:

  • Soaking in a warm tub of water daily can help relieve pain.
  • A warm water bottle may help external hemorrhoid pain.
  • Over-the-counter suppositories or ointments may help relieve pain and itching.
  • A cold compress can help to bring down swelling.
  • Use over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain relief.
  • Use fiber to add bulk to your stool, which makes bowel movements easier. Eating a diet rich in fiber can also ease symptoms of constipation and help prevent hemorrhoid symptoms.
  • Practice good anal hygiene, cleaning the area daily and wiping well with soft tissue.
  • Drink plenty of water, which can help treat a hemorrhoid and prevent one from forming.
  • Your doctor may recommend a rubber band ligation to cut off the circulation to a hemorrhoid, which shrinks it. Other medical treatments may include an injection therapy called sclerotherapy, in which a physician injects medications to shrink the hemorrhoids.

Don’t let hemorrhoids prevent you from exercise

Q: I have hemorrhoids. Can running or exercise make hemorrhoids worse or cause them not to heal? Also what do you suggest if they become painful?

A: Symptoms of hemorrhoids may sometimes be brought on by activity. Vigorous exercise, such as heavy weight lifting, or any activity that causes exertion, straining or bearing down can cause hemorrhoids to swell.

So, exercise may make symptoms worse temporarily, but the hemorrhoids will not permanently worsen. There is no reason to avoid exercise because of hemorrhoids, unless it causes symptoms that you find unacceptable.

Hemorrhoids are lumps of tissue in the anus. These lumps contain enlarged blood vessels. Hemorrhoids may be inside the anal canal (“internal hemorrhoids”), where they primarily cause sporadic bleeding, usually when having a bowel movement.

Hemorrhoids may also lie outside the anal canal (“external hemorrhoids”), where they primarily cause swelling and sometimes discomfort. These symptoms may occur sporadically. Many people have both internal and external hemorrhoids.

Sometimes blood vessels in external hemorrhoids may clot (undergo “thrombosis”). This causes the sudden appearance of a firm painful lump (1/2 to 1 inch) at the anal opening. The hemorrhoid thrombosis usually goes away with time.

Hemorrhoids are not dangerous, so treatment is almost always optional. Minor symptoms can be relieved with home treatment. The most important treatment is a eating plenty of fiber, taking fiber powder and staying well hydrated. This keeps the stools soft.

Also, soaking in warm water three times a day can help if there is swelling, inflammation or discomfort. Ointments, creams, and suppositories are less important.

Hemorrhoids don’t actually “heal.” They just have ups and downs in terms of the symptoms they cause. Nevertheless, if you see rectal bleeding, visit your doctor. This is to determine if the bleeding is only from hemorrhoids and not from something more serious.

If hemorrhoid symptoms are persistent and bothersome despite home treatment, you may consider surgery to remove them or office treatment with rubber band ligation. With rubber band ligation, a rubber band is slipped around the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off its circulation. Once it has been deprived of its vital blood supply, the banded hemorrhoid withers and falls off.

(Howard LeWine, M.D. is an internist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. For additional consumer health information, please visit www.health.harvard.edu.)

Hemorrhoids And The Athlete: How To Keep Training

It is a simple fact that heavy resistance training and even endurance training increases our susceptibility to getting hemorrhoids. If you lift weights, you are in danger of developing hemorrhoids and that risk develops as you age. The age discussion becomes important as today’s athletes and those with active lifestyles are choosing to maintain these activities for a far longer basis, thus increasing your risk. At age fifty about half of us will have hemorrhoids. In addition to age, history of pregnancy and obesity are also primary risk factors. For the purposes of this article, we will skip discussion in regards to obesity as we are talking about athletes.

The textbook definition of hemorrhoids is enlarged veins in the anus. Once enlarged these hemorrhoids may become irritated, or even prolapse and become external hemorrhoids. In addition to pain and irritation hemorrhoids may cause bleeding or display as a bloody stool.

Having hemorrhoids is not a sentence to reduced activity level by any means. You can still be competitive and perform at the highest level, even in sports that create significant abdominal and blood pressure. It is not uncommon for high-level strength athletes such as weightlifters, powerlifters, or strongmen to deal with these symptoms. If you incorporate the proper techniques you can minimize the symptoms or even make them completely disappear. These tips also are quite effective in preventing the onset to begin with.

If you follow these guidelines there is no reason you should not be able to pursue your activity without full force and vigor.

Exercise

  • When lifting push air out against the abdominal wall, NOT down toward your anus.
  • Stay hydrated during exercise.
  • Ensure clothing choices don’t irritate the area (this is of particular importance for endurance or high-repetition athletes).

Diet

  • Eat a diet high in fiber and increase fat intake (heart-healthy fats) to make a softer stool.
  • Stay hydrated in general to soften stool.
  • Avoid or thoroughly chew roughage, such as almonds or other nuts (this will severely aggravate existing conditions if irritated).
  • Reduce salt intake to reduce swelling.

Treatments

  • Don’t strain/push while going to the bathroom.
  • Don’t hold it when you need to go.
  • Take a warm bath or a sitz bath (Only needs to be 2-4” deep to rest your bum in).
  • Use moist toilettes to wipe.
  • Don’t use over the counter anti-inflammatory such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
  • See your doctor for any severe case or a persistent case that won’t diminish after two weeks.

These simple steps are highly effective in dealing with the symptoms of hemorrhoids, and many can be used as preventative measures as well. I can personally attest to the effectiveness of these methods as a strength athlete with hemorrhoids. By following these methods I am able to squat and deadlift over 700lbs on a weekly basis and rarely have any symptoms.

Hemorrhoids and Exercise

This article was published on February 19, 2014, and was last updated on May 1st, 2019 in Hemorrhoid Banding.

When it comes to exercise, the list of benefits is endless. Daily exercise can help maintain weight, boost energy, and even prevent conditions such as heart disease. And as with many other ailments and conditions, a regular exercise regime may also help manage symptoms, as obesity is thought to be a common cause of hemorrhoids. However, even though the benefits of exercise are undeniable, it’s important to remain cautious about the type of exercise you participate in. Certain overly-strenuous activities can actually worsen the condition.

Recommended Daily Exercises

Aerobic exercise is the best kind of activity for someone with hemorrhoids. This will get the blood flowing and help relax any strained muscles in the lower part of the body. And since you often drink more water when you sweat, exercise can help you avoid constipation – a major culprit for the formation and worsening of hemorrhoids. Here are some great exercises for people with hemorrhoids problems:

  • Walking at a brisk pace for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Lunges. A few sets of lunges a day increases blood flow and strengthen the muscles in the lower body and rectal area.
  • Glute exercises. A few sets of glute-strengthening exercises a day, like squats, can also help strengthen rectal muscles.

If you’re just beginning an exercise regime, it’s important to start slow. Jumping right into a rigorous exercise routine can actually make hemorrhoid problems worse.

Exercise to Avoid

Hemorrhoids are rectal veins that have become swollen and inflamed. They form when too much pressure is put on the rectal area. While straining during bowel movements and pregnancy are the most common hemorrhoid causes, too much strenuous activity can also cause hemorrhoids to form. In fact, after years and years of lifting heavy weights, professional weight lifters are notorious for having life-long hemorrhoid problems. For the rest of us, lifting weights is not necessarily off-limits, but there are still a few activities people with hemorrhoids should avoid.

  • Weight lifting. Occasionally lifting smaller weights is ok, but pushing yourself too hard can cause you to strain and make the problem worse
  • Cross-Fit. The rigorous nature of this form of exercise often leads to straining.
  • Cycling. If you have hemorrhoids, sitting on a bicycle is not only uncomfortable, but it can also aggravate the condition.
  • Certain exercise machines such as the rowing machine may cause added discomfort.

While avoiding certain activities and having a proper exercise routine can decrease symptoms, the best way to permanently cure hemorrhoids is to seek treatment, like the CRH O’Regan System.

For more information about hemorrhoids and exercise, contact a physician near you. In fact, it’s always recommended that you talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise routine. So, schedule an appointment today!

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Getting older has its benefits—and its drawbacks. Included in the latter are hemorrhoids. These swollen blood vessels on the outer rectum and anus can turn bowel movements into intensely painful experiences. Classic symptoms include rectal pain, itching, bleeding, and possibly prolapse (protrusion of hemorrhoids into the anal canal). Although hemorrhoids are rarely dangerous, they can be a painful recurrent bother.

Hemorrhoids come in two varieties. The internal type sprout from within the rectum. External hemorrhoids develop on the anus itself. Either way, stools passing by them can cause pain and bleeding.

But simple self-help measures can ease the ordeal of most hemorrhoids and allow healing. Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, offers effective steps you can take to care for hemorrhoids—and when it’s time to seek out a procedure to remove them.

What helps hemorrhoids

Here are six self-help tips to ease hemorrhoid pain and promote healing:

  1. Step up the fiber. “The most important thing is to add fiber to your diet,” Dr. Wolf says. This is best done with foods that help hemorrhoids, but some people find they need to take a fiber supplement to get 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day. To start, try a psyllium husk fiber supplement, such as Metamucil or a generic equivalent. If psyllium causes gas or bloating, try a supplement containing wheat dextrin or methylcellulose.
  2. Lubricate the process. Mixing a tablespoon of mineral oil with applesauce or yogurt and eating it at breakfast or lunch allows stool to slide by the hemorrhoid more easily. But don’t do this for a long period, cautions Dr. Wolf. (if you try this, you may want to place a liner in your undergarments to absorb any oil leakage.)
  3. Don’t delay. When you feel the urge, go to the bathroom immediately; don’t wait for a more convenient time. Putting off bowel movements can worsen constipation, which then aggravates hemorrhoids.
  4. Try elevation. Elevating your feet a bit with a step stool as you sit on the toilet changes the position of the rectum in a way that may allow for easier passage of stools.
  5. Off-the-shelf remedies. Over-the-counter products are available for hemorrhoids. These include witch hazel infused pads and soothing creams, like the iconic brand Preparation H and its generic equivalents. If these don’t work, ask your doctor about prescription preparations.
  6. Sit in a sitz. Don’t overlook the relief offered by sitz baths. Using a basin that fits under the toilet seat, soak the inflamed area in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes, two to three times a day.

Time for hemorrhoid removal?

If hemorrhoids persist no matter what steps you take to make them go away, or they begin to bleed, interfere with bowel movements, or make life difficult, ask your doctor about medical procedures to remove or reduce hemorrhoids. Two minimally invasive techniques—rubber-band ligation and laser, infrared, or bipolar coagulation—shrink internal hemorrhoids. Some people need surgery (hemorrhoidectomy) to take care of the problem.

Hemorrhoids develop when the channels that carry blood away from the anus and rectum become dilated (widened). They are classified according to their location. External hemorrhoids develop in the anus, internal hemorrhoids in the rectum. Many people have both.

Best Position to Sleep for Hemorrhoids

W.C. Fields said, “The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.” Now that is profound! When you have hemorrhoids, even simple things like sleeping become challenging. Even the soundest sleeper can have insomnia when there’s persistent posterior pain. When your hemorrhoids feel irritated or sore, it may be difficult for you to feel comfortable enough to fall asleep. Here are some tips to help you get a more peaceful night of rest when your hemorrhoids are keeping you up at night:

  • Take a sitz bath in a few inches of warm water to soothe the anal area. Sit for at least fifteen minutes. Do not use any soaps or bubble bath.
  • Apply ice for ten minutes to reduce swelling.
  • If approved by your doctor, take nonprescription pain relievers to help with discomfort and swelling.
  • You may want to try a relaxing activity such as reading in bed or watching TV to help you wind down and get sleepy. The more comfortable and drowsy you are, the easier it will be to fall asleep.
  • Do not sleep on your back. This puts weight and pressure on your anal and rectal area.
  • Try sleeping on your stomach with a pillow under your hips. This will help elevate your buttocks and may help keep you from rolling over.
  • If you are pregnant or if sleeping on your stomach is not comfortable, try side sleeping. Sleeping on your left side is preferable to your right side.

Sleeping should get easier as your hemorrhoid symptoms decrease. Making good choices daily will help control your hemorrhoids so you will be more comfortable at night. Follow these guidelines to control hemorrhoids:

  • Get daily exercise. Walk, swim, play tennis, do yard work or any activity that will raise the heart rate.
  • Women should consume at least 25 grams of fiber per day and men should consume at least 35 grams of fiber per day to keep stools soft.
  • Drink more than the recommended 64 ounces of water per day.
  • Do not strain to use the rest room. Go to the bathroom when you feel the urge and do not put it off.

Babies and Hemorrhoids

Simple Ways to Avoid Hemorrhoids

Celebrate Healthy Choices

When it comes to our bowels — and their movements — we may not give them much thought. Of course, when things are not going well, we notice.

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However, bowel movements don’t just tell us about the health of our digestive system. This may sound strange, but signs of everything from diseases to stress may show up in your bathroom habits. The key is knowing what to look for — and what the signs may mean.

Here, colorectal surgeon Sarah Vogler, MD, offers five tips for healthy bowels:

1. Don’t ignore rectal bleeding

The first thing most people worry about when they have minor rectal bleeding is that they have a cancer. Of course, colon cancer is also a concern. But, Dr. Vogler says, it’s the cause of rectal bleeding only 1 to 2% of the time.

Two problems are usually responsible for blood on the paper, on the stool or in the toilet: hemorrhoids and anal fissures. The good news is that both problems are usually easy to fix.

2. Be careful not to be overzealous when you wipe

A lot of people assume they have hemorrhoids. May their bottoms itch and they feel extra skin down there as they wipe. Must be hemorrhoids, right?

So they treat themselves with medicated wipes or cream. And yet the “hemorrhoids” don’t go away — they itch even more.

Often, the problem is, ironically, being too clean. “What happens is a circular process,” Dr. Vogler says. “Filled with good intentions, you try to keep yourself scrupulously clean by using flushable wipes. But the unexpected result is that this leads to itching and the feeling that you have hemorrhoids.”

3. Don’t treat the bathroom like a library

Think of your time in the bathroom as a necessity, not an extended escape. If your toilet has stacks of magazines or books on the water tank, Dr. Vogler says you should consider moving them to another room.

Why? “The more time you spend on the toilet, the more likely you will strain for bowel movements,” Dr. Vogler says. “Also, the seated position puts extra stress on your anal blood vessels. Both of these factors boost your risk of hemorrhoids.”

4. Watch your fiber intake

Everyone responds differently to fiber intake. In most people, daily fiber intake helps to keep stools soft and bowel habits regular. Raw fruits and vegetables are a great source of fiber.

However, Dr. Vogler says, some people actually notice worsening of their bowel symptoms when eating foods that are high in fiber. “If you are someone that notices abdominal bloating, gas pain or more difficulty in passing stools when eating fiber, then you should consider only eating small portion of fiber,” she says. Over-the-counter stools softeners can be taken daily to help regulate bowel habits if fiber doesn’t work well.

Each person’s needs are different, too, so you have to find what works best for your body.

5. Avoid dehydration if you have diarrhea

The biggest danger with a short bout of diarrhea is dehydration, or the loss of water and nutrients from the body’s tissues. You could become dehydrated if you have diarrhea more than three times a day and are not drinking enough fluids, Dr. Vogler says. Dehydration can cause serious complications if it is not treated.

The best way to guard against dehydration is to drink liquids that contain both salt and sugar.

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