Weightlifting and Hemorrhoids Guide - Can you Get Hemorrhoids From Lifting?
Posted on 30 June 2018 by Maryanne Johnson
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Did you get hemorrhoids from weightlifting? Weightlifting has a strong correlation to hemorrhoids, and especially for young people lifting weights they may be unaware that they are at risk for this common condition.
Hemorrhoids tend to crop up in older populations, in both men and women nearing their late forties and older. While hemorrhoids and their uncomfortable symptoms can occur in younger people, many rarely experience hemorrhoids, and their only exposure is hearing their parents or grandparents complain about this embarrassing condition.
Despite your age, there is a higher chance of getting hemorrhoids if you weightlift often. This risk increases even more so if you are older. As we will explain further, the pressure placed on the lower rectal muscles during weightlifting can aggravate veins, causing inflammation.
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You can get hemorrhoids from weightlifting because of this strain. Hemorrhoids may not appear right away or during your lifting routine, but can form hours or days later depending on your weightlifting frequency.
You might notice painful bumps that form on the exterior of the anal opening. These bumps are tender to the touch, slightly rubber and hard, and may throb, produce a burning sensation, and cause itchiness. These are external hemorrhoids, and weightlifting and lifting heavy objects can cause them to form.
Maybe you find yourself with a prolapsed internal hemorrhoid in the midst of your reps during your weightlifting routine. The gravity and force of lifting heavy objects can cause an internal hemorrhoid to protrude through the rectum. While this can be scary at first, mild prolapsed can be pushed back through the rectum with a gentle push with your fingers.
By understanding the other variables that contribute to external and internal hemorrhoids, you can continue to lift weights but also strive to lower your risk in the inflammation of these sensitive blood vessels and rectal veins.
Any experienced weightlifter will tell you that there is a proper technique that must be practiced to prevent unnecessary muscle strain and serious injuries. The same is true for hemorrhoid prevention.
Holding your breath while lifting can contribute to hemorrhoids becoming inflamed and even prolapsed. Air fills your lungs and with the pressure of the weights aided by gravity, places force on your internal organs, including rectal veins, tissues, and blood vessels.
What Really Causes Hemorrhoids?Researchers and scientists are still debating the answer to this question, but the exact cause of hemorrhoids is most likely a culmination of different factors. Some factors are uncontrollable, like genetics and age. Other variables are within our control, like our weight and diet.
For weightlifters, it is essential to know how you align with the potential factors that cause hemorrhoids. Some people are more prone to this inflammatory venous disease than others, and by taking specific preventative measures; you can lower your risk.
Potential causes of hemorrhoids can include:
- Your age, especially older adults approaching their late forties and onward
- Ongoing gastrointestinal conditions and disorders, such as diverticulitis, Chron's disease, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Heredity family history, you are more likely to have hemorrhoids if your parents suffer from them, too
- Lifting heavy objects, as this puts force and pressure on hemorrhoidal veins and blood vessels, and this is the main reason why weightlifters are prone to hemorrhoids
- Diet, a lack of fiber leads to straining, resulting in hemorrhoidal inflammation
- Hydration, if you are poorly hydrated, your stools reflect this, becoming abrasive against hemorrhoidal blood vessels and veins, and difficult to pass
- Exercise, little to no activity increases the likelihood of hemorrhoids
- Weight, overweight and obese people have a higher risk of hemorrhoids
As we age, our muscles, tissues, and veins weaken and do not have the same support that they did in our prime youth. Research suggests that because of this, hemorrhoids become a more prevalent issue in our golden years.
For weightlifters, the causes of poor exercise, diet, and body weight are not typically a factor for these health-conscious gym-goers. Weightlifters should strive to include plenty of fiber in their diets, preferably in the form of whole foods like vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and beans.
By talking to your doctor, you can add in a dietary fiber supplement that promotes healthy bowel movements, preventing straining and constipation, and subsequently, hemorrhoids.
It should be noted if you are a weightlifter who already suffers from hemorrhoids, exercising and proceeding with your lifting routine can worsen the symptoms and inflammation.
Hemorrhoids are by no means fatal and merely remain a nuisance for those trying to weightlift regularly. Hemorrhoids and their symptoms can make weightlifting more difficult and has the potential to inhibit your workout schedule.
How to Lift Weights When You Have Hemorrhoids
Don't let hemorrhoids get in the way of your weightlifting routine, but also don't make yourself uncomfortable during your exercises. If you are currently suffering from hemorrhoids that have arisen from strenuous weightlifting, first and foremost, speak with a hemorrhoid doctor about treatments.
Your doctor will advise you to avoid lifting heavy objects and weightlifting in general as a part of your treatment. Lifting heavy objects puts unneeded pressure and stress on your lower rectal muscles.
While this can be disheartening for any weightlifter with hemorrhoids to hear, trust that your doctor knows that this is the best way to get rid of hemorrhoids quickly. Hemorrhoids are inflamed veins, and weightlifting can make them worse.
If your hemorrhoids are reoccurring, you can still weightlift, be mindful of your technique and enact dietary methods of prevention that can reduce the chance of having swollen hemorrhoids.
Exercising can be contradictory when hemorrhoids are concerned. Exercise promotes our overall health, but there are specific strenuous exercises that can have adverse effects on hemorrhoids, weightlifting included.
This doesn't mean you have to quit lifting. Instead of lifting during a flare-up, opt for other forms of exercise instead until your symptoms subside.
Try any of these activities during a flare-up of internal or external hemorrhoids:
- Brisk walk
- Kegel exercises
- Pelvic muscle exercises
Talk to a trainer or trusted fellow weightlifter for advice on how to lift weights the correct way. Just like any other type of exercise, sport, or training, your technique and form matter. Proper techniques must be practiced and learned to not only prevent injuries but also to lower the risk of hemorrhoids.
Your breathing while weightlifting should be controlled and unstrained.
The correct breathing technique while weightlifting will immensely reduce the pressure placed on lower pelvic and rectal muscles. This will prevent inflammation of rectal veins that cause internal and external hemorrhoids to form.
Hemorrhoids & Methods of Prevention
As a weightlifter, you know the importance of exercise, and this is essential to keeping hemorrhoid flare-ups at bay. You should also keep in mind that weightlifting does increase your chance of getting hemorrhoids, and because of this, should be avoided if you have external or internal hemorrhoids to prevent worsening them.
Here are treatment methods for hemorrhoids that reduce the chance of getting future flare-ups.
- Dietary fiber supplements to bulk stools while softening them
- Hemorrhoid pills or supplements to target symptoms
- Fiber gummies to relieve constipation and symptoms
- A stool softener to prevent constipation and straining
- Increased liquid intake
- Avoidance of weightlifting until hemorrhoids subside and heal
- Hemorrhoid creams, ointments, and salves to relieve itching, burning, and discomfort
- A warm bath or a sitz bath to help reduce swelling
- Hemorrhoid suppositories to provide relief and reduce symptoms
If you have hemorrhoids and you believe that they are caused by weightlifting or otherwise, consult your doctor. Even if the hemorrhoids and symptoms subside in a matter of days with or without treatment, your doctor will decide if additional examinations are necessary.
Hemorrhoids, when caught in their early stages, can be healed and treated swiftly, and symptoms cease within a few days. The crucial part to remember about hemorrhoids is that like many other health conditions, you don't want to purposefully or unintentionally make them worse, or they can become a growing problem.
This means that as a weightlifter, you should listen to your body and give it time to heal hemorrhoids by not engaging in heavy lifting. Your doctor will agree that weightlifting with hemorrhoids will only aggravate symptoms.
However, by striving for a more fibrous diet, drinking plenty of water, and taking care of the controllable factors behind hemorrhoids, you can resume your regular weightlifting and gym activities.