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Hi friends, it’s Kathleen again and it’s time to talk about an embarrassing but painful problem, hemorrhoids.
Whether you have internal hemorrhoids or external hemorrhoids, if you have ever had them, you know that these are NOT fun.
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I remember having my first hemorrhoid. Not to share too much info, but I remember that it hurt so badly I was sure I had a cancerous tumor on my butt! I think the doctor LOL at my drama, but it was my first and I didn’t know what it was, let alone what caused it.
Exerting excess pressure in the anal area, such as straining to have bowel movements, can cause hemorrhoids. On the other hand, riding a bicycle will not cause hemorrhoids but can worsen an existing one and make it more painful.
This leads me to today’s article. I want to talk about your exercise bike and your hemorrhoids. This may not be the most exciting subject, but for anyone who wants to know WTH is causing this problem, you are going to find this info invaluable.
Keep reading, friends. We’ve got some interesting ground to cover.
Can Cycling Give You Hemorrhoids?
Riding any type of bicycle when you have hemorrhoids is a giant pain in the… you know where.
However, the fact is that your exercise bike isn’t the cause of this embarrassing problem. While some people have linked hemorrhoids to recumbent bikes, there is no evidence that these bikes or any other type of bike cause hemorrhoids.
The reality is that if you have existing hemorrhoids, cycling can make it worse.
If you love your bike, you may be able to avoid irritating your behind by using a bike seat that will enhance uniform weight distribution so your bottom doesn’t lie on those skinny little bike seats most stationary bikes come with. Most bike shops will be able to help you with a new seat.
If you are thinking about buying a new, more modern exercise bike, you might find this interesting.
Believe it or not, it’s estimated that about 75 percent of the world’s population will experience hemorrhoids at one time or another in their lifetime.
Internal Hemorrhoids vs External Hemorrhoids
Internal hemorrhoids occur inside the rectum and are rarely painful or noticeable unless they become severe and cause bleeding. The external type, on the other hand, can hurt enough to make a grown man cry.
The main causes of external hemorrhoids are constipation, straining to have a bowel movement, excessive sitting, pregnancy, being overweight, a lack of exercise, a sedentary lifestyle, as well as a poor, low-fiber diet.
Can bike seats cause hemorrhoids?
Notice that your stationary bike is not one of the items listed above. This is because while that bike seat may aggravate your existing hemorrhoids, they won’t cause new ones.
Whenever you sit on a bike seat, you are putting extra pressure on the anal area and reducing blood circulation. While this doesn’t sound like a problem, for some people, that is all it takes to turn a mild hemorrhoid into a major problem.
So what can you do? Let’s talk about options.
How Long Does It Take for Hemorrhoids to Go Away?
While you might be hoping that your hemorrhoid will disappear overnight, that’s usually not the case. I speak from experience when I tell you that a hemorrhoid, if you do nothing, will go away in about 7-10 days.
The problem, friends, is that you usually are doing things that will make this problem go on for longer than that.
What will improve blood flow and help hemorrhoids go away?
The best way to help a hemorrhoid heal faster is to try some of those over-the-counter products that are formulated to reduce itching and blood vessel inflammation, and shrink that sucker. You’ve probably seen a few of these products before but didn’t think much about them. Tucks and Preparation H are two well-known names.
I know that a sitz bath is old fashioned, but they really help! You can also soak your butt in some warm water in the tub to help reduce inflammation and swelling. Warm water will increase blood flow to the area.
You can help the whole process by remembering to eat a high-fiber diet, not straining when you sit on the John, and take some of those stool softeners that will make going poop easier and stop irritating those hemorrhoids.
One last thing to note, you can help your body by keeping your behind clean. Tucks are special pads you use to wipe with and they contain medication to help shrink these inflamed and/or ruptured blood vessels.
How do you know for sure if it’s a hemorrhoid?
This might seem strange to anyone with a family history of hemorrhoids or anyone who has had hemorrhoids before, but for some people, like myself, you might have a pain in your anal area and not know what the heck is the problem.
You can experience pain from cysts, pimples, or even ingrown hairs, not every pain in the butt is a hemorrhoid. If you are feeling pain right at the top of your crack, that is NOT a hemorrhoid and is probably a cyst that will need a doctor’s attention.
Otherwise, pain when you poop, swelling, itching, or a burning sensation right on the affected area (your butthole, to be blunt) is most likely a hemorrhoid. You can straddle a mirror to help you look at the area.
Can Too Much Exercise Cause Hemorrhoids?
While most people experience hemorrhoids for one of the reasons above, the answer to this question is yes, too much strenuous exercise can give you a nasty hemorrhoid.
The problem here is what exactly is strenuous and what is too much exercise? Excessive weight-lifting, Cross Fit, and rowing can sometimes cause hemorrhoids.
However, not getting enough exercise can give you hemorrhoids as well, and it can make your existing hemorrhoids worse.
Try some easier forms of exercise that will improve blood circulation and bring a fresh blood supply to the area so that the hemorrhoid will go away faster. Walking is always a good choice and some other types of exercise, such as lunges and squats, improve blood circulation since these exercises work the glutes.
By the way, do you use the exercise bikes at the gym? They often come with very hard, uncomfortable bike seats. If you had your own at home, you could change the seat for something that doesn’t cut off the blood flow to the area or cause blood vessels to swell.
Is space a problem? Check out these bikes that fold up!
What Activities Should You Avoid with Hemorrhoids?
The best advice here is that if it involves sitting or straining, don’t do it! Since hemorrhoids are rectal veins that have become inflamed and swollen, you want to avoid pelvic pressure. While many people fear exercising, trust me, it’s NOT exercising but adding pressure in the rectal area.
Avoid the following if you have hemorrhoids:
- Weight lifting. It’s OK to lift light hand weights, but no bench presses
- Horseback riding
- Bike riding
- Sitting in a chair for any length of time (try to get up and walk for 3 minutes every 30 minutes)
Walking is the best thing you can do until that ugly hemorrhoid goes away!
Should I avoid cycling with hemorrhoids?
Cycling and hemorrhoids don’t mix, so if you usually ride a bike or any type of exercise that involves a bicycle seat, take a break and go for a long, brisk walk instead.
What are foods to avoid when you have hemorrhoids?
This is a subject you don’t hear much about. While you may hear a lot of people talking about what not to do and what products to use on your fanny, you won’t hear many people tell you which foods are only making the problem worse.
Let me tell you, this isn’t fake science, this is very real. No one is saying you can’t enjoy that Ben and Jerry’s now and again, but you need to stop eating the following when you do have hemorrhoids to help them heal.
Take a break from the following until you get your rectal area under control:
- Chips (potato, corn, and other types of chips)
- Fast food
- Processed foods, such as boxed mac and cheese or Hamburger Helper
- Fast food
- Processed meats, such as hot dogs and bacon
Try to fit in high-fiber foods such as beans, broccoli, bran muffins, and apples.
The Final Takeway
For those with limited time, the TL:DR version is that no, exercise bikes do not cause hemorrhoids, but they can trigger discomfort and increase pressure that may result in exacerbating hemorrhoids.
Avoid riding exercise bikes, lifting heavy weights, or straining to go poop. Take sitz baths and eat a healthy diet that includes lots of fiber, fruits, and vegetables.
Walking is a great alternative exercise, and it alleviates pain. Make sure that you are rehydrated throughout your exercising period. Dehydration will cause your skin to go dry, increase friction, and worsen your condition.
If you still have hemorrhoids after about 2 weeks, you should see your doctor. This is an embarrassing problem, but hemorrhoids can cause limited blood supply to the area, which may even lead to blood clots. Better to be embarrassed than have a serious health problem that gets ignored.
Live happy, healthy, and hemorrhoid-free, my friends! Life is too short to live in pain.