Exercise is an excellent way to prevent or manage hemorrhoids. In fact, regular physical stimulation helps keep bowels functioning properly, which can reduce issues with constipation. The right exercises also can also strengthen abdominal and pelvic muscles and improve circulation. However, it’s important to be mindful of how you exercise when you have existing issues with swollen anal veins.
Know Which Exercises/Activities to Avoid
If you’re trying to keep hemorrhoid pain under control, avoid exercises that place too much pressure on your abdominal or rectal areas. Heavy lifting and routines that involve squats, for example, may trigger painful symptoms. Certain activities can also place too much pressure on sensitive areas. Some of the common culprits include:
- Horseback riding
- Rowing or canoeing
Modify Your Lifting Technique
If you normally lift heavy weights, consider doing more reps with less weight or alternating the muscle groups you target so the stress isn’t entirely directed to your pelvic area. Another option is split training, which involves separate workouts that target different areas. Minimizing routines that involve the Valsalva maneuver (heavy inhaling and exhaling) may also reduce hemorrhoid flare-ups.
Take Precautions Before Exercising
Don’t want to forego some of your favorite activities or exercises? Try taking appropriate precautions first then. If you’re an avid cyclist, for instance, use an over-the-counter hemorrhoid cream or a suppository to reduce inflammation. Or place a chamois pad inside of your bike shorts to help ease pressure and eliminate chafing.
Explore Controlled-Movement Exercises
Controlled-movement exercises like yoga and Pilates can be a good way to get regular exercise if you have hemorrhoids since you’ll have more control over how you move and where you place pressure. Viparita karani (legs-up-the-wall), sarvangasana (shoulder-stands), and sirsasana (headstand) are some of the yoga poses or postures that can provide relief from hemorrhoid-related irritation while also stimulating your core muscle groups.
Try Water-Based Exercises
Many of the same muscle groups that can be targeted on land can be targeted in water. But this doesn’t mean you have to give up land-based exercises just because you are trying to minimize hemorrhoid flare-ups. What can do, though, is add water-based activities like swimming and water aerobics into your routine. And if you use a heated pool, you could enjoy added relief since warm water has soothing and therapeutic effects.
It may be embarrassing to discuss hemorrhoids, even with a hemorrhoid doctor. Still, if watching how you exercise isn’t managing your symptoms, it’s time to explore your options with a personalized treatment plan. Most people respond well to medication, although surgery can be equally effective for larger or painful hemorrhoids.