Running And Hemorrhoids- 5 Inquisitive Things Should Know
There are many obstacles you may face as a runner. From injuries to weight issues, each situation poses another challenge to your running sometimes minor and sometimes serious. Hemorrhoids are one of the most irritating and painful conditions you can face.
Although running and hemorrhoids don’t go well together, understanding the facts about this condition is the key to finding a solution. In this article, we will list five frequently asked questions about the condition and provide helpful suggestions.
1. What Are Hemorrhoids?
Simply put, hemorrhoids are varicose veins located either in the external or internal part of the anus. They are also referred to as piles and affect about 3 out of 4 adults at one time or another.
Symptoms Of Hemorrhoids
- Irritation and pain around the anus
- Pain during the bowel movement
- Itching around the anus
- Blood in your stool
Kind Of Hemorrhoids
There are three main types of hemorrhoids that differ in terms of their location.
- Type #1
- Type #2
- type #3
Internal hemorrhoids occur inside the rectum and may not cause as much discomfort as external hemorrhoids.
External hemorrhoids are located under the skin of your anus and cause a lot of discomforts.
Lastly, thrombosed hemorrhoids although not common are caused when clotting forms near your anus. This is the most painful kind of hemorrhoid.
How To Diagnose
Doctors diagnose hemorrhoids by either a visual examination or a digital one in which a doctor inserts a gloved lubricated finger into your rectum. In some cases, a test called a sigmoidoscopy is conducted.
2. What Causes Hemorrhoids?
Although it may be difficult to pinpoint the cause of hemorrhoids, there are some known factors that can trigger this condition.
Your Health Status
- Obesity which often includes problems with bowel movement due to poor diet
- Pregnancy because due to the enlargement of the uterus, the vein in the colon enlarges causing the condition.
- Aging which weakens the tissue in your anus and rectum
- Constipation or diarrhea both of which puts pressure on the anus causing the blood vessels to become enlarged
Your Daily Habit
- Sitting for extended periods of time on a hard surface or on the toilet
- Anal intercourse
- Standing for long periods of time
- Low fiber diet which results in a hard stool and pressure on the veins during bowel movement
- In all the mentioned cases, the trigger is the enlargement of the veins in the anus. If you can relate to one or more of the risk factors, you now have an idea how to prevent it in the future.
3. Can Running In A Marathon Cause Hemorrhoids?
Some Related Factors With Hemorrhoids.
First of all, running in itself does not cause hemorrhoids. However, there are some factors that may trigger the development of hemorrhoids in runners.
- For example, if you are a frequent marathoner and tend to skimp on water consumption, you will likely experience bouts of constipation after your race.
- In addition, since you lose a lot of water when you run, failing to compensate can easily cause problems in bowel movement.
- Once you experience constipation frequently, your constant efforts in the comfort room may constrict the blood vessels in your anus triggering hemorrhoids.
If running is part of your routine and you still continue despite the condition, you further aggravate matters because of the friction that occurs as you run. Bleeding can thus result.
- Basically, the answer is no, running cannot cause hemorrhoids but it can influence your fluid intake causing the condition.
4. Is It Ok To Run With Hemorrhoids?
As we have discussed, hemorrhoids cause a lot of discomforts and even pain to the sufferer. If you suffer from external hemorrhoids, it is especially challenging to keep your running routine because of the friction that occurs in the rectal region when running.
However, there are some steps that can be taken to try and alleviate the condition enough so you can still run.
- For example, there are some over the counter creams that can be applied before running to relieve itchiness and swelling.
- Another option is to put a smooth pad in between your butt cheeks before you run. This helps prevent the friction and inflammation that results from running.
How To Treat Hemorrhoids?
- Having a sitz bath in which you soak your anal area in warm water for up to 15 minutes 3 times a day
- Softening your stool by increasing fiber intake
- Using creams that include the ingredient hydrocortisone
- Keeping the anal area clean by using moist paper instead of dry toilet paper which can further irritate the area
- Taking oral pain relievers for instant pain relief
- Use a cold compress to the area
- Use witch hazel to reduce swelling
- Wear breathable underwear
- A combination of these treatments will usually get rid of hemorrhoids within a week. If the condition continues, you ought to consult a physician.
5. How Can Runners Prevent Hemorrhoids?
The key to preventing hemorrhoids as a runner is twofold - staying hydrated and leading a healthy lifestyle.
Since hard stool that triggers constipation is the major trigger for the condition among runners, you need to make sure that you drink lots of fluids throughout the day. This is especially so during and after workout sessions.
Many runners feel it is cumbersome to carry a water bottle around during their run but compensating for your body’s lost fluids is extremely important to prevent hemorrhoids.
Taking in a lot of fluids also helps prevent your throat from getting irritated which can happen when running in dry weather. Dry weather causes your throat to be irritated because of the lack of moisture.
Dry air absorbs moisture from the skin and body which causes irritation to your throat. Keeping well hydrated before, during and after your run is one way to prevent this pain.
The next step to prevent future episodes is to take in a lot of fiber. Ideally, you should take up to 30 grams of fiber daily. This can be from sources including:
- Vegetables like broccoli, green peas, and Brussels sprouts.
- Legumes are another good source including lentils and different bean varieties.
- Fruits like apples and bananas are another source of fiber.
The third key to preventing hemorrhoids is being careful when taking laxatives. When you are constipated, it is easy to want to get back to your regular bowel movement by taking some laxative. The problem with such laxatives especially psyllium capsules that trigger diarrhea.
- Osmotic laxatives are recommended since they don’t overstimulate bowel movement but still reduce constipation.
Lastly, neither fight Mother Nature’s call nor strain it. These two extremes also trigger hemorrhoids. Fighting the urge to use the comfort room is fighting against your body. On the other hand, pushing too hard causes the blood vessels to enlarge.
The Reasons Of Hemorrhoid
Hemorrhoids are an embarrassing yet common condition many runners may face. Causes may include pregnancy and obesity. As to the question of whether running with hemorrhoids is a good idea, there is no solid answer. It mostly depends on the severity of the condition.
If some measures are taken to alleviate discomfort before a run such as applying creams or having a sitz bath, it is possible to continue running despite the condition.
How To Prevent It ?
It is comforting to realize that running does not trigger the condition but it is lifestyle habits and improper diet that put one at risk.
To prevent this, taking in lots of fluids before, during and after any exercise routine is suggested.
In order to prevent future hemorrhoids, simple steps can be taken such as keeping hydrated and taking in fiber from fruits and vegetables.
Another important preventive measure is never straining and on the other extreme never ignoring the call of nature.
How About You ?
Did you find this article useful? What interesting facts have you learned? Is there something else you would like to comment on the topic? We would like to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to express yourself. Also, remember to share this information with family and friends.