If you feel pain in your anus or lower rectum, you might have a hemorrhoid. These swollen, inflamed veins can be internal, meaning it is located inside the rectum, or external and located under the skin around the anus. Hemorrhoids develop from causes such as straining during bowel movements or pregnancy, but a lesser-known cause is heavy lifting, such as when bodybuilding.
When you get a hemorrhoid from bodybuilding, it's because you’re not lifting the weight properly. It occurs when you hold your breath while lifting and push the breath toward your anus. This puts pressure on your anus, as if you were straining with constipation. Instead, push the breath toward your closed glottis, or a closed mouth and pinched nose.
If you’re suffering from a painful hemorrhoid, you can typically relieve the discomfort at home. In fact, you might not ever have to seek further medical treatment, according to MayoClinic.com. Start by applying an over-the-counter hemorrhoid cream or a suppository that contains hydrocortisone. Alternatively, you can use pads that contain witch hazel or another numbing agent. Buy a sitz bath, which fits over a toilet and is sold at most drugstores, and soak your bottom in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes two to three times per day. Keep the anal area clean, but don’t use soap. This can aggravate the hemorrhoid. After a bowel movement, use moist towelettes or non-fragranced wet toilet paper. Finally, use oral pain relievers to dull the discomfort.
If you have a hemorrhoid that’s causing pain, take it easy at the gym. Lower the amount of weight you’re lifting and focus on using proper form instead. If you’re experiencing a severe flare-up that includes anal bleeding, avoid all vigorous exercise until the bleeding stops. You can use an elliptical cross-trainer for cardio or swim, which gives you a full-body workout without straining your hemorrhoids.
To prevent future hemorrhoids or exacerbations of present ones, focus on lifting weights properly. To pick up the weight, bend your knees and keep your back straight as you’re reaching for it. Keep your perineal and torso muscles contracted during this. Press up from the floor using your quadriceps and glutes, but not your back. Continue to keep your back straight while lifting and exhale.