When you are running — whether it is for training purposes, enjoyment or exercise — obstacles can get in the way. Running with hemorrhoids is difficult, but weight issues, arthritis and other orthopedic concerns can also make running more difficult.
Although it's not talked about as frequently, hemorrhoids are another example of a condition that may be irritated by a physical activity.
What Are They?
The word hemorrhoid is a Greek word formed by two different parts. The prefix hemorrh/o means a "flowing of blood." The suffix "-oid" is Greek for the word "resembling." Hemorrhoids are swollen veins that are located in your rectum.
These veins can be located internally or externally. This sometimes itchy and irritating problem occurs in close to three out of every four adults, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Causes of Hemorrhoids
There are many causes of hemorrhoids, but running and physical activity are not causes of this condition. Heredity can play a factor as well as having anal intercourse, obesity and chronic constipation.
Another cause of this condition is straining and pushing to hard while having a bowel movement. In addition, both pregnancy and the delivering of a baby can cause hemorrhoids. Cleveland Clinic notes that other causes include frequent diarrhea, sitting on the toilet for extensive amounts of time and aging.
Running with Hemorrhoids
Some runners may tell you that they experience bleeding and discomfort to their rectal area while running. This is can be an issue that is related to hemorrhoids and applying pressure to this area. This especially occurs when you are running with hemorrhoids because of the friction that can occur.
Other exercises can be difficult if you have hemorrhoids. For example, cycling — particularly while using an upright bike — can put direct pressure on your hemorrhoids. Consider using a recumbent stepper instead.
Treat Hemorrhoids Prior to Running
There are many over the counter creams and ointments used to treat hemorrhoids. Applying these creams when your hemorrhoids are flaring up and prior to running can alleviate some of the pain and itching. If you consult your physician about your hemorrhoids, he can also prescribe certain prescription strength remedies.
UMass Memorial Health Care suggests that sitz baths, or sitting in a shallow bath of warm water for 10 to 15 minutes, can also help reduce pain and swelling from hemorrhoids.
Finally, prior to running, you may wish to place a soft pad in between your buttocks to avoid the irritation caused by running. If your hemorrhoids get progressively worse, be sure to consult your physician. More invasive procedures may be needed such as rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy, laser treatment or even surgical removal.
Other Tips for Hemorrhoids
According to Harvard Health Publishing, other small changes can help relieve pain and swelling associated with hemorrhoids. Occasionally ingesting a tablespoon of mineral oil (mixed with yogurt or applesauce) can help lubricate your stool making it easier to pass by a hemorrhoid.
Elevating your feet on a step stool while having a bowel movement will also improve the angle of your rectum to make it easier for the stool to pass, ultimately improving your experience when running with hemorrhoids.