While you don't get hemorrhoids from biking, hemorrhoids, caused by swollen or inflamed veins around the anus or rectum, can make your ride very uncomfortable. Make adjustments to your bicycle seat to make yourself more comfortable and take steps at home to treat the hemorrhoids.
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Bicycling with hemorrhoids can be painful. Make sure your seat is in the proper position and try different seats and padding to reduce discomfort. Try over-the-counter medications and wear proper clothing.
Hemorrhoid Causes and Treatments
Hemorrhoids are normal structures in the anal cavity, advises Texas A&M Health Science Center College. They are made up of blood vessels and connective tissue and help you control bowel movements. However, they become a problem when they become inflamed, a common condition caused by pressure on the anus from pregnancy, constipation or straining during bowel movements.
Symptoms of hemorrhoids may include anal pain, especially when sitting or during bowel movements, anal itching, bloody rectum and lumps near the anus. Hemorrhoids may be internal or external. Consult your doctor to confirm the diagnosis and explore treatment options.
Hemorrhoids can often be treated with at-home remedies and precautions. Make sure you are getting plenty of fiber in your diet and stay hydrated to avoid constipation. Consider a fiber supplement if you don't get enough fiber in your diet. Regular exercise also contributes to regular bowel movements. Taking a stool softener may help reduce straining during bowel movements.
When you're not in the saddle, wear cotton underwear to allow the area to breathe, advises MedlinePlus. You can gently clean with baby wipes or medicated witch hazel cloths. Avoid tissue with perfumes or dyes and be gentle when wiping to prevent further irritation. Soaking the area in warm water a few times each day can also help soothe hemorrhoids.
If the hemorrhoids persist or worsen, be sure to see a doctor, as additional treatment may be necessary. For example, hemorrhoids may be removed using rubber band ligation or surgery, advises Harvard Health Publishing.
Cycling and Hemorrhoids
If you're a cyclist, riding can make your symptoms worse by restricting blood flow to the anus or causing pressure and chaffing against the damaged tissues. If hemorrhoids are producing pain during your rides, a few tips may reduce the discomfort.
Make sure your bicycle seat is properly adjusted. It should be level or tilted slightly downward. When you are sitting squarely on the seat with one leg extended to the ground, you should have a slight bend in the knee. If the seat is still putting too much pressure on your hemorrhoids, consider padded bike shorts or padding for your seat. You can also check with your local bike shop to try different saddles that may be more comfortable.
Use an over-the-counter hemorrhoid cream with lidocaine or a corticosteroid cream may provide temporary relief during your ride. If you use these tips and at-home treatments and bicycling is still painful, consider taking a break to allow your body time to heal completely.