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Best and Worst Exercises for Hemorrhoids - Orange County Hemorrhiod Clinic
Best and Worst Exercises for Hemorrhoids

Best and Worst Exercises for Hemorrhoids

Enlarged or swollen anal veins can make it difficult to do many things, including get regular exercise. If you are in the habit of working out or exercising on a regular basis, having hemorrhoids doesn’t have to sideline you from such activities. In fact, regular exercise can reduce constipation and minimize issues with recurrence. Although, certain types of exercise can make the problem worse, so it’s important to be wise about choosing how you exercise.

Good Exercises for Hemorrhoids

When exercising to prevent hemorrhoids, the goal is to encourage regular bowel movements, improve circulation, and strengthen muscles in the pelvic area and lower back. Increased blood flow, in particular, boosts the delivery of beneficial nutrients and oxygen to the affected area. Exercises that are generally considered safe and effective for hemorrhoid management and prevention include:

  • Walking and other cardiovascular exercises
  • Treadmill or elliptical machine exercises
  • Water-based exercises like swimming and water aerobics
  • Exercises targeting the sphincter muscles
  • Kegels and similar pelvic floor exercises
  • Yoga and similar controlled-movement exercises to help strengthen abdominal and rectal tissues

Exercises to Avoid

If you’re among the estimated 10-15 million Americans currently living with hemorrhoids, there are certain exercises it’s best to avoid. For example, you might experience increased discomfort with horseback riding, cycling, rowing, and similar forms of exercise that tend to place pressure on sensitive areas. With weightlifting and gym-based exercises, routines that involve holding your breath while you push to exhale (the Valsalva maneuver) may make hemorrhoid pain worse. If you normally do strenuous workout routines, however, you may be able to modify your techniques so you’re not placing as much pressure on affected areas.

Preparing to Exercise When You Have Hemorrhoids

Regardless of what your preferences are with exercise, there are certain preparations that may reduce your risk of aggregating existing hemorrhoid-related discomfort. Staying hydrated, for instance, can prevent constipation from developing as you go through your exercise routine or workout. It can also be helpful to wear loose, breathable clothing so you’re not creating friction in affected areas.

After you finish exercising, change out of any clothing that’s wet from sweat to avoid irritation in areas where you normally have hemorrhoid issues. Taking a warm bath can also soothe the affected area or reduce your risk of developing new hemorrhoids. Some people with hemorrhoids also find what’s termed a sitz bath to be soothing. This is “bath” that’s done with a small plastic tub placed over a toilet seat so that only the buttocks and hips are submerged in water.

3 Dietary Tips to Help Prevent Hemorrhoids

Do you suffer from enlarged, painful, bleeding hemorrhoids? Are you looking for suggestions on how to reduce or even eliminate uncomfortable symptoms? Here are three straightforward dietary tips, that when combined with other healthy lifestyle changes, will help treat problematic hemorrhoids and reduce the likelihood of future episodes as well.

Add Fiber To Your Diet

Fiber is an essential part of hemorrhoid prevention and treatment. It helps soften the stool, thereby reducing discomfort and irritation to the anal area when it passes out of the body. Fiber also adds bulk to the stool, speeding up the movement of waste through the digestive tract.

The best sources of fiber are raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes. Fiber-rich fruits include berries, apples, bananas, oranges, and mangoes. Artichokes, carrots, beets, and broccoli are a few high-fiber vegetables. Pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and popcorn offer a healthy dose of fiber as well. Increase fiber in your diet by eating bran, oatmeal, brown rice, and whole-grain breads and cereals. Finally, legumes like lentils, kidney beans, and pinto beans are other good options.

Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking plenty of water is crucial. Even mild dehydration can cause hard, dry stool and constipation, making hemorrhoids worse. Water softens stool and keeps waste moving through the body. Drinking 64 ounces per day is a great place to start; however, keep in mind that your body may require more or less than this. The best way to determine if your body is properly hydrated is to aim for clear or pale yellow urine, and soft stool.

Consider Fiber Supplements

Even with a healthy, fiber-rich diet, it can be difficult to consume enough fiber to meet the recommended daily amount. Women should be taking in 25 grams per day and men should aim for 38 grams per day. A fiber supplement may be helpful to keep stool soft and promote a regular schedule of moving your bowels. Supplements such as Metamucil and Citrucel are readily available and easy to use. However, it’s important to start with a lower dose and increase slowly to prevent gas, cramping, and bloating. Also, drink plenty of water with fiber supplements to prevent constipation. Finally, be sure to use supplements in addition to a healthy diet, and not as a replacement for one.

Because fiber alters the flow of the digestive tract, it could potentially change the rate in which certain medications are absorbed. If you have any concerns at all, speak with your healthcare provider. They can help you determine what your individual fiber needs are and identify possible medication interactions.

Manage Your Hemorrhoids with These Exercises

Mild cases of hemorrhoids, like what may occur during pregnancy, are often nothing more than a temporary inconvenience. However, some people have inflamed veins in the anal area that are more difficult to get rid of, especially when the issue keeps coming back following treatment efforts. If you’re not yet ready to explore surgery as a possible solution to recurring problems with hemorrhoids, certain exercises may provide the relief you seek.


These mild cardiovascular exercises can strengthen core muscle groups, including ones in the lower body. Exercises that may include walking, swimming and other water-based exercises, elliptical routines, and group aerobic workouts can also get blood flowing better in the rectal area, which may reduce issues with hemorrhoids. The good thing about aerobics is that activities such as ballroom dancing can also work the same muscle groups in a way that may be more enjoyable for you. Walking alone can produce the desired results. Aim for about 20-30 minutes of regular or brisk walking per day to reduce your risk of developing hemorrhoids.


Certain yoga poses may improve circulation in a way that keeps veins in the anal area healthier. One such pose, Sarvanga Asana (“candle pose”), is done by lying on your back, placing your fingers under your lower back, and sticking your legs straight up to a 90-degree angle. Other poses that may be helpful include:

• Legs up the wall stand
• The squatting pose, which may also help with constipation
• Child’s pose, a restorative pose that can improve circulation

Similar results may be seen with Pilates and Tai Chi. Controlled-movement disciplines can also promote overall relaxation, which may ease muscle tension in the pelvic and anal area enough to minimize constipation issues.

Kegel Exercises

Kegel exercises specifically target muscles in the pelvic area. There are certain kegel routines that are specific for men and women. However, typical kegel exercises are done by contracting pelvic muscles as you replicate the posture you would assume during urination. The standard recommendation is to perform kegels three times a day. Doing these exercises regularly may correct problems with urinary incontinence and hemorrhoids.

Excess weight is a common contributing factor to hemorrhoids. Since regular exercise can serve as the basis for an effective weight loss regimen, you could experience welcome relief from hemorrhoids by bringing your weight down to a healthy range. Couple these efforts with a diet that includes inflammation-fighting foods and you may be able to manage the problem successfully.

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