Working Out With Hemorrhoids: Is It a Good Idea?

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD
Last modified on March 18th, 2024

It’s no secret that working out with hemorrhoids can be difficult. You may not feel up to it, or you may be worried about the pain and bleeding.

However, there are a few things you can do to make working out with hemorrhoids a bit easier.

Keep on reading to the end to find out everything about the do’s and don’ts of working out with hemorrhoids and a few of our top tips to help you get started.

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What are Hemorrhoids and What Causes Them?

Before we get into discussing the tips on how to work out with hemorrhoids, it’s important to understand what they are.

Hemorrhoids (also known as piles) are swollen veins in the anal canal. They can be internal, meaning they are inside the rectum, or external, which means they are under the skin around the anus.

And although there are a number of things that can cause hemorrhoids, a common culprit is often excessive straining during bowel movements. Other common causes include pregnancy, childbirth, obesity, and sitting on the toilet for long periods of time.

Is Working Out with Hemorrhoids Alright?

The short answer is yes!

Not only is working out with hemorrhoids a good idea, but it can actually help reduce the symptoms of hemorrhoids or prevent them from occurring in the first place.

Exercise is known to reduce stress, promote blood flow, and boost healing, all of which can help reduce the symptoms of hemorrhoids.

In contrast, a lack of exercise can actually worsen your hemorrhoid symptoms. This is because a sedentary lifestyle can lead to blood pooling in your vessels, higher pressures in the anal region, and engorged hemorrhoids.

Additionally, a lack of physical activity can lead to constipation, which in turn can cause straining during bowel movements and further irritation of existing hemorrhoids. In some cases, constipation can even trigger a recurrence.

However, when you are working out with hemorrhoids, there are a few things you need to keep in mind in order to stay safe and comfortable.

What are the “Good Exercises” for Hemorrhoids?

There are a few different types of exercises that are particularly good for hemorrhoids. Aerobic and cardiovascular exercises — such as walking, jogging, or swimming — are great choices for hemorrhoids as they help you get out of your chair, reduce stress, and promote the regularity of blood flow to the rectal area.

Additionally, any type of exercise that strengthens the pelvic floor or rectal muscles can also be helpful. This is because these exercises can lead to an increased flow of nutrients, oxygen, and blood to the affected area.

Moreover, stronger pelvic and rectal muscle performance can lead to easier bowel movements. Some good pelvic exercises include workouts like kegel exercises or pilates.

What are the “Bad Exercises” for Hemorrhoids?

On the other hand, there are also a few exercises that you should avoid if you have hemorrhoids. These include any type of exercise that puts strain on the anal area, such as weight lifting, cycling, crunches, leg lifts, or sit-ups.

Additionally, you should avoid any type of exercise that involves excessive bouncing or jolting (such as skipping) as this can also irritate your hemorrhoids.

A good rule of thumb when exercising with hemorrhoids is to be mindful of any movements that put unnecessary stress on your anal area and hemorrhoids and just listen to your body. If at any time you start feeling too uncomfortable, stop that particular exercise and rest for a few minutes.

What are Some Tips for Working Out with Hemorrhoids?

There are a few things you can do to make working out with hemorrhoids easier and more comfortable. Here are our top 8 tips:

  1. Listen to Your Body

    First and foremost, it’s important to listen to your body when you are working out with hemorrhoids. If anything feels too painful or “not right”, stop immediately. Exercising should not make your symptoms worse. If it does, you should find a good hemorrhoid doctor and discuss your case with them.

  2. Warm-up Properly

    One of the most important things you can do before working out with hemorrhoids is to warm up properly. This will help reduce the risk of unnecessary strain or injury.
    Start with some light stretching and low-effort exercises, and gradually increase the intensity of your activity over time.

  3. Wear the Right Clothing

    When you are working out with hemorrhoids, it is important to wear the right clothing. You want to avoid anything too tight or constricting around the waist or anus. This can put unnecessary pressure on pelvic veins and make your symptoms worse. Instead, opt for loose-fitting, breathable clothing.

  4. Stay Hydrated

    It is also important to stay hydrated when you are working out. Dehydration can contribute to constipation, which can aggravate hemorrhoids. So be sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your workout!

  5. Eat a Healthy Diet

    Eating a healthy diet that is high in fiber can also help reduce constipation. This, in turn, can relieve the symptoms of your hemorrhoids. So be sure to include plenty of fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet.

  6. Consult with Your Doctor

    If you have hemorrhoids, make sure to consult your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. They can give you specific advice based on your individual situation.

  7. Take Care of Your Hygiene

    It is also important to take care of your hygiene when you are working out with hemorrhoids. Be sure to wipe yourself after a bowel movement and shower after your workout. This will help keep the anal area clean and free of irritants. Do not use soap or products containing soap. Soap can irritate your anal area and possibly inflame your hemorrhoids.

  8. Take a Warm Bath Before and After Your Workouts

    Lastly, after each workout session, always try to take a warm bath or sit in a warm tub for 10-15 minute. This will help soothe the hemorrhoids and reduce swelling and inflammation in the area.

What are Some Common Remedies to Help Your Hemorrhoids?

While exercise is important, there are some common remedies that can help your hemorrhoids as well. These include:

  • Witch hazel. This plant extract is often used as an astringent in OTC creams and can help reduce swelling.
  • Aloe vera. This plant’s gel has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe the skin.
  • Apple cider vinegar. This acidic liquid can help shrink swollen tissue. Just make sure to not soak it too long in apple cider vinegar, as that may cause irritation.
  • Psyllium husk. This plant product can help soften stool and make bowel movements easier.
  • Sitz baths. Soaking in a warm tub of water for 10-30 minutes a day can help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Ice. Applying ice to the area can help numb pain and reduce inflammation. Just make sure to wrap ice in a towel to prevent direct skin contact and irritation.
  • Over-the-counter creams and ointments. Applying a hemorrhoid cream can soothe the skin and reduce symptoms. But be sure to ask your doctor about which one would be the best for you.
  • Stool-softeners. These are OTC medications that make the stool soft and bowel movements easier. Your doctor might recommend you one during the course of your treatment.

The Takeaway

As you can tell, hemorrhoids can make working out quite difficult and uncomfortable. However, by following the tips above, you can hopefully make the experience much more bearable.

If you have any further questions or concerns, be sure to talk to a medical professional or let us know in the comments below. We’d be glad to help!

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