Taken always as a matter of jokes, hemorrhoids or piles isn’t actually something that deserves to be treated as a laughing stock. Yes, they don’t pose a danger, but, they still are painful. For those who love to bike or who have bicycle as their commuting partner, hemorrhoids pose them with large-scale problems that are very painful. It’s very hard to ride while standing & bicycle saddles can increase the pain as they aren’t so comfortable being saddles & not sofas. Also, people who are interested in biking often ask if biking causes hemorrhoids.
To be honest, it doesn’t. But, if a person is suffering from it, cycling can indirectly increase the discomfort. If you are prone to hemorrhoids & don’t want to give up on biking during issues, you will be relieved to know you have options that aren’t necessarily going to hurt you.
What are hemorrhoids – Causes, Symptoms & Precautions?
Hemorrhoid, also known as piles, is a condition of swollen veins in the lower part of the anus & rectum. When the walls of these vessels are stretched, they become irritated causing pain & bleeding. Although hemorrhoids are unpleasant & painful with blood discharge too, they are easily treated & very much preventable. They get worse over time & hence is advised by the doctors to be treated as soon as they appear.
Not all hemorrhoids are painful. Some develop deep inside the anal passageway & are either painless or trigger only mild discomfort. External hemorrhoids develop on the rim of the anus & these are the ones that cause pain. They are usually small but can grow to be as big as a golf ball.
Causes of hemorrhoids can be mentioned as below:
Occurs most commonly in pregnant women because, as the uterus enlarges, it presses on the vein in the colon. This causes a bulge in the veins.
The condition is most common among adults aged 45 to 65 years. But that doesn’t mean that young people & children are protected from it.
Chronic diarrhea is also one of the prime causes for hemorrhoids.
Straining to move stool puts extra pressure on the walls of the blood vessels.
Sitting For Too Long
Staying in a seated position for long periods of time can cause hemorrhoids, especially on the toilet.
Repeatedly lifting heavy objects can lead to hemorrhoids as well.
This can cause new hemorrhoids or worsen existing ones.
Diet-related obesity can cause hemorrhoids.
Some people inherit a tendency to develop hemorrhoids.
The good thing here is about the fact that this condition is treatable & can be prevented as well with various precautions:
Eating plenty of foods rich in fiber, such as fruits & vegetables, as well as whole grains, means stools will nearly always be soft. Similarly, drinking plenty of fluids helps keep stools soft. OTC fiber supplements also ease constipation.
- Avoiding over-straining
When using the toilet, one shouldn’t strain. This creates pressure in the veins in the lower rectum which causes veins to swell.
- Going to the toilet when needed
People should not wait if they need to use the toilet. The longer the stool stays in the body, the drier it gets. Dry stools exert pressure on the walls & find it difficult to leave the tract.
- Physical activity
Sitting or standing still for long periods puts pressure on the veins. Physical activity also helps stool move through the bowel, so bowel movements are more regular.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
Being overweight significantly raises the risk of having hemorrhoids.
The symptoms of hemorrhoids are as follows
- Painless bleeding
- Itching or irritation in the anal area
- Discomfort, pain, or soreness in the same area
- Lumps & swelling in the anal region
- Leaking feces
Cycling & Hemorrhoids
75% of American adults suffer from hemorrhoids at least once in their lifetime as quoted by the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Most cases, as mentioned earlier, come in the bracket of 45-60 year olds for both sexes. Certain activities make it worse, especially if pressure is exerted on the affected area. This is where people believe that cycling cause hemorrhoids since cycling also uses some power. But, in reality, cycling doesn’t do any harm when it comes to giving rise to hemorrhoids directly.
With the clarification made above, it is important to mention that cycling indirectly causes hemorrhoids. It can aggravate hemorrhoids if one cycles while being suffering from it. This is because blood flow to the area of our back s very restricted when we rest while sitting on a bike saddle. In fact, long periods of cycling also pose a risk of worsening the hemorrhoid due to the friction between the saddle & the hemorrhoid which is bound to cause pain to the sufferer specially.
but the road doesn’t end here for cyclists & they can still cycle with the hemorrhoids. To prevent it from happening while cycling, it is important to check the bike saddle. Always, the comfortability & the fitting of it to our back area is important. Long hours on uncomfortable saddles can aggravate any possible hemorrhoids, & this includes the small ones as well.
thus, you can easily continue to cycle without any worries since cycling is not a sole factor in causing hemorrhoid. In fact, it serves as an exercise for toning the muscles & improving the blood circulation to the lower back area to some extent too.
How To Ride With Hemorrhoids?
Once anybody is detected with hemorrhoids, bicycling may seen to be an invitation to discomfort this depends on how large & inflamed the hemorrhoid is & on how an individual sits on the saddle. A properly sized saddle will allow you to sit on the sitz bones, two aptly-named bones that protrude from the pelvis. These two bones are biologically designed to direct pressure away from the anus & the pudendal nerve that travels between the sitz bones toward the external genitals. While sitting on the bike seat, one should be placing pressure on the sitz bones & not on the fatty tissue. Of course, if you have a particularly large or inflamed hemorrhoid, you can have pain even when seated on a regular chair, so your bicycle saddle may also cause discomfort. One might think that a heavily padded seat or a gel seat would be very comfortable. In fact the padding can place additional pressure on the fatty tissue & on sensitive areas. You might be best off finding a firm leather saddle. Alternatively, a broader seat that gives you a larger space on which you can position wider-than-usual sitz bones is also a good option.
Hemorrhoids don’t actually “heal.” They just have ups & downs in terms of the symptoms they cause. Nevertheless, if there’s rectal bleeding then visiting your doctor is a must. This will help determine if the bleeding is only from hemorrhoid or from something more serious.
If hemorrhoid symptoms are persistent & bothersome despite home treatment, one may go for surgery to remove them or office treatment with rubber band ligation. With rubber band ligation, a rubber band is slipped around the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off its circulation. Once it has been deprived of its vital blood supply, the banded hemorrhoid withers due to lack of circulation,& falls down. Thus, one gets rid of hemorrhoids.
Apart from this, treating the hemorrhoids before/after the bicycle ride can help keep the pain down to little. Soaking the affected area in warm water to sooth it also helps in relaxation. Using baby wipes for personal cleansing & wearing cotton underpants is necessary. Application of corticosteroid creams to ease itching is also needed. Some creams contain lidocaine to numb the area in case the pain goes beyond tolerance levels.