Can Pooping Wrong Cause Hemorrhoids?
There’s a good chance you’ve laughed at a hemorrhoid joke before. It’s classic physical comedy. On the other hand, if you’ve ever had painful hemorrhoids, you might take them a bit more seriously. The truth is that there’s a lot of misinformation and misconception surrounding this potentially comical health malady, and you need to learn a few things if you want to avoid having a painful and potentially bloody anus. While there are multiple causes for hemorrhoids, most of them share the same origin. You might not realize it, but you have more control than you realize to avoid the problem, and all of that starts with answering the original question. Can pooping wrong cause hemorrhoids?
The short answer is that pooping wrong can definitely cause hemorrhoids. There you go. You can move on to your next burning question. Or, you might want to stick around and learn the details. After all, what constitutes pooping wrong? What exactly are hemorrhoids? There’s a lot to cover, and you’re about to learn more than you ever thought possible about the right way to poop and how to deal with hemorrhoids.
So, to finish the summary, pooping wrong can cause hemorrhoids by increasing strain during defecation. We’ll get into the specifics in a minute, but you do need to learn more about bowel control if you want to avoid the pain, frustration and embarrassment that can come from hemorrhoids.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
If we’re going to be completely technical, hemorrhoids are a natural part of your body. They constitute the blood vessels and accompanying flesh in the lowest part of the rectum. Typically, they’re nothing worth thinking about and you can completely ignore them. Occasionally, they become irritated and/or inflamed. This can lead to swelling and protrusion, and these symptoms are what most of us commonly call hemorrhoids.
To make things easy, let’s refer to inflamed hemorrhoids as just hemorrhoids. Feel free to be a stickler in the comments. With that out of the way, hemorrhoids come in two forms: internal and external. Internal, as the name suggests, are up inside the rectum. You can’t see them (usually), and they are rarely even felt. Most people notice them because they may cause rectal bleeding or difficulty pooping.
External hemorrhoids are the ones you might worry about sometimes. They have a bulge outside the sphincter. While they aren’t always painful, it’s more likely than with internal hemorrhoids. They can cause a lot more discomfort and make pooping miserable. Perhaps you better learn how to avoid this problem.
Common Causes of Hemorrhoids
Generally speaking, hemorrhoids are caused by persistent or intense strain on the bowels. Specifically, this can come from a lot of sources, so we’ll go over the most common ones. First on the block is pregnancy. Sorry, ladies. Pregnancy doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get them, but it’s common enough. Gentlemen, just remember that’s one more way you’re making a woman’s life miserable when you accidentally knock her up.
Obesity can also cause hemorrhoids. In fact, pregnancy and obesity stress the bowels the same way: gravity. Literally, having the extra weight puts more strain on the lower intestine and increased the propensity for inflammation. Even worse, the extra weight can make you more likely to have irregular bowel movements that can include diarrhea and constipation. All of these are big contributors.
Sitting is another big one. A lot of us sit at desks or computers all day for work. Everyone tells you how this is bad for you. Well, you can add hemorrhoids to the list. Thankfully, those little movement breaks everyone is telling you to take can help with the hemorrhoid issue as well. Keep in mind that sitting compounds risks when you have extra weight.
Physical strain is next on the list. Just like bad lifting can lead to a stress-induced hernia, it can cause a similar problem in your bowels. Lifting with good technique helps, but the general rule is to avoid physical strain that makes the vein in your forehead pop. By that same token, rage and mental stress can contribute to hemorrhoids. Worst of all, some physical strain is unavoidable. Intense sneezing, coughing and/or vomiting can all be intense enough to cause a hemorrhoid. That’s your own body kicking you when you’re down.
How Do You Treat Them?
Sometimes your best efforts fail you. If that involves hemorrhoids, sorry. That can pretty rough. The good news is that most cases are light and don’t require a trip to the hospital. You can run to your drug store and get an over-the-counter topical treatment if you’re in discomfort. You can also try soaking in a warm bath. That can help relax the inflammation and soften the . . . situation. You also want to avoid dry toilet paper during the outbreak. This is a catch-22 because moist wipes are often terrible for plumbing. You’ll have to make your own decision about how to handle the trade-offs. The other thing you can do is take oral pain relievers and anti-inflammatory agents (like ibuprofen).
If the simple stuff doesn’t get it done, there are specific hemorrhoid medications, but they may require a prescription.
Is There a Right Way to Poop?
Again, the short answer is yes, but the long answer matters more. The right way to poop involves technique while you’re on the pot, but it also relates to some lifestyle choices. Let’s discuss technique first.
You’ve probably heard the rumors that squatting to poop is better than sitting upright on a throne. Those rumors are true. Your posture can actually cause a minor kink in the large intestine that requires more force and strain to push the poop through. It’s definitely gross to think about, but here we are. Lifting your legs by using a stool or something similar can help with the strain. When it works, you should feel a little difference, so let that be your guide.
There are two other tricks to how you poop that can help you avert a hemorrhoid crisis. The obvious one is to not strain. You remember when you were a kid and your middle-aged dad would take forever in the bathroom. It turns out he was right. Patience over force is your best friend, especially as you age. The less-obvious trick is to avoid holding it. Sure, sometimes you have to, but when given the choice, pooping sooner is better than pooping later. You see, holding it gives the large intestine more time to drain water, and this leads to drier poop. You should already understand why lubrication is important to sliding things through tight spaces.
Outside of pooping technique, there are two lifestyle/diet tricks that go a long way. You’ve definitely heard that fiber helps keep you regular. Well, staying regular and eating fiber also helps you avoid hemorrhoids. It’s that simple. The other trick is to drink water. We just talked about water being absorbed by the large intestine. Well, if you drink more water, you have more natural moisture to prevent the worst kinds of constipation. Yay science!
What Happens if You Poop Wrong?
We’ve covered hemorrhoids pretty extensively at this point, but it isn’t the only consequence of bad pooping. You can also contribute to constipation or diarrhea when you get lax in your pooping methodology. Worse, bad pooping can lead a range of different inflammations. Inflammation of the colon is something nobody wants, and if you put yourself in that situation enough, it can lead to chronic issues. If that wasn’t enough, bad pooping can also contribute to urinary tract infections and inflammation (admittedly more of an issue for women than men). Lastly, bad pooping can cause you to spend too much time on a toilet. If you’ve had a rough day after a fun night out, you probably already understand that sitting on the toilet can cause your legs to go numb. Worse, this can lead to blood clots and repetitive stress injury. The porcelain throne is kind of like the iron throne, it isn’t meant to be comfortable. Try to limit your time (but without straining your bowels!).
Ok. You just learned a lot about pooping, your insides, and hemorrhoids. Hopefully it will prove helpful. If your interest is less cursory and more urgent, let this be the part where you are encouraged to see a doctor. Most hemorrhoids are a minor health issue, but if you’re suffering or worried, a doctor is your best friend. Until next time, keep your butts healthy!